Mary Shelley
Mary Shelley


The very first science Fiction story was written by a woman, Mary Shelley.  Although her work has often been overshadowed by her marriage to the romantic poet Percy Shelley, her talent is undeniable.  I was going to post a scary poem I’d written but a blog entry on amysuenathan.com (check it out, she is a wonderful writer) inspired me to write this instead.   Today Amy was sharing her own profound experience with the muse as she was writing her WIP.    As writers, we are very aware of our connection with the mystical place of imagination.  Creative people are connected to the spiritual more than others, hence our ability to evoke emotional responses from our audience.

Mary shelley was the author of the first of what was to become known as the science fiction novel.  At the time of its conception she and her husband Percy were guest of the poet Lord Byron at his villa in Italy.  At some point one evening, the gauntlet was thrown down and a challenge set before each to create a scary story.  At the time alchemy and the study of electricity to animate the bodies of the dead was an area of gruesome fascination for many people.  Science was truly in its infancy and the more outlandish the proposition the more it caught the wind of interest among the educated classes in Europe.  It was in this atmosphere of free thinking and wide open expression that Mary Shelley’s seed of genius was sown.  

When everyone retired for the night, Mary Shelley was ignited by the prospect  of tackling this immense challenge.  She was determined to write the ultimate frightening tale.  That night, as she lay sleeping, she dreamed Frankenstein in its entirety.  She was nineteen years of age, female and despite being the daughter of progressive parents (her mother was Mary Wollstonecraft the first radical feminist and author of ‘Vindication On The Rights Of Women’ ) the odds were against her publishing her masterpiece.   However, eventually it was printed and although it didn’t make her wealthy, it did secure legendary status for her work. The story itself  was ahead of its time and certainly is a supernatural tale, but the story behind the story is for me much more compelling:  Nineteen year old Mary Shelley went to sleep, and having no scientific knowledge beyond entertaining chit chat, was somehow the lucky recipient of this amazing spooky story. Now, how did she do that?  Thoughts?



Author: valo

I am a poet, writer and activist with a special interest in human rights for children and women as well as the elimination of poverty worldwide. If you read this today, feed someone locally for me will you? Drop off a non perishable food item at the food bank nearest you and consider yourself hugged. Thank you!


  1. I think part of her accomplishment came, as you said, in an atmosphere of free thinking and open expression. What a great writing atmosphere to develop your work. Maybe part of it was the challenge laid down that night. Some people thrive on a challenge, and rise marvelously to the occasion! Great post.

  2. No need to be humble Amy! You truly are an excellent writer. I just tell it the way I see it. Writing is 20% magic and 80% work. For me, the hardest part is submitting and waiting. Like Tom Petty says, “the waiting is the hardest part.”

  3. I’m humbled, Val. Thanks for the nice words on my post and my blog. (Truly!)

    I did not know this about Frankenstein. I have heard of writers dreaming their stories. I think it happened to Stefanie Meyers, the author of the Twilight series.

    I believe that’s true, unadulterated inspiration.

    I see inspiration in your writing, Val. You have a lot to offer your readers!

  4. A great story, one of the best. If you like Frankenstein, try suspending belief even further and read The Frankenstein Diaries by The Reverend Hubert Venables. It’s purported to be a true story of the real Frankenstein. Funny that, seeing as Mary Shelley did indeed create him. A great post, Val.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s