Wednesday, December 24, 2008

John Kessel's "Pride and Prometheus" (novelette, resurrecting the dead, free): Zombie wants a wife!

While I've not read Mary Shelly's "Frankenstein", I'll be very surprised if this story is not greatly inspired by it. There are even characters called Mary & Frankenstein, though in roles different from what I know of Shelly's classic.
18 February 2009: I've now read "Frankenstein" & can say with confidence that all its speculative elements are borrowed from there.

Great thing about the story is telling style. Very accessible. But someone interested in England of a few hundred years back would likely enjoy it more - it's mostly a literary story of life in that England. Speculative elements are just garnishings.

Story summary.

Distraught after the death of his mother, Victor Frankenstein has invented a lab process to resurrect the dead. And he has brought a dead man to life. Only this unnamed zombie doesn't have a friend in this world, & Victor wants to get rid of him (but cannot). Zombie wants Victor to find him a wife - of his own kind, failing which he will kill anyone dear to Victor!

So now Victor is out robbing graves of recently dead women, so he can resurrect one as zombie's wife!

All this is told in the backdrop of the main story - which is of the wealthy Bennets family - man, woman, & their five daughters (including 3 married ones). Mostly about the family's efforts to find husbands for the remaining daughters.

Collected in.

  1. John Kessel's collection "Baum Plan for Financial Independence and Other Stories", Small Beer Press, 15 April 2008. Download collection from publisher's website.
  2. Jonathan Strahan (Ed)'s "Best SF and Fantasy of the Year, Volume 3" (2009). To be published.

Fact sheet.

First published: F&SF, January 2008.
Rating: B.
For download link, see "Collected in" section above. Or download from F&SF site.
Nominated for Hugo Award 2009 in novelette category.
Winner of Nebula Award 2008 in novelette category.
Related: Stories about resurrecting the dead.


Mike said...

In case you didn't know, the Bennett family is from the Jane Austin Book "Pride and Prejudice".

When Frankenstein was first published, it was titled "Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus".

I have personally met John Kessel and spoken with him, and when he read both books, he was suprised to find characters from both books near the same town in England around similar times. Thus, Pride and Prometheus was written as a fun project to see what would happen if the characters collided while Victor was in England.

Glad you enjoyed it!

Tinkoo said...

Thanks for the note, Mike.

I suspected a relationship with Pride & Prejudice, but I've'nt read Austin's book.