OMG, really? What’s with this fad of mashing up literature and disaster/monster porn?
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies got a ton of publicity, but, let’s just say it: it wasn’t very good. There was lots of obvious guy humor about balls (and how could they miss the intercourse jokes, if they’re going that route?) and only one scene that really spoke to our hearts: Lizzie kicking ass as a ninja. This, I can understand. We of the female persuasion all want to be Elizabeth Bennet, so they say, and who doesn’t feel a girl-power thrill at some Buffy-style action? But it was clear the author didn’t have any love for or understanding of the original book. It could have been any old book with a slightly prim reputation, and that’s where things go off the rails: if ”time for tea” vs. ”braiiiiiiins!” is your only joke, then 320 pages are going to seem really, really long. After a few battles with the undead, well, what’s the point?
Now there’s Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, wherein the Dashwood sisters move to an island and, apparently, fight off the evils of the deep. WTF? For one thing, if this had to be done, why not Persuasion, which already takes place (partially) near the sea? Could Captain Wentworth not have taken on the kraken? If, that is, it had to be done at all.
You know why it had to be done: it’s because zombies and monster/disaster porn are really, really popular right now. And it must be funny, right?, to contrast it with that very feminine and oh-so-coincidentally popular franchise of Jane Austen. And I think a lot of Austen fans are, like, “Hey, it’s Jane Austen and it’s popular! Go you!” But we deserve better. I mean, it’s all so obvious. And Miss Austen, boys and girls, did not dig obvious.
She had no problem with monsters in their place, being very fond of gothic novels, especially The Castle of Otranto, I think—in Northanger Abbey (and Pride and Prejudice) she ridicules people for saying they “don’t read novels,” which was evidently the “I only watch PBS” of the day. But she was very definite that monsters didn’t belong in her place – had no part in the reality she was trying to portray in her books.
I see the appeal, I really do. For example, right now I’m imagining Captain Wentworth and the intrepid Anne in a fight to the death with the aforementioned kraken. But mash-ups only work if you’re creating something new, bringing deeper humor or insight to Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, zombies, and sea monsters. And, call me crazy if you like, but I find it hard to imagine anyone bringing deeper humor or insight to Pride and Prejudice than is already there. Zombies, who knows?