Now, I’m not the sort of person who’s going to make fun of people who want sexy monsters. I’m proud to say that I’m one of the few authors to comprehensively treat that vital question, “How do you make a dried-up walking corpse attractive?” However, it is worth nothing that there’s been a recent upswing in the number of monsters the Internet has collectively deemed sexable. Vampires have been objects of sexual attraction for over a century; werewolves have a longstanding reputation for animal magnetism; in recent years, even zombies and fish-men have gotten a chance to shine as romantic leads. And truly modern creations like the Predator and Venom (of the Spider-Man franchise) have legions of fans who would be willing to take a walk on the wild side with them.
Out of all the classic horror creatures, though, Frankenstein’s monster has been somewhat left behind by this new trend. Like the Mummy and the zombie, Frankenstein’s monster has the taboo of necrophilia attached to it, and unlike the Mummy or the zombie, the monster can’t excuse away his undead nature via the use of convenient magic. His origin story is inextricably tied to mad science and all the gruesome details that come with it. Furthermore, he’s chiefly familiar as the Boris Karloff monster, and the subtleties of his original book incarnation have been overwritten in the public memory by the green-skinned, bolt-necked, grunting giant.
Alisa Kwitney’s Cadaver & Queen finds clever ways to solve all of those problems. Not only does her monster owe more to the intelligent, tragic creature of the book than the Karloff incarnation, but she kills two birds with one stone by rolling monster and creator into one. In this late-Victorian alternate universe where steampunk-esque mad science has created a whole new category of life, Victor Frankenstein has himself become the tragic undead.
Some spoilers ahead, so beware!