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.]


rdl said...

eewhhww, ugh. too bad you didn't leave it in the bookstore.

Anonymous said...

It's funny how spoofs are often worse than the original... folk think they're being funny, and they're not. I read a Star Trek one once, which was very disappointing.

(I wrote a Jane Austen style letter recently, though not really to raise a laugh except on my own account... I don't think it worked, regardless!)

A few years ago, someone bought me 'Bored of the Rings', and I wish they hadn't, as I was making a point of turning my back on it every time I saw it!

Oh well...

Julie Dao said...

I found your blog while searching for blogs about writing, and I have to say I 100% agree with what you've said about this book! I am a huge Jane Austen fan and have read all of her work, but hold "Pride and Prejudice" above all the rest. I can't believe someone would mock her work like this. I haven't read the book yet and don't really intend to, so I don't know whether he was trying to be tongue-in-cheek or clever or anything, but I think it's disrespectful. What's next, "Great Expectations and Zombies?"

Crash said...

I did see this book in My near by bookstore and a few of the staff recommended. Reminds me a bit of Bored Of The Rings. That is just not a good book, and I honestly think I could do better myself.

Ive never read Pride and Prejudice but yes, I agree spoofs are not good. If you are going to do it, make it clever, not dumbass 'hurhurs'.

Erin said...

I'm just starting a blog and everyday i'm going to sit and free write for 20 minutes from random prompts. I think it will be a fun experiment and interesting to see what people have to say about my writing. I just came across this blog and thought i should spread the word. Everyone should put their thoughts and stories down in writing :)

Pallav said...

Great write up!

zz said...

Hi Melly,

Just stumbled across your blog and i'm glad I did! I agree with you, it really annoys me when I read stupid, poorly written books that are successful because they capitalised on a "cute" idea. Stupid (probably rich) Seth Whatsitsname.


Tahlia said...

I wonder how bad books come to be published when there are authors out there with good books trying to get published.

Draven Ames said...

While I haven't read the book, from the way you describe it I wouldn't like it. Could you imagine having your work plagiarized like that? No way! Anyway, I love your blog. When I get my book published, I'd love you to review it. I like honest people, it will only help promote it.