Victor Frankenstein, Berkeley Science, Henry discussed on C-SPAN2 Book TV


Jalen Eaton was a science fiction fan is a doctor in Berkeley science fiction was popping in the bay area. The time he was there. His collection came to UCR in one thousand nine hundred sixty nine we bought from him his collection of eight thousand volumes of science fiction. The eaten collection now has holds about three hundred thousand items not that quantitative measures are really relevant to what's great about a science fiction collection. What's great about the science fiction collection in a research library, like this one is what research can be done with it. And by any measure, the Eaton's magnificent in terms of the research that can be done here. And that's both breadth. And depth. This is the oldest book in our collection. It is utopia by, sir. Thomas more more was a woman. She. Disagreed. With Henry the eighth about who was head of the English church and was beheaded by Henry, the eighth in fifteen thirty five before that. He wrote the book utopia which gave us the word utopia. Utopia is actually a pun. It means nowhere or no place. But since his book, it has come to mean, either the perfect society, or the ideal society more really was writing just about a better society. In Moore's utopia things are again, not perfect. But better and they are in the world. He saw around them. This is not the first book about a better society. But this is the one. That is considered foundational for utopian narrative utopia. Has been very influential in speculative fiction. There's another genre. Big in science fiction called dystopia, which is a worst society than the one. We live in. So utopia really founded to John Major's genres for us. Now, we're going to jump forward eighty years to fifteen ninety six it's the English renaissance. Elizabeth the first has been on the throne. Since fifteen fifty eight. In fifteen eighty eight she defeated Philip with Spain's Spanish armada, an English culture is flourishing Edmund Spenser was a poet who really wanted to catch Elizabeth's. I. So he wrote a six six book. Poem called the ferry Queen. It's one of the great English language epic poems. What it does is? It follows the adventures of six different nights each of whom learns to exemplify a particular virtue. It's not just a nightly adventure. You don't just see the night running around killing dragons and being perfect. You see the night. Learn to be virtuous Spencer. Had. An educational idea in mind, he wanted this book to be a lovely decorative pleasant to read poetic part of the education of the Christian gentleman. One of the reasons why this book is important for science fiction and fantasy. Is that it imagines a world not as it is? But as the author would like it to be and also because that world is fairy land. So. You look over the Sean of modern fantasy swaths of it. Take place in a somewhat imaginary European middle ages where there's magic. There are some works of science fiction and fantasy that directly reference or draw on the fairy Queen but the fairy Queen. Got that Jon Rao of imaginative fiction off to a roaring kind of start. Frankenstein. When it was published in eighteen eighteen was the three volume eight nineteenth century novel. It was written by Mary Wollstonecraft, Shelley. The story of Frankenstein. Is that a young doctor? Vincent, Frankenstein decides he wants to create life. And this is at a time when electricity was imperfectly understood sought to be a subtle fluid that animated every living being. Henry, Victor Frankenstein. Gets a corpse animates it with electricity. And then runs out on it when it's just opening its is because he thinks it's ugly. The Mont the creature. Makes his own way in the world, and eventually gets very very angry and Victor comes back to confront him. Is rejected again because he's reanimated courts really pretty much. No one. We'll talk to him. Everyone runs away in fear. He becomes very bitter. Very angry pleads with Victor to make him a mate. Victor says yes, Victor says no. And the creature becomes a monster. And because Victor has created and then ruined the creatures life murders several people important to Victor. It's a story. About science because what it talked about was pretty much cutting edge science for cutting edge speculative science for eighteen eighteen the story has endured the idea of a a a creature created by science, and what goes wrong, there were certainly created creatures. In myth and legend before eighteen eighteen, but this is the beginning of the nineteenth century, the beginning in a way of the novel as we recognize it. The first review or one of the first reviews of Frankenstein. Was written by, sir. Walter, Scott, you'll see that the author's name is not mentioned. Walter, Walter, Scott. Assumed that Mary's husband, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote it. But Scott spends a good part of this review from eighteen eighteen trying to enunciate what kind of books this is because he feels he's never seen it before. So it really was a sensation. And that's why it's considered. By some scholars to be the beginning of science fiction, the first work of science fiction, but it's also a gothic. And as I said, it's also tremendously influential in the John a fantasy and horror. The story flatland. First published in eighteen eighty four. A romance of many dimensions by a square is the story of a two dimensional being. Encountering the third dimension. Imagine that you are a two dimensional drawing. You live on a page. You can move these ways. And suddenly somebody puts the tip of a pencil on that page. There's another dimension out there. So that's flatland. It is not the most thrilling read, but for sheer density of ideas, it's more. It's one of the marvelous things that science fiction does. Is hand you ideas that makes you make.

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