The Shiretown Bookers will feature the exhibition “Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature,” running through Oct 6, in the Bookers’ display area in Mantor Library, 116 South Street in Farmington.

On a dark and stormy night in 1816, Mary Shelley began writing a story that posed profound questions about individual and societal responsibility for other people. To make her point, the young novelist used the scientific advances of her era and the controversies surrounding them as a metaphor for issues of unchecked power and self-serving ambition, and their effect on the human community. Since that time, Frankenstein has become one of the Western world’s most enduring myths. It provides a framework for discussions of scientific advances that challenge our traditional understanding of what it means to be human.

Shelley’s novel is a story of loneliness and rejection and a sympathetic monster. At the same time, it is a cautionary tale of technology gone haywire and causing unforeseen consequences. Bill Joy’s 2000 article in Wired magazine raised the red flag on robotics and artificial intelligence, but he might also have included the bio-tech, nano-tech, and nuclear threats to our continued existence. Frankenstein is a lens through which to see our current ethical responsibilities.

The banner exhibition was developed and produced by the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. The corresponding book exhibition is produced by the Shiretown Bookers.

For information, or to join, visit

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