Friday, February 18, 2011

Twenty mad scientists who turned against their creations

At io9, Charlie Jane Anders came up with a list of twenty mad scientists who turned against their creations.

One novel on the list, which is dominated by movies and television shows:
Victor Frankenstein (Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley)

Pretty much the moment that Frankenstein creates his monster, he has a change of heart. And he spends the rest of the book wracked with guilt and horror. While he's on his trip across the Artic, he tells Captain Walton,
Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow.
He also busts out with this great quote at another point:
All my speculations and hopes are as nothing, and like the archangel who aspired to omnipotence, I am chained in an eternal hell. My imagination was vivid, yet my powers of analysis and application were intense; by the union of these qualities I conceived the idea and executed the creation of a man. Even now I cannot recollect without passion my reveries while the work was incomplete. I trod heaven in my thoughts, now exulting in my powers, now burning with the idea of their effects. From my infancy I was imbued with high hopes and a lofty ambition; but how am I sunk! Oh! My friend, if you had known me as I once was, you would not recognize me in this state of degradation. Despondency rarely visited my heart; a high destiny seemed to bear me on, until I fell, never, never again to rise.
Read about another mad scientist on the list.

Frankenstein appears on Andrew Crumey's list of the top ten novels that predicted the future.

--Marshal Zeringue