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Frankissstein

by Jeanette Winterson

Dystopian Fiction Humour (fiction) Relationship Stories

LoveReading View on Frankissstein

Darkly playful, Jeanette Winterson’s Frankissstein is an astonishing intertextual re-conjuring of Mary Shelley’s masterpiece, melding an interpretation of Shelley’s novel and life with an exploration of what it is to be human, freedom, sex, gender and love. It’s thought-provoking, thrilling, and funny to boot. 

Contextualised in - and interspersed with - Shelley’s writing of Frankenstein, we are transported to Memphis where modern-day transgender Dr Ry Shelley attends a robotics expo to “consider how robots will affect our mental and physical health.” Here Ry encounters Ron, the Welsh inventor of a new range of Sexbots he believes will provide a woman to satisfy every male need, from deluxe bots who can hold a conversation (“she waits till you’re finished, of course, no interrupting”), to Germaine, a “70s feminist version with no bra, messy hair and a dildo for anal play”. It’s at the expo that Ry first encounters - and later falls for - Professor Victor Stein, a leader in the field of Artificial Intelligence who has dealings with The Alcor Life Extension Foundation, an Arizona facility that processes dead bodies with the aim of indefinitely extending life.

Alongside the love story, and the juxtaposition of Frankenstein with contemporary conversations around A.I., the novel also addresses Brexit, bigotry, racism and English insularity: “The English are serial racists – one group gets accepted, another group becomes the scapegoat”. And back in Shelley’s day, England is described as, "small-minded, smug, self-righteous, unjust, a country that hates the stranger, whether that stranger be a foreigner or an atheist, or a poet, or a thinker, or a radical, or a woman.”

Profound, absurd and mischievous, this is an incisive, suggestive romp for our times.

Joanne Owen

Frankissstein Synopsis

Comedy Women in Print Prize 2020 Shortlist

In Brexit Britain, a young transgender doctor called Ry is falling in love - against their better judgement - with Victor Stein, a celebrated professor leading the public debate around AI.

Meanwhile, Ron Lord, just divorced and living with Mum again, is set to make his fortune launching a new generation of sex dolls for lonely men everywhere.

Across the Atlantic, in Phoenix, Arizona, a cryonics facility houses dozens of bodies of men and women who are medically and legally dead... but waiting to return to life.

But the scene is set in 1816, when nineteen-year-old Mary Shelley writes a story about creating a non-biological life-form. 'Beware, for I am fearless and therefore powerful.'

What will happen when homo sapiens is no longer the smartest being on the planet? Jeanette Winterson shows us how much closer we are to that future than we realise. Funny and furious, bold and clear-sighted, Frankissstein is a love story about life itself.

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Frankissstein Press Reviews

A riotous reimagining with an energy and passion all of its own that reanimates Frankenstein as a cautionary tale for a contemporary moment dominated by debates about Brexit, gender, artificial intelligence and medical experimentation... While the story has a gripping momentum of its own, it also fizzes with ideas. -- Daisy Hay - Financial Times

A riotous reimagining with an energy and passion all of its own that reanimates Frankenstein as a cautionary tale for a contemporary moment dominated by debates about Brexit, gender, artificial intelligence and medical experimentation... While the story has a gripping momentum of its own, it also fizzes with ideas. -- Daisy Hay - Financial Times

Here, hard science and dreamy Romanticism exist in both tension and harmony... Frankissstein abounds with invention... this is a work of both pleasure and profundity, robustly and skilfully structured, and suffused with all Winterson's usual preoccupations - gender, language, sexuality, the limits of individual liberty and the life of ideas. -- Sam Byers - Guardian,Book of the Week*

Yes, the book we have all been waiting for. Yes, everything Winterson has always done so well. Yes, above and beyond anything that is yet to be written. -- Daisy Johnson Astonishing. Bold. Teeming with wit and intellectual prowess. Winterson is a literary giant. She remains one of my favourite writers. -- Irenosen Okojie Winterson has had a surge of inventiveness... Frankissstein gamely links arms with the zeitgeist. {it} is a book that seeks to shift our perspective on humanity and the purpose of being human in the most darkly entertaining way... gloriously well observed .. I found myself vibrating with laughter. -- Johanna Thomas-Corr - Observer, Book of the Day

Winterson reboots Mary Shelley's Frankenstein for the 21st Century, launching us into a hold-on-to-your hat modern-day horror story about very modern-day neuroses and issues. -- Rebecca Thomas - BBC News

Intelligent and inventive... Frankisstein is very funny. There has always been a fine line between horror and high camp, and this is a boundary that Winterson gleefully exploits. -- Robert Douglas-Fairhurst - The Times

Refreshingly, Jeanette Winterson's Frankisstein... is a wildly inventive reimagining of one of science fiction's most beloved stories... lyrical, gloriously raunchy, pulpy and absurd. -- Helen Marshall - New Scientist

A clever comic romp that teases at the nature - and future - of life, death and what it is to be human, without ever being ponderous... [Frankissstein is] first-rate. - Daily Mail

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Postscript

All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781787331402
Publication date: 21/05/2019
Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd an imprint of Vintage Publishing
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781787331402
Publication date: 21st May 2019
Author: Jeanette Winterson
Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd an imprint of Vintage Publishing
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 352 pages
Genres: Dystopian Fiction, Humour, Relationship Stories,
Categories: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945), Adult & contemporary romance, Historical romance, Horror & ghost stories, Science fiction,

About Jeanette Winterson

Jeanette Winterson OBE is the author of ten novels, including Oranges are not the Only Fruit, The Passion and Sexing the Cherry; a book of short stories, The World and Other Places; a collection of essays, Art Objects as well as many other works, including children's books, screenplays and journalism. Her writing has won the Whitbread Award for Best First Novel, the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize, the E. M. Forster Award and the Prix d'argent at Cannes Film Festival.

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