Thursday, June 3, 2010

2010 Hugo nominee, short story: "The Bride of Frankenstein" by Mike Resnick (Asimov's 12/09)

When I said Boneshaker was "cute," I meant it in the best sense of the word. This story is cute in the worst sense. “Cutesy” might be more appropriate. Mike Resnick gets nominated for a Hugo pretty much every year, and I think this nomination may have been out of force of habit.

This version of the Frankenstein story is told from the perspective of Victor Frankenstein’s wife, who happens to be a shallow, vindictive nag. She begrudges her husband’s experiments, gives him the cold shoulder, and daydreams about marrying a wealthier man. Then she meets the monster as he works his way through the western canon in the library where she often hides from her husband. They discuss the nature of life, death, and romantic literature (though nothing particularly deep gets said in these discussions), and her views begin to change.

I guess it was supposed to be heartwarming, but I thought it was dreck. The central character is a ridiculous caricature. You used to see the nagging housewife a lot in tv, films, and novels, but I we kind of moved on from there about thirty or forty years ago. And, if we are supposed to take her seriously as a character, her transformation comes far too easily.

It’s very light. The right person, in the right mood, will probably have fun with it, but there’s not much to take away here. It’s probably not as offensive as I’ve maybe made it sound here, but it’s also not even remotely award-worthy.

Grade: C-

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