Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Book Review: 'Into a Distant Light' by Mary Patterson Thornburg

Does anyone ever wonder what really happened to Frankenstein’s monster? The story goes that he went off into the distance to die. However, Mary Patterson Thornburg has a different story to tell, one from those who knew him or his “father” the doctor.
Packed into this short tale is quite a bit of story. Set in England during the Regency, we get an inside view of the doctor, and his creation, mostly from the point-of-view of an English explorer to the far north. This explorer, Robert Walton, rescued the doctor in the icy wilderness then heard a good tale of his own. He wrote to his sister with some interesting observations.
Robert comes home but then leaves again, returning to the North Pole, and this time, things won’t go so well for him. He finds himself in a dire situation, and the “monster” approaches him. From here, we get his side of the story.
The tone of this writing gives the feel of the era without being too much. It is a quick-paced account, and the years fly by within a few pages. However, not a lot happens until half-way through. I found myself wishing more of the main action was mixed in with the mundane details. Character development is good for such a short rendition. We get to know the characters with a few well-chosen words, and come to understand them.
The story may be short, but it was worth peeking into the life of a legend and hearing a new account of what “really” happened.

Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short ReviewsIt has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.