cover image Our Hideous Progeny

Our Hideous Progeny

C.E. McGill. Harper, $30 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-325679-8

Described by debut author McGill as “Frankenstein, but, like, with dinosaurs,” this immersive blend of historical and science fiction brims with surprises and dark delights. In Victorian England, protagonist Mary discovers her great-uncle Victor Frankenstein’s life story in an old letter case. A scientist herself, she and her husband attempt to replicate and improve upon the first Frankenstein’s discoveries. Instead of revivifying a human corpse, however, they decide—in the interest of both safety and science—to reanimate a Plesiosaurus. McGill echoes Mary Shelley’s theme of the tension between morality and scientific discovery, which works well alongside a incisive exploration of women’s rights within the field of science and in Victorian society more broadly. Fiery Mary proves the perfect person to helm this tale: often full of rage, she begins to recognize her queerness as she becomes increasingly fed up with the limitations of her world. The setting, too, feels wholly authentic, making it easy to get sucked in. Readers will revel in Mary’s personal and scientific discoveries and root for her to succeed in an unfair world. (May)