American Mary: Mad Science Needs More Women


It’s so rare to see Mad Scientist stories starring women: that particular breed of ambition and cold calculation, discovery and ultimate downfall, seems to go almost exclusively to men, in spite of the fact that the genre’s great progenitor came from Mary Shelley’s own pen. Women are allowed to be traitorous femme fatales, using their sex appeal and apparent fragility to weave hapless men into traps; rarely they are allowed to be forces of nature, the Annie Wilkeses of the world, raging over helpless captives; or perhaps the insidious, poisonous psychological hold of a Norma Bates. But almost never a scientist, an explorer, someone whose achievements we are urged to marvel at before the constraints of the genre yank things back to the status quo. Even the promising title of Frankenstein’s Daughter cheated us by presenting the man’s grandson instead.

So it was with great joy that I learned of Jen and Sylvia Soska’s attempt to redress some small part of this issue with their sophomore directorial effort, American Mary. Never in my life have I so desperately tried to love a film that, in the end, I can only like.

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Podcast Recs: McElroy Family Edition

Last Monday we took a trip to The Adventure Zone, which has become one of my alltime favorite podcasts. It’s still Max Fund Drive season this week, and I’m in a podcast sort of mood, so it seems like time to stroll through another round of recommendations. Specifically, shows headed up by the stunningly charming and adorable members of the McElroy family. They’re practically a podcasting dynasty at this point, and the world is really better for it. Here are a solid half dozen podcasts to try out (and don’t forget The Adventure Zone!).

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The Consulting Analyst – An Introduction to Gankutsuou

take a poor sinner's hand

Many years ago, an innocent man was convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and thrown into jail to rot. While the conspirators who engineered his downfall grew powerful and contented, this man plotted his revenge, escaping to remake himself as a mysterious gentleman of considerable means and charm. Not content merely to kill those who wronged him, this man sets his sights upon their children, weaving a plot of intrigue and ruination that will equal his own suffering. That man, his true name lost to the Chateu D’lf, is known only as the Count of Monte Cristo.

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