Friday Fun: Jane Austen + Sea Monsters = WIN!

Nov 06 2009 Published by under friday fun

Bookgasm has a very fun guest post by Ben H. Winters, author of the recently published Jane Austen pastiche/adaptation/expansion Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters.

Since writing SENSE AND SENSIBILITY AND SEA MONSTERS, I've gotten a ton of feedback about how nice it is that I've made Jane Austen appealing to certain readers -- meaning readers who previously suffered a persistent allergy to The Classics. I am complimented for taking the prim and decorous Jane Austen and making her a) really violent, and b) really funny.

The first compliment I will gladly accept. Over the decades since SENSE AND SENSIBILITY first appeared, it has been noted by scholars and casual readers alike that the book is sorely lacking in shipwrecks, shark attacks and vividly described decapitations. I believe it was the poet and critic Thomas Chatterton who admired the novel's careful plotting and social critique, but lamented the total absence of vengeful ghost pirates.

Sounds pretty funny to me!

I do have a copy kicking around the house of the previous one of these Austen reworkings, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It's pretty amusing, but not exactly the kind of thing where you actually need to read the whole book. I expect the Sea Monster one is similar. And if you head to the Amazon page, you'll note that these reworkings of public domain texts are rising from the dead faster than, well, zombies. War of the Worlds, Wizard of Oz and Huckleberry Finn seem to be just the tip of the iceberg. The P&P&Z people seem to have created a monster.

5 responses so far

  • chris says:

    I'm getting S&S&SM for my birthday next week, and I can't wait. I've never read any Austen, but this seems as good a way to do it as any other. I also put the Huck Finn one on my wish list for Christmas. How can you go wrong with a title like Huckleberry Finn and Zombie Jim? And I have actually read the original for this one.

  • Heather says:

    I'm not sure what adaptation of the Wizard of Oz you were referring to, but Wicked by Gregory Macguire is an incredible look at the story from the Wicked Witch of the West's point of view. It's long, and you'll want to read the whole thing, but you'll never think of the "I'm melting" scene the same way again.

  • John Dupuis says:

    Chris, you'll have to let us all know how it is -- the Huck Finn one too. Personally, the War of the Worlds is one of my favourite books, so I might check that one out too.

  • John Dupuis says:

    Heather, thanks. I have read Wicked, although many years ago, and enjoyed it quite a bit. I haven't gotten around to the sequels yet, though.

    As for the WofOz adaptation I saw: The Undead World of Oz: L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Complete with Zombies and Monsters.

    Could be pretty bad, actually: "It's up to Dorothy, Toto, the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion and the Tin Woodman to journey through this dangerous land of hungry undead and savage monsters and find him in the hopes of bringing life back to Oz. Come join hands with them as they travel down the Yellow Brick Road and see if you can make it to the Emerald City . . . alive."

  • chris says:

    I'll be happy to give a review, but I won't get it until Thursday, and I have to finish the Philip K. Dick book and the Harlen Coben book I have checked out from the library first.

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