Social Implications and Influence of Science Fiction as Illustrated through Mary Shellys Frankenstein - Critical Essay

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Science fiction refers to literature of humanity, the human species, change, and scientific discoveries. At the same time, it involves the genre of scientific speculation involving imaginations, futuristic technologies such as extraterrestrial life, time travel, parallel bodies, and universes, among many other concepts typically dealing with fantasies (Bould et al., 19). Despite the fact that science fiction deals with imagination, it often represents the reality of human existence and futuristic elements of life currently experienced such as robots, life on the moon, extrasensory perceptions, and the alien world (Bould et al., 25). Science fiction therefore invokes and draws many of its false theories from scientific knowledge with its plot filled with themes and settings revolving around legendary tales or narratives. Even though science fiction draws most of its concepts from imaginations, it derives its core issues from real social aspects of society (Johnson 22). Science fiction is important because it gives us what may face the society in the realm of creating a life, gives us the opportunity to ask hard questions and to take a look ahead and ask if they are taking the right direction. By undertaking an analysis of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, it will be shown that science fiction is important, and forms all that there is, in inventing and building new technologies through imagination as shown in the arguments below.

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How Has Frankenstein Influenced Science?

From the description of religious texts, historical elements, science fiction is represented in all genres of life. For example, much of Mary Shelly’s narrations in Frankenstein are a representation of realities and issues that have chances of happening. All through historical times, society has undergone changes that have made many believe that there exists a future different from the current society as it is envisioned. For example, according to Landon (44), many regions and parts of the world remained undiscovered and unexplored. As a social issue, science fiction attempts to give predictions and imaginations of what remains as unknown elements of society. In her novel, Frankenstein, Mary Shelly, warns of the dangers of scientific exploration and experiments. Mary Shelly’s narration has stood out as prophetic descriptions of unexplored concepts of humanity (Alkon 34). Over the years, society has evolved and changed to the amazement of many because of prophetic descriptions of how the world and its elements are changing. Science fiction, therefore, remains an important aspect of foretelling the world as it would be many years to come. Science fiction narrators such as Mary Shelly have continued to foresee and predict the inevitable occurrences in society. Despite the fact that science fiction narratives may seem trivial, they have become vital in the salvation of humanity as they face calamities at times.

How Is Science Portrayed in Frankenstein?

Mary Shelley’s exploration of the dangers of creating life and the many negative effects of scientific innovations stands out like a warning bell for what may face society in the realm of creating life. In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Victor’s ability to create life from non-living objects gives rise to the "Creature," a large, hideous, 8-foot monster that raises the question of the extent science can go in bringing forth life (Shelly 18). In the midst of the excitement, and desire to achieve, Victor plays guardian to the Creature, an act that exposes the underlying fear that may emerge from such a scenario. The ability to come up with the idea of creating a living being exposes the underlying truth behind science, that is, fear of the unknown. However, despite the negative connotation of the narration, Mary Shelly, offers humanity time to think, ponder, and ask questions such as why what if among a host of unanswered questions. From Mary Shelly’s narration it is possible to raise the question about the Creature's mental state, survival tactics, could it be factual, is there a possibility of such a happening among other matters that stretches the mind from the known to unknown (Landon 14). Although it has the chance of instilling fear of the unknown upon humanity of the possibility of such like happenings, it opens up the mind to ponder other aspects of life beyond the ordinary.

Frankenstein Points Out the Dilemma of All Science-Based Technology

Additionally, science fiction gives the opportunity for people to ask hard questions and contemplate the way humans interact and live. Looking and having a close observation of Victor’s lifestyle after bringing forth the Creature to life, reveals a great desire to back the life he hard before he created his discovery. He laments and regrets his action, a situation that makes him retreat to lonely places. It exposes humanity’s desire for the natural world without the complication of scientific discoveries and inventions. Even though it is only a narrative, it triggers the thought of "what if" it happens, "what if" it is true. On the other hand, it brings up the fear of attempting such an experiment despite the fact that it is only a narrative (Bould 34). Bould (35) further concurs that the notion of such a creature coming to reality is remote, although possible with the current trend in scientific development. According to Bould (35), the idea behind a life like that of Frankenstein may seem remote, but the possibility is very high. Science fiction is therefore important in stimulating, thought-provoking possibilities and overwhelming scenarios. While it may be imagination, Alkon (23) concurs that it serves an important purpose of thinking beyond ordinary experiences.

