More than two centuries after its first publication, author Mary Shelley's work of science fiction, "Frankenstein," is alive and well, still scaring up fans in 2018.

California International Antiquarian Book Fair includes exhibits honouring the original
California International Antiquarian Book Fair includes exhibits honouring the original "Frankenstein" novel and its author, Mary Shelley, USA, February 10, 2018. (@CABookFair) (Facebook)

More than two centuries after its first publication, author Mary Shelley's trailblazing work of science fiction, "Frankenstein," is alive and well.

The novel, first published by a small London publishing house on 1 January 1818 and originally titled "Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus," is being celebrated this weekend at The 51st California International Antiquarian Book Fair.

In the fair, some 200 dealers have trucked in thousands of books from yesteryear -- a share of them a wide array of editions of the Shelley novel, as well as knockoffs and spinoffs.

California International Antiquarian Book Fair Committee Chapter Chair Brad Johnson said Shelley and her book are well worth remembering.

"You know, 200 years ago, an 18-year-old girl sat down on a stormy night in Italy and put together what is considered to be the foundational work in science fiction and a work that's been reinterpreted by every subsequent generation," he said.

While a success in her lifetime, Shelley would never see "Frankenstein" become a phenomenon. 

Starring Boris Karloff

The story had been adapted a number of times in silent films, but it wasn't until the first sound version, a 1931 Universal release starring Boris Karloff, that the doctor with a God complex and his monster would become household fixtures.

The book fair includes exhibits honouring both the original "Frankenstein" novel and its author, as well as the '31 film and Karloff.

Karloff's daughter, Sara, will appear in a panel discussion of the movie at the fair over the weekend.

"I think my father would be amazed at the long legs his legacy has had, not only because of 'Frankenstein,' but that it made such a pivotal difference in his life both personally and professionally," she recalled. 

"It was his 81st film. And no one, he said, saw the first 80. And he was 44 years old when he made 'Frankenstein.' He lost 25 pounds during the making of the film and he'd been a starving actor for 20 years."

"So, he became an overnight success after 20 years in the business, 10 years in repertory theatre and British Columbia and 10 years in Hollywood. So, I mean, the difference that film made in his life and that role made in his life was absolutely amazing."

The 51st California International Antiquarian Book Fair runs through Sunday at the Pasadena Convention Center.

Source: AP