Mary Shelley started writing the Frankenstein story when she was 18, and it was published in London two years later. Her chilling tale of how Victor Frankenstein put together a creature by sewing together human parts is said to be the first true science fiction story. If you’ve never read it, or read it a long time ago, it’s definitely worth picking up again, as the subtleties of the original book, entitled Frankenstein: the Modern Prometheus, may have been displaced in your mind by the various cartoons and monster-movies connected to the original only by the name ‘Frankenstein’ (and some people, who haven’t read the book, think Frankenstein is the name of the monster, rather than the name of the scientist who put the creature together).
Read below why it’s one of the books most frequently recommended by the experts we’ve interviewed—on subjects as diverse as fear of death, women and society, and transhumanism. Note: make sure to read the 1818 uncensored edition.