Science and Society in Frankenstein

On the other hand, science fiction provides an opportunity for human beings to look ahead and question if that is the direction they want to take. For instance, the invention and creation of the Creature by Victor opens up the imagination of such an occurrence happening sometime shortly. Although it may be a far-fetched notion, by the imagination and stretch of the normal thinking capacity of humans, it is possible to question what the future holds for humanity (Alkon 30). Such a notion also helps society prioritize the important aspects of life, bearing in mind that some possibilities such as the creation of a human being in the laboratory are possible. Although it may instill fear and apprehension amongst people, it brings forth the reality of the possibility of humans wrecking and destroying the planet. The imagination and mental assumptions as depicted in science fiction are a clear sign that there is more of a man’s brain than is known by the general public.

The use of handheld devices such as tricorders was unheard of in the early days of humanity. In the early years of the industrial revolution and civilization, technology was still in its infant periods with few devices in public. Devices such as iPads, self-propelled motor vehicles, and cell phones have risen from the screens and books of science fiction. In the narratives, they are depicted as magic or instruments with supernatural powers and abilities. While fiction writers describe them as foreign and unusual parts of their narrations, scientists notice them as ideas to build on the great things with reference to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. What starts as a simple magical act with a description later remains a pointer to greater human invention and discovery that changes the entire society and scientific field. Alkon (28) agrees that science fiction remains the most vital component of world history since it is the historical place of ideas. It is because many scientific innovations and inventions came forth from the ordinary imagination that went beyond the obvious lifestyle of the majority. Science fiction remains the central aspect of all that humanity entails, it remains the most important part of the achievements in science laboratories and education centers. It is, therefore, a strong place to imagine, dream, and conceive of new world technologies. It gives meaning to human existence, enlightens the local readers, and fosters the desire to learn about possible scenarios in which science may take a man. The section below concludes the discussion and highlights the major issues raised on the importance of science fiction in society.


The above analysis clearly shows that science fiction is important, and forms all that there is, in inventing and building new technologies through imagination. Mary Shelly’s narration is mind-provoking, stimulating, and arouses fear and love of equal measure. Despite its fictitious nature, it offers society and scientists the opportunity to ponder on life beyond ordinary day-to-day events. Although built on fiction, the literature and the legendary tale behind Mary Shelly’s science fiction reflect on the center of new technologies such as modern-day handheld phones, airplanes, computers, and time travel. Within the literature, science fiction is just but a way of expressing possible future happenings such as the emergence of aliens and the creation of a human being in a laboratory. However, these simple narrations, later on, form the core centers of indisputable discoveries that continue to transform the world beyond the imagination of many.

As portrayed and written by Mary Shelly: that sometime later in the future, the narratives as depicted in science fiction will turn out as realities in reference to Mary Shelly’s depiction of the possibility of creating a human. According to Bould (2009), close observation of how science fiction has transformed the world is enough to convince the world that such notions and possibilities of machines taking over the world remain possible scenarios. However, despite the far-fetched imagination, such as these, science fiction remains the central aspect of global discoveries. As a literature field, it remains an important part of scientific innovation and invention. On the other hand, it lays the foundation for bigger project management in addition to stimulating the mind to stretch beyond the ordinary.

Works Cited

Alkon, Paul K. Science fiction before 1900: imagination discovers technology. No. 3. Routledge, 2013.

Bould, Mark, et al., eds. The Routledge companion to science fiction. Routledge, 2009.

Johnson, Brian David. "Science Fiction Prototypes Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying about the Future and Love Science Fiction." Intelligent Environments. 2009.

Landon, Brooks. Science Fiction after 1900: from the Steam Man to the Stars. Routledge, 2014.

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein: 1818. Intervisual Books, 2010.

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