Runaway Bride

Here’s something crazy. A novel that’s a sequel to a movie that is itself a sequel to a movie based on a novel from the year 1818. It’s also a book that blends Mary Shelley’s mythos with J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan and Fritz Lang’s Metropolis

It’s a crazy book all right, but most of all—it’s a book about monsters with a feminist twist. “The instant my eyes opened,” explains the heroine, “my own consciousness began to colonize the femina incognito.”

As it turns out, the Bride of Frankenstein (named Pandora by author Elizabeth Hand) is a righteous babe. Right from the first page she asserts her gender politics: “From the moment I knew fire and was thus born, my goal has always been to steal fire, and power, for myself. I am no man’s creature and no man’s possession.” 

And because she’s such a spitfire, the ensuing scenes between her and Frankenstein’s original monster sparkle with emotional electricity. Even though they share the same ungodly experience, the pair has a lot of issues to work out between themselves. 

Like Zeus, Dr. Frankenstein creates Pandora as the most beautiful of all living things. Despite the stink of death and the scars up and down her body, she is so lovely that men are driven to maim, murder and betray all other men in order to possess her. “Witness Pandora!” announces her number one ally Dr. Pretorius. “She is the future of Womankind! Beautiful as a mountain stream, strong as a mountain.” 

Unlike her mythological namesake, however, Pandora doesn’t negligently unleash a torrent of monsters from a box. She takes ownership of her situation immediately. “Whatever I unleash upon men,” she says, “I will do so knowingly.”

After rejecting her soulmate (see the original Bride of Frankenstein movie from 1935 for more details), Pandora flees to nearby Berlin, by way of Neverland, to live life as the sensational she-corpse. She has no problem fitting into Berlin’s Weimar culture of intellectuals, artists and dissidents. After all, Frankenstein gave her beauty and the wit to use it. He also gave her a driving thirst for knowledge and a keen impulse for self protection. 

Once in Berlin, the runaway bride meets her spiritual sister—Futura, the iconic mechanical woman from the 1927 movie Metropolis. Both Pandora and the fembot know they are victims of man’s perverse hubris. They know first hand that the giving and taking of life is far too important a matter to be left to the likes of men. 

But they have a plan. Maybe if they work together, the two “monsters” can figure out a redemption for humanity. The beautiful corpse and the magnificent machine might be able to author a New Eve—born of man their betrayer and their ultimate triumph over him.  

[The Bride of Frankenstein: Pandora’s Bride / By Elizabeth Hand / First Printing: 2007 / ISBN: 9781595820353]