Where were you yesterday, I wonder? The ranch, with all its freight of human beings - in which category I include those supernatural beings, our grandchildren - spent yesterday and much of the day before in a benighted bit of somewhere that I presume was medieval Europe! It was our first taste of a major Timeslip. (How easily one takes up the protective jargon - a Timeslip sounds no worse than a landslide. But you know what I mean - a fault in the spatial infrastructure.)
I had not actually read this before - but I had long ago listened to a 1978 commercially released cassette recording of Brian Aldiss actually reading the book. The tapes together were only 2h42m, so it must have been somewhat abridged (though the book is anyway only 216 pages).
Aldiss is at his best when he examines fragmentation and transition. (That's why the first two Helliconia books are much better than the third.) Here, his protagonist, Joe Bodenland, is yanked from the world of 2020, recovering from a global conflict where space and time have come adrift, and deposited in Switzerland in 1816, in both the world of Mary Shelley and the Villa Deodati and the world of Frankenstein's Geneva which she invented. Bodenland weaves in and out of both stories, making love to Mary, pursuing the monster, ending in the middle of nowhere anticipating doom. Given Aldiss's own reverence for Shelley as the originator of science fiction (two hundred years ago this summer) there's a lot going on here, and I don't feel fully able to unpack it, but I really liked it.
The 1990 film starred John Hurt as the protagonist (renamed Buchanan, which may be easier to say but has less linguistic resonance), Bridget Fonda as Mary Shelley and Raul Julia as Frankenstein. I may even try and watch it some time.
This came to the top of my list of sf books recommended by you guys. Next on that list was Alif the Unseen, next after that is Ghastly Beyond Belief, edited by Neil Gaiman and Kim Newman.