Saturday, May 22, 2010

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

The most effective way you could get me to read Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice would be to modify it to better appeal to my interests. Maybe if the setting were moved from 19th century England to space... and add aliens and space battles. Or, as Seth Grahame-Smith has done with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, you could make most of the major characters (e.g., the Bennet Sisters, Mr. Darcy) masters of the "deadly arts" (Chinese martial arts for the Bennet sisters and Japanese for Mr. Darcy) and add "ultraviolent zombie mayhem".

Most of the original novel is intact (hence Jane Austin is listed as the first author): Mrs. Bennet is still trying to get her daughters married off and Mr. Darcy still comes off as arrogant jerk until the last half of the book. Now, though, the British isles are overrun by the undead, who are hungry for human flesh. The Bennet Sisters' frequent visits to Netherfield are occasionally interrupted by skirmishes with zombie hordes, the ball in which the Bennet Sisters first meet Mr. Darcy and a dinner at Netherfield are interrupted by zombie massacres, and Elizabeth's friend, Charlotte Lucas, spends much of the book slowly being zombified while her husband, Cousin Collins, remains blissfully unaware.

Although I enjoyed the book, I'm not entirely certain what audience it was written for. I don't see most readers of Austin as the kind that would enjoy the addition of zombies and martial arts. And most who want to read about ninjas and the undead probably don't want to read anything by Jane Austin. There's not enough zombie content added to make someone who would dislike Pride and Prejudice enjoy Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Since I can enjoy both classical literature as well as offbeat sci-fi and fantasy (I prefer the latter), an oddity like this book works perfectly well for me. I would have liked to see Grahame-Smith add some sort of climactic zombie siege of Longbourn, though. I wouldn't have thought there were enough people out there with similar tastes to put this book on the New York Times bestseller list. 

1 comment:

  1. I actually LOVE Jane Austin novels and I really enjoyed this book as well! I plan on reading Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters as well! I think you would be surprised by some of us "Austin fans". We are not all so conservative as one would believe! This book wasn't the greatest, but I enjoyed it and suggested it to some friends.



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