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The Secret Laboratory Journals of Dr. Victor Frankenstein Paperback – International Edition, September 1, 1998

3.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Suppose Victor Frankenstein were not just the product of Mary Shelley's imagination but a real, though obscure, nineteenth-century scientist. Suppose evidence of his reality--the handwritten journals of the mad doctor himself--had finally been unearthed. Graphic artist and Hollywood production designer Kay turns such suppositions into a beautifully crafted "reproduction" of those long-lost lab notes. In addition to step-by-step directions for creating his famous monster and an incredible, painstakingly detailed nine-page foldout illustration of Frankenstein's laboratory, the notebooks--which appear in Frankenstein's own cursive "handwriting" --include journal entries, personal correspondence, even an inventory of key ingredients for monster making. Supplementing the notes are incisive essays by Kay on such relevant topics as the birth of electricity, the history of cadaver theft, and Frankenstein's family pedigree. This beautifully executed book is an exciting addition to Frankensteiniana. Carl Hays --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Fans of Mary Shelley's novel and the many movies it's engendered will find little new in this lavishly designed faux journal by the famously mad scientist. The best parts of this heavily illustrated debut fiction are the annotations providing all sorts of real and spurious background information to the diaries (supposedly written between 180821): Kay (director of the American Museum of Cartoon Art) includes potted little histories of scientific knowledge during the period, and of the subjects Victor Frankenstein would have studied at the university, from electricity to anatomy, complete with the strange practices that were then considered science. The author's line drawings of the ancestral castle, Victor's laboratories, and the Monster itself all resemble the best alternative comic-book art, and Kay delights in the details of Frankenstein's equipment. The journal entries themselves are less interesting, though, and add little beyond a record of Victor's mental disintegration. The facts are well known: his early failed experiments; his loathsome assistant Franz; his body-snatching; his studies in alchemy and his search for the ``sources of life.'' No sooner does he succeed in reanimating a cadaver than he fears he's unleashed something horrific, and the Monster proves how apt those fears are over the next two years as it tracks its creator across Europe. Eventually, it even demands a mate. The Monster kills Victor's brother and wife and becomes the hunted rather than the hunter as Victor searches the world over for the hideous creature. The mad scientist's end on an ice floe is reflected in the wobbly handwriting of the final entries. Kay's single most important deviation seems the least tenable: He has Victor deny any Godlike aspirations, which clearly goes against just about everything that's most compelling in previous books and movies. A curiosity that will interest obsessive fans but confuse the uninitiated. (150 two-color illustrations; 1 gatefold) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Overlook Books (September 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879518677
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879518677
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.7 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,849,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I wish this was closer to what was described in the actual novel.

For starters in Mary Shelley's novel Victor was not a Doctor. He was a student at Ingolstadt University.

Also electric eels never came up in the actual Frankenstein novel. That was invented for the 1994 film Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and later re-used for the movie I, Frankenstein.

In the actual Frankenstein novel the method Victor used to bring his creation to life is deliberately left vague. He does this as to not reveal the method to Captain Walton however what is revealed is this.

1. He was studying the work of Paracelsus (an alchemist).
2. He was reading the work of Agrippa (a sorcerer).
3. He was studying metaphysics. (The creature was not pure science in the novel).
4. Victor told us about the power of the lightning as it struck the tree when he was seventeen.
5. It took him two years to complete his work.
6. When Victor brought his creation to life it was in an attic room in Ingolstadt Bavaria, on a stormy November night. He and later The Creature confirm this. This means that lightning was likely involved. ...Not electric eels.

Seriously, does no one question where in 1790s Bavaria you would get a decent supply of live electric eels?

Finally, if we follow Mary Shelley's novel The Creature was NOT bald. He had a full head of long, flowing, black hair.

I wish someone would write a Victor Frankenstein novel that actually fits with what is written in the novel.

Other than that I do like the imitation hand-written entries. I also like that it has illustrations all through out, that look like they could have been done by Victor Frankenstein.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jeremy Kay does a great job in bringing forth a great idea for all the die-hard Frankenstein fans (such as myself), but beyond that fact it doesn't do a good job as posing like the journal. I never got the impression I was ACTUALLY reading the secret journal of Dr. Frankenstein. Considering this is the whole premise of the book, its inadequacy on this part makes me give the rating only 2 stars.

The journal covers all the way from Victor's childhood, through his creation of the monster, all the way to his dying words in the icy North. There are a few drawings in the book that (unlike previous comments) seem "too good" to be a sketch of a scientist. It becomes obvious one is looking at the work of an artist rather than a sketch of a brilliant scientist.

All this to say, I am completely spoiled from the best adaptation concept of Victor's diary with TIMOTHY BASIL ERING and ROSCOE COOPER's "Diary of Victor Frankensteins". I HIGHLY recommend this as the supreme out of the two. Every entry looks like the paper would after a couple hundred years of decay with dark sketches that are highly real and with hand writing that seems completely life-like (and difficult to read at times as a result...a nice touch indeed). Keep away from Kay's book and search for Ering's book instead!
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Format: Paperback
this book is dazzling. it fills in what Mary Shelley decided to skip, and does it well. the handwriting is in a flowing cursive, and it shows all the flights of fancy and madness Frankenstein had. a beautiful foldout shows his lab and equipment. reading it, one gets the feeling that you really could make a monster. The illustrations are not for the weak of heart, for they are often magnificently disgusting.
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