The story is well known. One wet summer by the shores of Lake Geneva, Mary Shelley — 18 years old, living out of wedlock with the poet Shelley — had a horrifying dream, one that she would later write as the novel Frankenstein. What is less well known is that another of the key pillars of modern horror fiction — the vampire myth — was born during that same extraordinary holiday.
Less well known? Not to either fans of Ken Russell or us science fiction readers - more to the point Shelley's book wasn't the consequence of a dream (such a literary fiction contrivance) but of a specific decision to fuse, in story form, scientific ideas and fantastic speculation. Frankenstein became one of the archetypes of science fiction - debating issues we'd see again in Olof Stapledon's 'Sirius', in Asimov's 'I, Robot', in Heinlein's 'Stranger in a Strange Land' and, in many other stories and series.
Yet Kate Hoyland - who's clearly not familiar with horror films let alone with fantasy literature - can only refer to one source:
Mary’s morality tale has also appeared in frequent guises, some obvious, and some less so: think of Ridley Scott’s film Blade Runner, in which androids, indistinguishable from their human counterparts, agonise over the nature of their existence.
Oddly enough the androids in Blade Runner - drawn from (like so much of recent science fiction film) the writings of Philip K. Dick, in this case 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep' - are more certain of their place in the scheme of things. It is human fear and uncertainty (we might see it as a metaphor of racial prejudice given when the book was written) that Dick explores rather than android angst.
"If I test out android," Phil Resch prattled, "you'll undergo renewed faith in the human race. But since it's not going to work out that way, I suggest you begin framing an ideology which will account for-"