Wednesday, June 27, 2012

It was a graveyard smash...

Thought I would point everyone to another Examiner article that I published at the end of last week.  It was about the release of 'Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter', and has a slideshow of a few other books that have come out in the past few years that are a part of this new genre of taking a classic story (in Lincoln's case, a true story) and adding in a monster or two.  So you end up with 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies' and 'Little Women and Werewolves'.

Honestly, I have mixed feelings about this new subgenre.  On the one hand, I can't really begrudge anything that gets people reading the fabulous words of Austen and Alcott, even if they are sprinkled amongst the words of another author.  Taking books from syllabus must-reads to bestseller want-to-reads is always worthwhile.

But on the other hand, my self-righteous side doesn't like how these iconic authors are so often used as a shortcut to recognition and boosted sales.  An entirely original novel mixing an 18th-century tale of courtship with the eating of brains might make a blip on the literary radar for sheer inventiveness.  But toss in a little Jane, and suddenly reviewers are clamoring to give their take on your newest release.

To defy biology and take a third hand, it isn't as though this isn't a tried and true methodology.  People have been writing 'sequels' to Austen novels for quite a while, and outside of books, TV and film producers have been putting their own stamp and reaping their own profits from the seeds of someone else's genius with adaptations of many varieties.  When they're done poorly, I sulk with a sense of superiority as is the right of everyone who 'read it first'.  But when they're done well, I love them.

So I suppose I'm still ambiguous about it all.  I have to admire the creativity of turning a President into a supernatural slayer, but for the most part monster horror just isn't my thing.  So I'll leave fans to enjoy it and try and keep my teacherly tutting to a minimum.

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