Dr. Frankenstein learns the secret to giving life to inanimate matter To test his theories, he collects bones from the tombs to construct a "human" being, and then gives it life. The creature, endowed with supernatural size and strength, is revolting to look at, and frightens all who see it. Lonely and miserable, it comes to hate its creator. This tale of terror has been a world favorite since it was first published in 1818. Mary Shelley's original novel is not only a masterwork of horror, but it's also considered to be one of the earliest science fiction stories ever written.