Two hundred years ago, Mary Shelley published a book that she'd been working on since she took up a challenge among friends to write a scary story. Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus was much more than a horror novel. It illustrated the march of science and the responsibility, ethics, and hubris of those who would dare create life, ideas that have resonated with readers for two centuries so far, even as science itself has changed greatly.
Two hundred years later, Arizona State University launched The Frankenstein Bicentennial Project — a cross-disciplinary, multimedia endeavor to engage the people of today with the timeless issues of science, technology, and creative responsibility posed by Shelley’s searching intellect and imagination. As part of the celebration, MIT Press published Frankenstein: Annotated for Scientists, Engineers, and Creators of All Kinds (public library) — Shelley’s original 1818 manuscript, line-edited by the world’s leading expert on the text and accompanied by annotations and essays by prominent contemporary thinkers across science, technology, philosophy, ethics, feminism, and speculative fiction. What emerges is the most thrilling science-lensed reading of a literary classic since Lord Byron’s Don Juan annotated by Isaac Asimov.
Reanimation! is a seven-part video series from Massive that features conversations with scientists about Frankenstein and the issues it addresses, produced as a companion piece to the annotated book. The first episode, A Bolt of Lightning, is an overview of the impact of Shelley's novel and the questions it raises for the philosophy of science.
Further episodes deal with the line between chaos and organization, the nature of life, the definition of consciousness and intelligence, the ethics of intervening in nature, and more. You can see all seven videos in the series at Brain Pickings. -Thanks, WTM!