Of course, it was George’s idea and for once not one of his famously mad, bad and dangerous ones.

Executive Summary

A breakthrough response to antibiotic-resistant microbes involves coating hospital surfaces with a material that mimics the skin of sharks. That's a fact that Innovation Consultant Karen Morris shares with executives and other students when she explains how invention frequently derives from seeing and exploiting unanticipated patterns and connections between seemingly disparate things. Here, serving as Guest Editor for Carrier Management's features on Emerging Risks and Future Trends, Morris introduces the themes by making unlikely connections between the creators of Romantic literature in a past time and the innovators of tomorrow, merging together ideas from the stories of Mary Shelley, including her most well-known story, "Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus."

Stuck indoors in the “summer of darkness”—the wettest, coldest June on record, the impact on Lake Geneva resulting from a major climate event—the innately volatile, nonconformist quartet grew restless. Even being stuck in the gorgeous lakeside Villa Diodati got tiresome, however enthusiastically the tedium was interspersed with drugs and sex. To the backdrop of pitch-dark skies, electric storms and crashing thunder, in-home entertainment was simple: reading ghost stories aloud before an unseasonal blazing fire. That’s when George suggested a challenge. “We shall each write a ghost story.”

Of the group, two men—George, “the noble author,” and the college-dropout Percy—were highly qualified for the literary task, being already youthful writers of considerable renown. The third man, John, a doctor, had abundant raw material, being intimate with the stuff of horror—the dissection of cadavers supplied by the gallows or entrepreneurial grave robbers.

All were immersed in the disruptive technological advances energizing the Industrial Revolution: furious experimentation in chemistry, biology, magnetism and electricity. Nighttime debates concerned breakthrough scientific advances, competing theories and their controversies—Galvanism, early Darwinism (from Erasmus, not grandson Charles), and notably, “the nature of the principle of life and whether there was any probability of its ever being discovered and communicated…Perhaps a corpse would be reanimated…perhaps the component parts of a creature might be manufactured, brought together and endued with vital warmth.”

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