So, today I was browsing the library shelves, as I am wont to do. It’s generally a pretty pleasant experience – that is, when there aren’t small children treating it as a playground. I grew up on libraries being Quiet Places, where you sit and read and browse. You don’t go running and shrieking around.
I like to browse the Young Adult literature, because it seems that genre of writing picked me long before I ever picked up a pen. I consider it research.
So there I am, happily browsing. I spot books and draw them from the shelves, return them if they’re not interesting to me. Rarely does a book make me want a flamethrower, but I met one such book today.
The back of it summarized it neatly and set off my feelings of burning rage. It started as a slow bubble, dazing my mind. Lost, I trailed through the library to find my mum. Speechless. Confused. Bewildered, even.
You see, the book was summarized as thus (I’m paraphrasing): The son of Frankenstein’s monster and his bride, meets the granddaughters of Jekyll and Hyde. The son and his parents live in hiding, and the guy is apparently a computer hacker programmer or something. I was too horrified to pay much attention. If you’ve read either, you’d know that it’s deeply unlikely.
First up, Jekyll and Hyde were two different personalities in the same body. Dr Jekyll (the good twin) created some potion-drug which allowed his evil side to come out and play. Hell, even the name is a clue: Mr Hyde, ie hide, ie hidden. So, which man has the grandchildren? Is it the horrible disfigured man, or the good kindly one who repents his alter ego’s sins?
Also, this brings me to the second issue. Things go badly, when Hyde is in charge. He does horrible things, and Jekyll tries to balance it with charity type work. Ultimately – and this is the issue with his having grandchildren – Jekyll commits suicide to protect the world from Hyde.
Then, you have Frankenstein. The monster is created thus: the doctor stitches together body parts of corpses, then animates him with electricity. So there’s a sort of undead being, and I’m in doubt of his ability to sire a child. Also, the doctor never created a bride for the Monster. Even if he had, she’s be semi-undead too, and women do have a limited reproduction time. I’m in doubt of the whole thing.
Anyway, it made my blood boil. I’ve nothing against fanfiction – I love it. Read it all the time, write it when I get the time. Still, it should be reserved for websites dedicated to it, not published as a novel. It’s not an original piece of writing, it defies what was already ‘in canon’, and I’m pretty sure time-travel is involved. I get it; I write things that are Alternate Universe often. I write out of character, but I try to generally stick to the conventions of what was set. If I write Harry Potter, it remains in 1990’s Britain, no matter how I might use the characters.
I hate it when someone writes what should be fanfiction, and puts it into the world as an original story. Both books are classics, and call me a purist, but to treat them like this is a shame.