The bicentennial celebration of the inception of Frankenstein invites the present view of Victor Frankenstein and his fateful decision to destroy an unfinished female creature. The act itself was impulsive (caused by a “sensation of madness”), but it was preceded by agonized reasoning that would be familiar to any student of ecology or evolutionary biology. Here, we present a formal treatment of Frankenstein's reasoning and show that his rationale for denying a mate to his male creation has empirical justification. Our results suggest that the decision was prudent because it averted our own extinction by competitive exclusion. We conclude by suggesting that the central horror of Mary Shelley's novel lies in its prescient command of foundational concepts in ecology and evolution.
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