In my story a scientist figures out the way to bring his dead family back to life, either through creating new beings that look like them or by reanimation. The story is set in a sort of Victorian era so technology is limited. I'm trying to figure out how to make it sound a little less magical and more scientific, and also having his whole process figured out. I have also been trying to find as many examples in literature as possible just for the sake of gathering ideas.

So basically, would it be more plausible for a Victorian era scientist to create clones of his dead family members and say that he had brought them back to life in this way, or would reanimation make more sense? Even creating new life in a god-like manner has come to mind, though I'm not sure how to pull that off unless he utilizes alchemy of some kind. Does anyone know of a way this has been pulled off in past literature?

  • $\begingroup$ it really depends on how much science you want. $\endgroup$ – Sasha Feb 22 '18 at 0:29
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    $\begingroup$ Well, the first thing that comes to mind in past literature of the victorian era is Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, but I'm sure you've already thought about that. Beyond that, I have to say that there really is no plausible way for a victorian era scientist to either create clones or reanimate the dead. So I'd suggest simply going the handwavium route and, like Shelley did, say your scientist used electricity to revive the dead. It doesn't make sense from a scientific perspective but I don't see you have any way to get around that in any case. $\endgroup$ – AngelPray Feb 22 '18 at 0:30
  • $\begingroup$ yes: Frankenstein! "It was already one in the morning; the rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs. " archive.org/stream/Frankenstein1818Edition/frank-a5_djvu.txt $\endgroup$ – Willk Feb 22 '18 at 0:35
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    $\begingroup$ Soooooo.... you're copying Frankenstein? $\endgroup$ – TCAT117 Feb 22 '18 at 0:37
  • $\begingroup$ @TCAT117 Not really. Merely close. Most people don't know Frankenstein well enough to understand what his project was. Victor was trying to create life and defeat death. He made a new creature from fragments of dead people and animals infusing the spark of life into it. The OP's resurrected family could be restored to life with an alternative form of galvanism & not rebuilding into new creatures. Similar to Frankenstein but not a copy. $\endgroup$ – a4android Feb 22 '18 at 3:53

Take the séance one step further. Trap the spirit and keep it.

seance https://www.tumblr.com/search/victorian%20seance

Victorians loved séances. https://www.geriwalton.com/the-victorian-seance/

You can read up on all the different things they did to communicate with the dead and get good period details there.

Your scientist takes it one step further. If the dead can be compelled to arrive in some form, and communicate, that form can be trapped and then transferred to a suitable vessel which will contain it. One by one he calls his family members back and then keeps them from returning to the far side.
Initially they are in special jars he has constructed. But he wants to do better, and transfers the contents of these jars to mannikin-like sculptures he has made for them.

But can he do even better than that?

And is he certain - exactly what is it that he has called back that speaks to him in the voice of his daughter?

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  • $\begingroup$ This is a very helpful idea, I hadn't thought of a seance. Really I guess the question I was trying to ask was what are some different ways to bring someone back from the dead, but I do really like this idea. Thank you! $\endgroup$ – poppyfromthemoon Feb 23 '18 at 1:44

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