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Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson
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Frankissstein (2019)

by Jeanette Winterson

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1289144,802 (4.1)24
From 'one of the most gifted writers working today' (New York Times) comes an audacious new novel about the bodies we live in and the bodies we desire In Brexit Britain, a young transgender doctor called Ry is falling in love - against their better judgement - with Victor Stein, a celebrated professor leading the public debate around AI. Meanwhile, Ron Lord, just divorced and living with Mum again, is set to make his fortune launching a new generation of sex dolls for lonely men everywhere. Across the Atlantic, in Phoenix, Arizona, a cryonics facility houses dozens of bodies of men and women who are medically and legally dead... but waiting to return to life. But the scene is set in 1816, when nineteen-year-old Mary Shelley writes a story about creating a non-biological life-form. 'Beware, for I am fearless and therefore powerful.' What will happen when homo sapiens is no longer the smartest being on the planet? Jeanette Winterson shows us how much closer we are to that future than we realise. Funny and furious, bold and clear-sighted, Frankisssteinis a love story about life itself.… (more)

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“Night has come with her starry sky. Sleep and the silent hours of dreams. The others dream and sleep.
The house itself breathes in and out like a phantom. I lie awake with the stars as my cold companions. I think of my monster, lying thus, outside and alone.”

“We destroy out of hatred. We destroy out of love.”

“How strange is life; this span that is our daily reality, yet daily countermanded by the stories we tell.”

In modern day Britain, a young transgender doctor, named Ry, meets and falls in love with Victor Stein, a famous professor, as they attend an AI expo. The narrative then shifts to the maker of advanced sex dolls and then explores the mysterious process called cryogenics. The reader then, is propelled back to1816, where a young woman, named Mary Shelley, is creating her horror classic, Frankenstein, in the company of her poet husband, with Lord Byron, in attendance.
How these threads are seamlessly woven together, is the magic behind this smart and inventive novel. I have only read Winterson's wonderful memoir, but her latest, reminded me, that I need to go back and read more of her fiction. This is terrific stuff! ( )
  msf59 | Oct 17, 2019 |
It's my own fault, I should have known better than to try a Booker Prize novel; nothing good ever comes of that recommendation. I'm sure Jeanette Winterson's story is super clever and ticks a lot of populist boxes, but I just prefer characterisation over concepts. The only part I enjoyed was the opening quote taken from 'Take It Easy' by The Eagles.

Half of the narrative belongs to Mary Shelley, penning Frankenstein in competition with her husband and Lord Byron while travelling through Geneva. I didn't mind reading about her, although I think those chapters were only there to remind the reader about the original novel (which I have read, but years ago). Then we get the 'modern' narrative, told in overblown dialogue - 'Love's not ones and zeros, I said. Oh, but it is, said Victor. We are one. The world is naught/nought. I am alone. You are nothing. One love. An infinity of zeros.' - from the perspective of (Ma)Ry Shelley, a trans doctor, who is helping a professor, Vic Stein, achieve his mad scientist goal of transhumanism. Do you see why I would have given up, if the typeface wasn't so large and the chapters so short? I'm interested in artificial intelligence, without coming close to understanding the science, but can't stand the egotistical desire for eternal life, which is essentially what uploading your consciousness to a hard drive is about. And that's all Vic Stein bangs on about. (While Ry reminds the reader that 'they' are trans, every other line, usually just before shagging the professor.) Add to that the 'humour' of Ron Lord the sexbot maker and Claire the American evangelist, I was glad to get it over with! ( )
1 vote AdonisGuilfoyle | Sep 21, 2019 |
Finished Frankisstein - I really liked this one. Will come back and add a review.
I thought this was such a clever book, I never quite knew what to expect with her playing with modern AI plans, Mary Shelley's story and ideas of what it means to be human. What would happen if everyone never died? How are the ideas of Shelley and the fears of Frankenstein's monster linked to our worries today? I can't say I am knowledgeable about AI, but I loved the way she brought together Turing's Manchester with high tech advances in the US. Maybe some of the advances she mentions are not here yet, but how far off?
We are lucky, even the worst of us, because daylight comes. ( )
  charl08 | Sep 5, 2019 |
Frankissstein
by Jeannette Winterson
due 10-1-2019
Grove Press
5.0 / 5.0

#netgalley #Frankissstein

Remarkable and absorbing, this is a intellectual and philosophical novel and one of the best, and most relevant I've read in s long time.
Transgendered Dr. Ry Shelley, living in Britain, falls in love with Victor Stein, a professor of Artificial Intelligence. It made me stop, think and consider so many times about so many things.
What is it that makes us human?
Are our assigned bodies and gender what make us human or is what we do, think and feel , that seperate us from Artificial Intelligence, or just from each other?
Is it our desire for more pleasure that drives, are we all just robots programmed by our ownselves?
Beautifully written, we can see the criticisms and beliefs Mary Shelley encountered while writing this in 1816. It reflects the same beliefs and criticisms we are still encountering today.
Ron Lord and his SexxBots and XXBots were one of the best parts, with its Teledildonics, the intelligent vibrator. There is much wit, humor and whimsy in this amazing novel of gender, gender equality and humanity. We are, indeed, much more than the sum of our parts.
Thanks to netgalley for this e-book ARC for review. ( )
  over.the.edge | Sep 1, 2019 |
Leave it to Winterson to manage to breathe fresh life (no pun, etc) into the story challenge at Diodati. Her characters are so easily and succinctly alive. Multiple story lines from 1816 to present day (with present-day characters doubling their historic counterparts) explore what Mary Shelley and company first proposed about the perils of AI and hubris ("It is as though we are fulfilling something that has been foretold").. Angry, funny, lucid, always thought-provoking--and all in Winterson's exquisite, liquid prose. New fiction from her is always an event and a submersion in her sultry, liminal world. (The title makes it kind of a hard sell...) ( )
  beaujoe | Jun 29, 2019 |
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We may lose and we may win though we will never
be here again.
                                            Eagles, ‘Take It Easy’
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Lake Geneva, 1816

Reality is water-soluble.

What we could see, the rocks, the shore, the trees, the boats on the lake, had lost their usual definition and blurred into the long grey of a week’s rain.
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