Frankenstein and Climate Change

The Ecotopia 2121 project sets out to predict the super-ecofriendly futures of 100 real world cities across the globe, as inspired by Thomas More's idea of 'Utopia'.


The 'evil twin' of the Ecotopia 2121 project is the Frankencities project, which sets out to predict the worst-case eco-disastrous cities of the future as inspired by Mary Shelley's novel 'Frankenstein'.

Both the Ecotopia 2121 project and the Frankencities project utilize a novel method of urban planning called 'The Literary Method of Urban Design'.


In the process, some of the many links (real and imagined) between literature and urban environmentalism have been analyzed and discussed. One example of such a deconstructed link is the mythic 'Frankenstein volcano' of Tambora.

The link between the 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia and the 1816 conception of the Frankenstein story has attained mythic status in 'pop science' circles. It has been suggested over and over again that this massive volcanic event in the tropics led to Mary Shelley’s invention of the Frankenstein story in Europe because the eruption so altered the climate of the northern hemisphere (lowering the temperatures, creating rainy electrical storms, producing frosts and floods, and generally darkening the landscape) that Shelley dreamt up the idea for her monstrous horror tale as a result. She was then imprisoned indoors by the volcanically-induced bad summer weather of 1816 and thus encouraged to craft the story into a full length gothic novel. 

However, the scholars involved in the Ecotopia 2121 project and Frankencities project have just published an academic paper that outlines the problems, failings, and miscalculations of the Tambora - Frankenstein myth. You can access the paper for free at Research Gate or for free at Humanities Bulletin. 



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