The Mortal Immortal: The Complete Supernatural Short Fiction of Mary Shelley

by Mary Shelley
Release date: 1996 (Tachyon Publications)
Type: speculative fiction
Genres: horror, short stories

From the creator of Frankenstein, discover the secrets of eternal youth, souls that exchange bodies, and ancient Romans newly thawed out of ice.

Mary Shelley’s considerable fame rests squarely on the shoulders of the great Gothic novel Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus. Frankenstein, considered one of (if not the) earliest pure science-fiction novel, was published anonymously in 1818 and revised under Shelley’s own byline in 1831. Her powerful tale of blasphemous creation is perhaps more familiar to modern readers through its many film adaptations as it is from the book itself. From Boris Karloff’s electrifying performance as Frankenstein to Kenneth Branaugh’s directorial rendering, cinematic interpretations have renewed interest in the book time and time again.

Shelley’s other works are not as famous as Frankenstein. She wrote just a handful of other novels, of which only The Last Man (1826) has remained sporadically in print. A precursor to such disaster novels as George R. Stewart’s Earth Abides and Richard Jeffries’ After London, The Last Man follows its protagonist through a distant future world depopulated by plague.

The shorter works of Mary Shelley are also less widely-known. During her lifetime, she published just over two-dozen stories, three of which were of interest to science fiction and fantasy readers. Two additional stories were published after Shelley’s death. “Roger Dodsworth: The Reanimated Englishman” was printed in a volume of reminisces by a magazine editor who had commissioned the story thirty years earlier. “Valerius: The Reanimated Roman,” a story in a similar vein to “Roger Dodsworth,” remained unpublished until 1976, when both stories were discovered by Charles E. Robinson, a Shelley scholar and professor of English at the University of Delaware.

This collection contains all five of Mary Shelley’s compelling supernatural stories. It also features an original story by renowned science fiction author Michael Bishop, which serves as a narrative introduction for this collection, and a brand-new introductive by publisher and editor Jacob Weisman (Invaders, The New Voices of Fantasy).

Contents:

"The Unexpected Visit of a Reanimated Englishwoman" Narrative introduction by Michael Bishop

The Mortal Immortal: A Tale
Transformation
Roger Dodsworth: The Reanimated Englishman
The Dream
Valerius: The Reanimated Roman

(updated 2017-10-30)

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