Thursday, September 03, 2009

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies -- like a bad cover to a classic

When I first heard of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies I thought it was a joke.
Because I was going on vacation and looking to read something light while sunbathing, I actually bought the book. For a laugh.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is one of my favorite books of all times. Yes, I know some consider it the Harlequin romance of the time, but I absolutely love that book. So I was ready for a funny parody of sorts, but boy was I was disappointed.

The book is nearly verbatim the original, plus the occasional paragraph or sentence mentioning the zombies or describing the fights against them. While for a second there I thought it was the unfortunate result of some misguided feminist trying to empower the women in the book, I was soon greatly disappointed as not only were they not empowered, the great powers they actually possessed in the original book were fully lost.

It then took me no time to realize the author is male, which was of course confirmed when I checked the cover. Seth something. He actually had the nerve to write by Jane Austen and Seth something. How can someone be so arrogant as to think he can put his name next to hers? He really think himself her equal? I assure you, he's not.

The addition of the zombies was not funny, the "fights" and martial arts references were quite boring (despite the fact that I am a martial art practitioner and love action in films and books) and the relationships, in fact the whole story was made flat.

I know Pride and Prejudice is public domain, but does it really give anyone the right to bastardize it so? Should we allow such work? And to think this was actually a New York Times bestseller just really irks me. How? How is that guy allowed to make a fortune on the back of a work he didn't write? What's next? Romeo and Juliet and Aliens? War and Peace and Elmos?

[To be clear, I very much enjoyed Bridget Jones (although they have stopped with the first one). Yes, it was a remake, but it wasn't verbatim and it was just fitting.]