Bizarre Baseball Culture (Book Review): “Brittle Innings” by Michael Bishop

In Bizarre Baseball Culture, I take a look at some of the more unusual places where baseball has reared it’s head in pop culture and fiction.

1816 was the so-called “Year Without a Summer”, as a series of events (including the ash from a very large volcanic eruption in Indonesia) caused temperatures around the world to plunge. Against this backdrop, a small group of English writers and poets had their summer vacation at the Villa Diodati near Lake Geneva ruined by record cold and wet weather. Stuck inside the Swiss manor, one of their members, Lord Byron, suggested they try their hand at writing ghost stories. One of them, a young woman named Mary Shelley, came up with an idea that would eventually become Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus. It differed from other scary stories in one major aspect: instead of having the monster come from magic or religion, it was about a monster created by mankind, by science. In fact, some say that it invented science fiction as a genre.

So, perhaps it isn’t surprising that eventually Bizarre Baseball Culture would come across the Frankenstein Monster, but it is surprising that it comes in Brittle Innings by Michael Bishop, as opposed to a baseball episode of The Munsters or some sort of obscure comic. Because, you see, Brittle Innings, published in 1994, is an honest-to-goodness classy novel written for adults that doesn’t even advertise the fact that it’s unusual, and it’s premise is simple: what if Mary Shelley had merely been an editor of the tale of Frankenstein and his monster, and what if the Monster survived, moved to America, and took up baseball?

Okay, maybe that premise isn’t that simple. Depends on your definition of “simple”, I guess. Still, go below the jump for more:

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