Posted by: oneyearbook | August 21, 2009

P&P&Z

Yeah, zombies!

Yeah, zombies!

Back with my report on the zombie book. Katy, if your book club likes trashy vampire fiction, I imagine they will probably enjoy this. It’s … pretty silly. But also pretty funny. It implies on the back that the addition of zombies will make the book more palatable to those who have previously been bored with the idea of reading regular old Pride & Prejudice, but I’m not sure that’s true. It’s definitely more something for someone who already likes Pride & Prejudice and is also easy-going enough not to mind seeing some rather drastic changes made to the book – especially to the characters. Elizabeth is now a cold-blooded killer with no time for thoughts of anything but the “deadly arts,” which is the Regency way of saying “abillity to whack the crap out of zombies.” All five of the Bennet girls have spent a number of years in China training in martial arts, the handling of swords, and the discipline necessary to kill the zombies.

Sea monsters? Really?

Sea monsters? Really?

I was actually quite surprised by some of the changes to the plot – I thought that pretty much everything would remain the same, only there would be a lot of zombie attacks added into the scenes, but a number of the plotlines (spoiler: especially that of Mr. Collins) are rather drastically changed by the introduction of the brains-loving undead. I’m glad, actually – I thought the general zombieness was rather uninspired (the zombies themselves aren’t scary at all, and there’s no big action sequence in which either the hero or the heroine do huge battle with zombies, although there are a number of smaller ones) and thus was pleased that the plot itself took some new direction from the intiative.

Also, if you are put off by juvenile humour, this book may not be for you. There is a lot of sort of sixteen-year-old boy style humour here (emphasis on people vomiting, a lot, and a weird running joke about balls – yes, testicles – that seems pretty out of place, even in a zombie book). There’s also a lot of violence here, so they’re not lying about the mayhem.

Notably, Quirk Books is following up this hit with Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. I’m not sure I following the thinking on this one – how are they going to get sea monsters in a book that has perhaps one scene involving water? The zombies seemed like a much easier addition, at the very least. But they do have, at very least, this snazzy book trailer to get people stoked about it:

If I was in the business of making mash-up books (which, sadly, I’m somehow not), the following would be my line-up:

Jane Eyre, Witch – I’m sorry, but Jane Eyre is damn dull. It would be a lot better if she was an outcast from society for having uncontrollable magic powers, and if Mr. Rochester, too, was hiding some warlock-y skills of his own. She could be brought in to be governess to the little girl because he wants a witch to teach her witchly ways, and it could turn out that the lady in the attic (sorry if this is a spoiler, but seriously, hasn’t everyone had to read JE in high school?) went crazy because of her own lack of control over her magic, and Jane could renounce her magic and try to go with God but no, Rochester needs her … I think it would make sense.

In a similar vein: Tom Jones, Werewolf. This book already has a lot going for it – sex, possible incest, a lot of travelling around, etc. – that would only be made better by poor Tom, the orphan boy, being a werewolf.

A Tale of Two Vampires. Speaks for itself. Surely, a bestseller?

And if someone has to go back to the Jane Austen well (although I suspect it’s now pretty much dry), how about The Monsters of Mansfield Park? (Fanny is much loved by the dragons, minotaurs, manticores, gryphons etc. that are kept at the park, which in the alterna-Britain of the book would be a common practice). Or Emma in Space? No? Persuasion with Pirates – it’s already got all those naval dudes in it anyway, right?

Seriously, though. Someone should be listening: I’d read Jane Eyre, Witch and Tom Jones, Werewolf in a heartbeat.

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Responses

  1. The key is for the title to be funny with the addition of a hip meme to the end. “…Sea Monsters” will bomb because who gives a damn about sea monsters? Zombies are au courant. Not that I like that meme, but there you go. Vampires are big right now, but your “vampires” idea doesn’t make a very interesting title. I’d go with “A Christmas Carol and Vampires”

    I also suggest:
    “War and Peace and Velociraptors” (dinosaurs are a perennial)
    “Wuthering Heights and Ninjas”
    “Lolita and Lolcats”

    Note that any one of these books would become dated and unappealing in about 5 years if not sooner, but there is some money to be made before then.

    • Lolita and Lolcats? So much genius.

      I agree – sea monsters, not particularly fashionable. Although the cover makes the monster look like something out of Pirates of the Caribbean, so there’s that.


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