What You Said: Frankenstein, Today

SciFri listeners weigh in on Frankenstein, Silicon Valley’s tech monsters, and the ethics of modern inventions.

etching of scientific experiment
Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

This article is part of our winter Book Club conversation about Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein. Want to participate? Sign up for our newsletter or call our special voicemail at 567-243-2456. 

Hey there, fellow bookworms!

We’ve been doing lots of mulling since we embarked on reading Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein for the SciFri Book Club. We’ve also been asking you plenty of questions.

We wanted to know if you saw any parallels between Frankenstein and science today, and what the novel says about ethics and society. Here’s what you said:

And last week on Science Friday, we talked about the resemblances between Victor Frankenstein’s monster and some of the creations that Silicon Valley has churned out, like Facebook, Twitter, and AI. Here’s what you had to say about whether the tech world is making its own monsters today.

Want to get in on the SciFri Book Club conversation? Here’s how to participate:

  1. Grab a copy of the book and start reading! Our drawing for a free copy of the novel has closed, but the story is free to the public online in a number of places. Check out Frankenbook.org, where the story is annotated by contemporary scientists and comes with several essays about its modern relevance. Still not sure if you want to jump in? Start with this excerpt, in which the monster first confronts his creator.
  2. Sign up for our SciFri Book Club newsletter to stay updated on extra reading suggestions, discussion questions, and events related to the Book Club.
  3. Take part in our wrap-up discussion of the Book Club by calling in to the broadcast on Friday, February 9. Discuss the book with Ira and our special guest readers, speculative fiction author Elizabeth Bear, and Hastings Center bioethicist Josephine Johnston.
  4. Can’t wait to join the conversation? Join the #SciFriBookClub discussion on Twitter, or leave us a voicemail! We want to know: Do you see any parallels between Frankenstein and science today? Give us a ring at 567-243-2456. Your comments may be played on the air.
  5. Keep checking back here over the next five weeks! There’s much more Frankenstein to come.

Questions about the Club? Post ‘em in the comments below or email bookclub@sciencefriday.com. Happy reading!

Meet the Writer

About Johanna Mayer

Johanna Mayer is a podcast producer and hosted Science Diction from Science Friday. When she’s not working, she’s probably baking a fruit pie. Cherry’s her specialty, but she whips up a mean rhubarb streusel as well.

Explore More