The Workshop of Filthy Creation by Richard Gadz
Published by Deixis Press
Released October 25, 2021
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Note: I received a free physical copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinions in any way.
When most of us think of gothic horror novels, we tend to think back on the classics, such as Dracula or Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The most famous title of the genre, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, has influenced generations of writers. Iterations of her beloved story are found throughout popular culture and many reimaginings have been created in a variety of mediums.
Richard Gadz (the pen name for author Simon Cheshire) draws on the imagined legacy of Dr. Victor Frankenstein to tell the story of Maria, the first lifeform to be created entirely in a laboratory. The Workshop of Filthy Creation is an exciting modern gothic horror novel that examines what it means to be human and the dangerous role that a purely logical mind can have on the progression of science.
Set in Victorian England, we meet Maria as she escapes the Continent with a biologist named George Hobson. Maria’s very existence is both a scientific marvel and a secret, and Hobson, along with three close friends, attempt to determine what exactly should be done with her. Things take a dark turn, however, when Wilhelm von Frakken, Maria’s creator and previously thought dead, shows up in London to claim his “property.”
As someone who loves gothic horror, I thoroughly enjoyed Gadz’s modern take on a classic tale.
There were some portions of the novel that slowed the pace a bit due to excessive descriptions. For example, there’s a scene where passengers are disembarking from a train. However, the detailing goes a bit too far; while I might need to know that these passengers are getting off the train, I don’t particularly need to know how:
“Passengers began to flow out, either setting themselves down from the carriages in a single hop or watching their feet as they stepped carefully from step to platform.”
Even with the slow pacing at times, the story is exciting to read. The laboratory scenes are gruesome, the villain is detestable, and the hero, Maria, is sympathetic and is more human than her creator seems to be. Gadz takes all of the best parts of Gothic horror and wraps them into a near-perfect romp.
I want to quickly mention something that doesn’t pertain to the story itself. This was my first time receiving a book from Deixis Press, and I was very much impressed by the presentation of this novel. The cover is wonderfully illustrated, the paperstock is thick and has a wonderful feel to it, and the physical book is just high quality.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Workshop of Filthy Creation and would recommend to anyone who loves either classic gothic horror or the Frankenstein story.