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    Purple prose of love and lose in the future.

    This book is if I understand rightly the only other novel by Frankenstein author Mary Shelley. It is a sprawling story of an imagined future (around the 2090's) where England is a republic, balloons are used as a means of fast transport, but otherwise it resembles the England of Shelley's day (the early 19th century). We follow the progress of Lionel Verney from lowly shepherd boy to confidant of the son of the last king of England and on. The title portends the dark fate that awaits this world in the form of a universal plague. It is narrated by Verney recalling how he came to be the Last Man. The characters are in some ways straightforward the at first brutish Verney turns idealistic, Lord Raymond is suspiciously like Lord Byron (a hero of Greece, unconventional and charismatic, tinged by dark impulses). Byron was someone Mary Shelley knew well famously Frankenstein began as a story she told to Byron and others including her husband Percy Shelley as part of a sort of informal story telling competition. The plot proceeds chapter by chapter at first with some conflict of character occurring and usually being resolved by the end of a chapter only for a new one to emerge. As the dark fate of the character and the world comes to a head instead of resolutions tragedies begin to accumulate, at each new stage a different problem menaces or frustrates our protagonist, so the effect is a series of plot more than a single line through narrative. The plots usually involve a mix of the personal and more epic problems as the main characters are leaders of men. As mentioned although the book has various trappings of science fiction, being about an imagined future involving a few future innovations (routine balloon travel, a republican England and so on). These are not prominent in the story it explores more themes of personal ambition love and touching on a few issues in republicanism and democratic governance, free will and so on but without much of the abstraction from the present day or use of technology or historical change for allegory as one might expect in science fiction. The prose varies between being florid and outright purple, full of metaphors strung together, romantic imagery and obscure words full of meaning. Some of the obscure language is simply a matter of it being written in the 19th century of course. The characters are often beset by tragedy and depression and it has been suggested that this reflects Shelley's own encounters with depression and so the book is filled with attempt to capture this mood in its metaphors. The ebook is okay, but the foot/end notes are not properly formatted for integration in the text. There are a few quotes of poetry and the like here and there in the text, if you want to know there source you will have to find a way to page forward to the end of the book to figure it out.
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