The novel Frankenstein is many things – the birth of science fiction, a study in Romantic philosophy, a Gothic horror story – but it is also a reminder that the things that terrorize us most are often a reflection of our own obsessions. This year is the 200th anniversary of the publication of Shelley’s classic work. These are some of my favorite stories inspired by, and frighteningly similar to, Frankenstein.

Frankenstein Dreams
Edited by Michael Sims

Here Sims has focused on early science fiction stories, though perhaps not the kind you would first assume. Using Mary Shelley’s seminal work, Frankenstein, as a starting point on the timeline, readers are given glimpse into the mindset of the day. My review

Making the Monster
Kathryn Harkup

Harkup explores the history of medicine and surgery at that point, the experiments being done with electricity, and galvanism, the exploration of uncharted Arctic territory, and the collision of Enlightenment ideas with Romantic sensibilities. My review

The Resurrectionist
EB Hudspeth

This fantastic (in both senses of the word) book is really two-in-one.  The author has compiled the “lost work” of one Spencer Black.Through letters, diaries and recollections, the (mad) scientific life of Black is cobbled together. My review

The Butchering Art
Lindsey Fitzharris

Lindsey Fitzharris gives us an unflinching look at the difficult, unsettling world of early medicine through the lens of Joseph Lister’s career. His long career spanned teaching hospitals, the operating theatre, research papers, lectures and even performing surgery on Queen Victoria and Edward VII. My review

Medical Muses
Asti Hustvedt

Hustvedt demonstrates such thorough knowledge and ease about her topic that her academic precision never overpowers the compelling story of Charcot, Salpetriere and the “star” hysterics. My review

Have you read any of these books?