It’s really hard for me to think of Frankenstein as a science fiction piece. I’ve always thought of it as some sort of gothic thriller or something. I mean, there are scientific elements and mentions throughout the book, especially pertaining to the main conflict of the book. However, Dr. Frankenstein got his start, and to his own admittance this was part of his journey to his fate, through studying alchemy and other ancient disproven sciences. His own father and Krempe were even calling it magic. I feel like that fact alone gives this story more of a fantasy type of feel.
The reason I feel this way is because, to me, the fact that he studied those books and used them as a jumping point to his discovery essentially makes it so the reader has to believe in a little bit of magic to accept this as a possibility. I think V. Frankenstein even says somewhere that only through his own experiences and journey through knowledge was he able to figure out the secret of life. I guess there is a scientific basis for how his experiment actually works, however there’s a tinge of mysticism tied in with all of it, and I think that once magic gets involved, the story crosses the line into fantasy.
The Poetics article talks about cognitive estrangement, I think this novel is on the bubble between too much and just enough. There’s certainly enough transition into the actual study of natural philosophy, as they call it, to make it believable that Dr. Frankenstein, if he were brilliant enough, could come up with such a discovery; after all, he did work with dead bodies on the regular. Even still, I think the inclusion of the likes of Agrippa and Magnus were to prepare the reader for something not quite so scientific. Which again, in my humble opinion, discredits this book as pure science fiction.