Sunday, May 3, 2009

Short Story Sunday: Pride and Prometheus

John Kessel. Pride and Prometheus. 2008.

Technically, this isn't a short story; it's a novelette and it just won the 2008 Nebula Award for best novelette. It's a story that asks what if the characters from Pride and Prejudice met the characters from Frankenstein. It focuses on Mary, the middle Bennet daughter, who just happens to meet Victor Frankenstein well after the events of Pride and Prejudice and I believe in the middle of events in Frankenstein.

I should have read Frankenstein before this story, but it I think works pretty well without knowing either of the stories. I enjoyed it and thought it was clever, but it definitely feels like a male authorial voice, which I found strange in contrast to Austen's characters. It does do a good job of exploring some of the themes of both stories and bringing together social commentary with scientific and moral ruminations. I enjoyed its combination of gothic moodiness and wry observation, more reminiscent of Austen's Northanger Abbey than Pride and Prejudice.

I listened to the story as audio recorded by the author, which you can get for free here.

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