Just finished reading The Ultimate Frankenstein, edited by Byron Priess for ibooks. It's filled with works from established authors such as Brian Aldiss, Charles de Lint, F. Paul Wilson, with a foreword by Isaac Asimov. As the title gives away, all of the short stories dealt with the concept of bringing life back to the stitched-up dead.
Some of the stories dealt with Mary Shelley's monster himself, while others used Dr. Frankenstein's mad science and ran with it. The results are, as one would expect form such a brilliant pool of writers, imaginative, evocative, and sometimes fun.
Some of my favorite stories in the series are:
Fortitude - Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
A teleplay about a futuristic mad scientist and the elderly lady monster he keeps alive in his lab.
Monsters of the Midway – Mike Resnick
Mad science meets football meets sports rules meets Stephen Hawking's brain. I had lots of fun with this one.
Chui Chai – S.P. Somtow
Erotic and tragic, this story of an American yuppie and the Thai prostitute he falls in love in hearkens back to the dark, messed-up, AIDS-scared early 90's. This is my favorite story in the anthology. But then, Somtow is one of my favorite writers.
I, Monster – Loren D. Estleman
What starts out as a conventional Frankenstein's-monster-gone-into-the-modern-world takes on a humorous, modern twist in the last two pages. The twit may seem too abrupt for others, but I was pretty tickled by it.
Last Call for the Sons of Shock – David J. Schow
I've always loved Schow's wordplay, and this story is no different. This tale guest stars Count Dracula, remade as a drug lord and the wolf man, who is currently enjoying a career n professional wrestling. Frankenstein's monster isn't left out of the cool job department, as he's become a bartender. This is the opposite of “I, Monster,” as it starts out fun but ends on a poignant note.
The Last Supper and a Falafel to Go – George Alec Effinger
Humorously written, this dark comedy had me saying “Kawawa naman!” the whole time. It's hard to be funny and affecting but Effinger manages just that in this story. “Last Supper” made me glad to live in a 3rd world country where documents can sometimes be not so important.