For those of you who don't know this, there's a vast number of the intellectual elite who insist that our preferred genre -- that being Science Fiction -- began with the publication of Mary Shelley's classic Frankenstein, a tome that turns an incredible 206 years young today. (Google.com indicates it was first published on January 1, 1818.) So if there's any single item of historical significance on this day in Science Fiction History, then it's certainly that. Ultimately, yes, it's safe to think of New Years Day as the original day of Science Fiction, and let's all thank our lucky stars that we're around to see this another year.
I'm not one who fully subscribes to that line of thought.
Like many of you, I tend to evaluate History -- especially as it ties into the Realms of the Fantastic -- as being a tad more complicated than that. I'm not discounting that the Shelley novel certainly advanced Science Fiction and Fantasy's causes -- as well as it's place in popular entertainment -- but mankind had been thinking about such things for decades and centuries before. What Shelley accomplished was she shed an incredibly talented amount of light on it, inviting scores of newbies into the fold by way of her popular publication. As such, she deserves to be in the conversation of the intellectual foundation; I'm only positing that the genre's origins involve far more than any single novel. As a matter of fact, there's vastly more to both Science Fiction and Fantasy than is incorporated into any individual book ... but it is what it is.
Still, this anniversary deserves to be highlighted in this space, and that's my only intent in sharing such a birthday with all of you. While I've said before that I'm not one for resolutions, I'm all-in for challenges; so here's my challenge to each of you ... if you haven't already read Shelley's Frankenstein, then add it to your Bucket List of things to accomplish in 2024. It deserves the praise it's earned from the cultural elite, and I think the classics could always use a bit more attention from us Regular Joes. Go out and buy a copy. Purchase one digitally. There's likely even a free one available online. But your task as a fellow fan of genre is to read it from start-to-finish this year. Think of it as just one more thing that unites us at a time when so many little things try to splinter fandom into pieces.
Happy Birthday, Frankenstein! You don't look a day over 200, even though you are.
As always, thanks for reading ... thanks for sharing ... thanks for being a fan ... and live long and prosper!