Monday, April 3, 2017

Mythical Monday #73 - Frankenstein's Monster

Art work by: @Burntlaughter on Twitter

It seems there are many books influenced by or based on Myths and Mythological Beings.

There are many different Mythology's and Mythological Beings recorded. Some are very popular and well known, others not so much. There are many similar beings, yet different depending on the culture it’s based in.  The definition of Myth covers about anything in the Urban Fantasy/Fantasy realm to me.

I’ve invited authors to share briefly the Mythological being or Myth that influenced their character(s) or story, or what their character(s) are based on influencing their books.  Hosting here, one author and being or myth per week.

Frankenstein's Monster

It’s not often we get to add to the ranks of the mythical creatures, but back in 1818 one young woman did just that. Her name was Mary Shelly, and the book that created a new legend was Frankenstein; Or the Modern Prometheus.

Written on a bet, on a literal dark and stormy night, it birthed a creature that has become a staple of our nightmares. The monster made from the dead, cobbled together into a semblance of humanity, and full of rage at his creator.

I have always been fascinated by Frakenstein’s Monster. Written by a young woman after a dream, he has imbedded himself in our subconscious just as deeply as mermaids and dragons.

In the book one thing is clear; the monster is not Frankenstein, Frankenstein is the doctor who made him.

In the book, the doctor’s creation is called monster, creature, and a host of other unfriendly terms. It marks out humanity’s inhumanity that he doesn’t even get a proper name.

Frankenstein decides to create his monster out of obsession and grief, but cannot take how ugly and terrifying he seems once he arises. Well he did make it out of bits and dead pieces so what did he expect?

The monster embodies mankind’s hubris, taking god’s place in giving life.

All of these attributes ended up in someway in my latest book, Immortal Progeny.

I started with this understanding of Frankenstein’s monster, but I wanted to take the themes of that original book, make them even larger, and move them into a fantasy setting full of magic.

In Immortal Progeny, there is a world of monsters. Just like Shelley’s creature they are created out of hubris. Priests and priestesses make these progeny out of the dead, and use them to fight each other for supremacy.

In this world they can stand for there to be only one religion, and war rages over the continent until one is left.

In the eyes of the temples, the use of the dead is a glorious thing since it is used for the glory of their particular god. Never mind the fact they are killing to provide the parts they need.

However it isn’t just progeny. Smaller creations, made of purely human parts, are much more like Frankenstein’s monster. These are called homunculi and are even more frightening I think. Imagine if people who you thought were dead and buried can suddenly be transformed into shambling, stinking, stitched creatures.

Even if the monsters are propelled by magic rather than the wonders of electricity in Shelley’s novel, there are all the same questions to be asked.

Just because you can do something, should you? If you are creating life are you a god…or a monster yourself?

About Pip Ballantine:
New Zealand born fantasy writer and podcaster Philippa (Pip) Ballantine is the author of the Books of the Order and the Shifted World series. She is also the co-author with her husband Tee Morris of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences novels as well as Social Media for Writers. Her awards include an Airship, a Parsec, the Steampunk Chronicle Reader’s Choice, the RT Reviewer’s Choice Award for steampunk, and a Sir Julius Vogel. She currently resides in Manassas, Virginia with her husband, daughter, and a furry clowder of cats.

Find Pip Ballantine:
Her Site:
Twitter:  @PhilippaJane

Purchase Immortal Progeny:


  1. If you are creating life...not a god, not a monster

  2. I love her writing! Oh and as for the mythology... anything closer to a human is scary to me. I haven't read Mary Shelley's book because I know it would freak me out. Oh yea... homunculi is right up there is scary-ness. I also loved the last sentence. :D


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