Look, credit where credit's due: when Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
was first announced, it was at least a clever idea. You might not actually have wanted to read
the book (I certainly didn't), but you could at least forward the press release to friends for mild laffs. So fine--I don't begrudge the originator of that idea his initial success.
But then...the publisher--and other publishers hoping to get in on some easy cash--just. Wouldn't. Stop. And this is where things get ugly. Here is a list of ACTUAL FUCKING BOOKS that you can ACTUALLY FUCKING BUY, assuming you're an ACTUAL FUCKING JACKASS:
Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters
Mansfield Park and Mummies
Emma and the Werewolves
The Undead World of Oz
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Zombie Jim
Alice in Zombieland
Little Women and Werewolves
Romeo and Juliet and Vampires
The War of the Worlds Plus Blood, Guts and Zombies (talk about gilding the lily...)
Now, as a postmodernist, I can only complain so much about the concept. I think it's a pretty terrible one, yes, but hey--pastiche is a major characteristic of the moment, and if someone has a serious artistic Vision that involves mashing together literary texts with gothic horror tropes--well, who am I to naysay?
But that's really beside the point, isn't it? Because who thinks that's what's going on here? All these books
were published within a year and a half of P&P&Z in a desperate and cynical cash-grab.
Now granted, we need to keep thing in perspective; as depredations of capitalism go, this is penny-ante stuff compared to oil spills and for-profit health insurance.
BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN IT DOESN'T ANNOY THE FUCK OUT OF ME. Because it is transparently obvious that this isn't done out of respect, let alone love: all of this is suffused with thick layers of self-satisfied irony. "Ha ha, look at me, look at how clever I am, doing this thing that has been done over and over and over; isn't it so totally crazy and random?" The entire enterprise is choked with a thick miasma of nauseous, sickly-green smugness. As in: "we're so cool and detached and ironic. We don't take anything seriously, and in fact don't even recognize a difference between serious and not. Look--a classic thing, but now with a hilarious undead twist! It's funny because it's so antithetical to the original in every way!" And, of course, all this done in the most relentlessly witless way possible. That Huckleberry Finn one has a subtitle, and that subtitle is: "Mark Twain's Classic with Crazy Zombie Goodness." If that doesn't make you want to engage in some vigorous throat-punching…well, you and I are very different people, is all I'll say.
In short, the authors of this idiocy are drunken fratboys who think it's hilarious to buy a dragon fruit at Ten PM on a Friday.
And so are the readers, for that matter, assuming there ARE any readers. My god, how scrambled in the head do you have to BE to need all your literature filtered through a layer of weak internet-meme-level humor? And Jesus Christ, Anna Karenina?
The mind reels just thinking of the level of devotion to one's self-image as self-consciously-jaded hipster that one would need to have to actually get all the way through a HIGH-larious remixed version of a thick Russian novel. I mean, you're sure not impressing anyone ELSE, so you'd sure as hell better be impressing YOURSELF. And you CANNOT convince me that you're NOT reading ironically, because I refuse to believe that anyone would unironically think that Tolstoy's masterpiece would benefit from stupid, bolted-on science-fiction elements.
I'm just glad that most of my preferred literature is safely within copyright. V. Vs. Vampires
would result in a truly spectacular display of violence. Though given the postmodern's eager embrace of "low" culture, such a thing would probably just be redundant anyway.
To end on a less jaundiced note, if you clicked on the above link, you were exposed to Subnormality,
which is the best webcomic I know (which is to say, the best (current) comic
I know) by some margin. Most provide fleeting amusement at most, but this one is, to put it as clearly as I can, the real shit. You should read it assiduously.