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Happy birthday to the mother of science fiction and one of my favorite authors, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (30 August 1797 – 1 February 1851).

"Whence, I often asked myself, did the principle of life proceed?"

Happy birthday also to funkyturtle, and happy early birthday to marthawells, aragornlover, alii_s, beatonna, agameofthree, nowitsdark0, ekeppich, jinxed_wood, princeofcairo, chickenfried_jo, llembas, icarusfall1ng, soonerwxgirl, delenn1960, sueworld2003, shagungu, xanath, northwestmagpie, curtana, sneakybea, and litlover12. May you all enjoy many happy returns of the day!

And last, a quote for the day, from a passage by Mary Shelley that I simply love:

"What a sea is the tide of passion, whose fountains are in our own nature! Our virtues are the quick-sands, which show themselves at calm and low water; but let the waves arise and the winds buffet them, and the poor devil whose hope was in their durability, finds them sink from under him. The fashions of the world, its exigencies, educations and pursuits, are winds to drive our wills, like clouds all one way; but let a thunderstorm arise in the shape of love, hate, or ambition, and the rack goes backward, stemming the opposing air in triumph."

"Yet," replied I, "nature always presents to our eyes the appearance of a patient: while there is an active principle in man which is capable of ruling fortune, and at least of tacking against the gale, till it in some mode conquers it."

"There is more of what is specious than true in your distinction," said my companion. "Did we form ourselves, choosing our dispositions, and our powers? I find myself, for one, as a stringed instrument with chords and stops--but I have no power to turn the pegs, or pitch my thoughts to a higher or lower key."

"Other men," I observed, "may be better musicians."

from Mary Shelley, The Last Man (1826)


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 30th, 2013 05:32 pm (UTC)
MARY SHELLEY IS SO BAD-ASS <3 Happy Birthday to all!
Aug. 31st, 2013 04:41 pm (UTC)
She is indeed! :D
Aug. 30th, 2013 07:36 pm (UTC)
I certainly understand why many people class Frankenstein as a prototypical science fiction novel before the word was invented. However, my personal candidate for the parent of science fiction is Jonathan Swift. What he was doing was more social science fiction in the 1950s style (or the Soviet style); but he did give us thing like the moons of Mars and the careful calculations of relative heights and weights—he was taking an interest in the actual mechanics of his imagined world, which is a very sfnal thing to do.
Aug. 31st, 2013 04:43 pm (UTC)
I always count Swift as one of the great proto-SF writers. I don't see all the ingredients there quite yet for modern SF, but I definitely agree he is an integral part of the tradition.

Aug. 30th, 2013 07:44 pm (UTC)
I may have to read The Last Man now. I forgot how good these lines are.
Aug. 31st, 2013 04:43 pm (UTC)
Augh, it's so, so good! I hope you enjoy. :D

Your icon is fantastic.
Aug. 30th, 2013 08:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Aug. 31st, 2013 04:43 pm (UTC)
My pleasure! :D
Aug. 30th, 2013 09:33 pm (UTC)
That last line is a killer! Thanks for this birthday reminder post.
Aug. 31st, 2013 04:44 pm (UTC)
Isn't it brilliant?!?

My pleasure! Thank you for celebrating with me. *Gothic hugs*
Sep. 2nd, 2013 04:09 pm (UTC)
I have always been a fan of Mary Shelley Frankenstein! I would have loved to see Benedict Cumberbatch when he was in Frankenstein. When I read the book, I swear thats the voice I hear in my head!
Sep. 7th, 2013 08:29 pm (UTC)
I would have loved to see Benedict Cumberbatch when he was in Frankenstein.

He was so brilliant in that role! Do you have access to any of the cinemas that are part of the National Theatre Live program? They're going to be offering an encore performance on Halloween night this year. I hope you can see it!
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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