Thanks for checking out our column, the Short Fiction Review, here at Haven. For me, there's always a shifting set of criteria when it comes to what constitutes a really great story. It could be that the characters are distinctly well-drawn and that I find the emotional stakes moving. It could be that the world-building is top-notch and integrated seamlessly into the text of the story, providing a rich and vibrant setting for a piece. It could be that the writing itself, on a sentence level, is so stunning that it makes my jaw drop. It could be a combination or something entirely different. I'm always on the lookout for something that does entirely new things with the conventions of prose.
The Publishers of the Standard Novels, in selecting "Frankenstein" for one of their series, expressed a wish that I should furnish them with some account of the origin of the story. I am the more willing to comply, because I shall thus give a general answer to the question, so very frequently asked me—"How I, when a young girl, came to think of, and to dilate upon, so very hideous an idea?"