Also known as, what we want for Christmas, part 2.
Freeverse says we want a game for our iPhone “featuring a Jane Austen character in a lacy dress who karate-chops her way through hordes of advancing zombies.” (Not out yet. Coming soon.) Do we? I can only imagine this would be followed by an underwater version fighting off sea monsters, and (cue eyeroll) Emma and the Werewolves.
- Lizzie would not wear lace to kick zombie ass. Entirely inappropriate. Long sleeves, maybe?
- Well, I hope Seth is getting some royalties off this. Then when he dies I hope Jane takes them off him. With sharp words.
- On iPhone? Wouldn’t Wii be lots more fun?
- Do you think Lizzie will just kick ass like every other game heroine? How about the really difficult moves, like managing a train? At least Jane didn’t have to sit down in a hoop-skirt. FUN, I tell you. Ooh, can I watch people jump around trying to kickbox in a corset? With a fan and soft slippers and a train tripping them up?
- Don’t we all think Lady Susan is much more the Lara Croft/Aeon Flux type than Eliza Bennet?
- Pretty soon, if not already, there’ll be a World of Warcraft: Jane Austen Edition. I know my GM friends would be ever so grateful if you zombie hunters would mind your manners on the Quest to Lady Catherine’s, OK? No whining in the ha-ha. No hacking with scripts to get Darcy to propose to Lizzie every 2 seconds until she beats him over the head with her slipper.
- A friend of mine has already rebuilt Pemberley in Second Life. I don’t even want to know what goes on there!
- Hey! To my friends at Zynga: why not combine Mafia Wars and Farmville, and have a Build Your Own Fighting Regency Estate? Stick with me here a minute. You build up the family fortunes: add a living and you get a crazy aunt or maybe a hero (luck of the draw!). Attract heroines with spacious grounds and/or ruined abbeys! Once you have a heroine, you can build up suitors, and then use your army or navy to totally beat up the other estates and steal their heroines! Not so hot an idea? Oh well, if it sells, I still expect royalties. I know where you live, guys!
- When are all you entertainment types going to get creative and explore the clone angle? I believe we at Austenacious were the first to propose this, no, with our special Halloween header? If I don’t see The Matrix: Jane Austen Reloaded with thousands of simply but elegantly attired Eliza Bennets fountaining up in the Netherfield ball/fight scene within the year, I shall be severely disappointed. (Yo, Wachowskis: they have corsets built in! Bondage for all!)
- But seriously now, and brushing aside this tomfoolery: it’s my birthday next Saturday, and then Christmas two weeks later. May I not expect to see at least one first edition Jane Austen novel peeping out of my stocking?
Okay, not really. More like: Jane Austen hates other people on Twitter.
At its best—i.e., in her own hands—Twitter sounds like Jane’s kind of thing, the kind of program that might have suited her style and benefited her business: bits of wit delivered to a mass audience, “editors” and “publishers” and all others unaware of her genius be damned. After all, we’d have followed her: wry humor, subtle sarcasm, and bits of local gossip? Sign us up!
It’s all those other Twitterers (Tweeters?) who cause the trouble. Some people really shouldn’t be tweeting in the first place; one look at any of Austen’s novels indicates that, had the technology of the time caught up with the human instinct to share mundane life details 140 characters at a time, she would have picked the over-sharers out of the crowd without a second thought. Just think: Mrs. Bennet with an iPhone (“Waiting 4 hunky rich neighbor to show, can smell the $ now!”). Mr. Collins discovering Twitterific (“Wife encourages me to garden AGAIN, guess she likes the outdoorsy type!”). Even Catherine Morland might not, engaging heroine or no, have been the world’s most fulfilling Twitter correspondent (“Twilight OMG!!1!”). As it is, Jane had an ear for—by which I mean “mocked mercilessly and with great glee”—the indiscreet and the overly familiar; imagine how much worse things would have been for her with 24/7 wifi and a pop-up qwerty keyboard.
In terms of her work, constant microblogging would certainly muck up Jane’s stories. Not sure if one Mr. Wickham is a catch or a cad? “Let’s check his Twitter for skeevy drunk-tweets” may save poor Lydia a heap of trouble, but it ends Pride and Prejudice far too quickly, and then how will Mr. Darcy prove his boundless kindness, discretion, and general uprightness of character? Even if Wickham and Lydia—just to use an example, of course—were able to spirit off into the English night, there’s not much point in sending out the search party if we know exactly where they were and what they were doing at 10:17 and again at 10:24 and again at 10:27. (Indiscreet and over-familiar: your poster children have arrived.) No, far too much is lost in the land of Austen when characters are too easy to find and too eager to tell us what’s up.
So, Twitter: Jane Austen hates you. Not so much from some place of anti-tech “get off my lawn!”-itis as from knowing people—like, humanity—too well and from liking to tell stories where information is sometimes withheld for whole chapters at a time (WHAT?). Good thing she’s got that nice, loopy penmanship to fall back on, no?