Frankenstein’s Progress

This story is paired with Chapter 5 of Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. For best experience, download the LithoReader for your iPhone or iPad and get NonBinary Review for free. 

Dr. Frankenstein was tired of his reputation as creator of abortive monsters, and decided to turn his energies toward the creation of something exquisite. A thing that would stand the test of time, amaze people, and have his name remembered in a more positive context. So he set to creating a being from only the finest materials.

Starting with the skeleton, he figured a pearl structure would be a superb basis. He bred giant oysters so that he could coat appropriately shaped skeletal components in a thick layer of mother-of-pearl. The resulting skeleton was beautiful, and Frankenstein felt wholly inspired by this beginning.

He then formed a voice-box from a miniature harp, to provide his being with a rich, multi-layered voice suggestive of angelic beauty. Then, for each eye, a rounded and polished diamond was used, availing the being of an unsurpassed clarity of vision.

The skin, Frankenstein decided, would be made entirely of peach fur. He believed this would look nice while also being soft to the touch. He then designed a blood-plasma made from a blend of Scotch whiskey and olive oil, trusting this would stave off infection and be largely healthy.

He gave the creature clay feet, so that it may feel at one with the earth when it walked barefoot. For the brain, Frankenstein created a chamber of magnetized iron filings suspended in liquid. These would act like a compass, enabling the being to follow the common opinions and attitudes of society. Frankenstein added this feature because he was determined that this time his creature would fit in – his last monster having chosen (for whatever reasons) to become an outsider, and not faring well for it.

The hands were made of rubber to provide excellent grip, with fingernails that had decorative silver-serrations along the edges – reinforcing the hands’ seizing capabilities.

The anus was formed of porcelain for easy cleaning. The mouth, too, was porcelain, but of a different colour to avoid any direct associations. The teeth were of stainless steel, and included the usual division of labour between sharp teeth to the front, and pulverizing teeth at the back. The tongue was constructed with thousands of tiny barbs all over it—ideal for dragging foodstuff around the mouth efficiently.

Hair was not added, Frankenstein figuring that due to ever changing fashions this would save time and effort on haircuts. Instead the Doctor declared it would be simpler for the creature to wear the latest hat to keep up with fashion.

In a similar vein of thinking, an efficient clothing method was designed – whereby grooves were left in the flesh for tucking in different types of cloth (to be chosen in reference to prevailing fashions), thus eliminating the need for complex tailoring. Frankenstein not being one to follow matters of style, assumed anything that covered the wretch in conformity with societal strictures was okay.

The muscles were largely made of foam, as physical force was not necessary in this, the age of machines. The being was also created genderless to help avoid any internal desires going astray. Though Frankenstein couldn’t help himself from adding breasts, as they seemed so popular.

The heart was made from a rudimentary hand-pump the Doctor had lying about the place, and its emotions were formed from a rock—in accord with Frankenstein’s own perception of emotion as being ultimately impenetrable in nature.

Frankenstein almost forgot to add a sense of smell; at the last minute merely fitted a hose with a blowfly in it that would buzz with excitement at the smell of decay or faeces—thereby alerting the monster to bad smells. The Doctor also realized he’d not given a sense of taste to the fiend, but then figured it didn‘t matter as he’d done his work by warning the creature with regards to excrement, so all else should be fine.

Once the monster was fully assembled, instead of jump-starting the thing with a huge lightning contraption, this time he’d installed a discreet on-button at the perineum.

On its very first outing the resultant daemon failed in its synthetic attempts at social interaction. Most people feared it on sight, while those who actually spoke to it found its opinions trite, unemotional and changeable—as well as being spoken in an unbearably high pitched sing-song voice.

The monster’s immediate failure caused Frankenstein to curse his luck, along with others’ tastes. He was left feeling there must be something either in the nature of reality, or in his own nature, frustrating his efforts at perfection. He returned to the drawing board, swearing this time to get it right, that this time he would really show people.

A few brief sketches later he came up with a new idea. This time he would start with something so pure and simple that it couldn’t go wrong. This time he would build something from the soul up. But instead of starting with his own, he built a chamber to capture the essence of birds dying in flight.


Soren JamesSoren James is a writer and visual artist who recreates himself on a daily basis from the materials at his disposal, continuing to do so in upbeat manner until one day he will sumptuously throw his drained materials aside and resume stillness without asking why.