The relentless march of the mash-ups

We’re getting tired of unfunny adaptations.

pride-prejudice-and-zombies-1April will see the release of Seth Grahame-Smith’s latest novel, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. It’s one of the latest in a long line of books that blend either public domain classic works of literature or historical figures with the fantastic, mash-ups that have boomed in popularity since Grahame-Smith’s debut, Pride And Prejudice And Zombies in 2009.

Recently, we’ve had releases such as Sense And Sensibility And Sea Monsters, Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter, and we’ll have more soon including Android Karenina and the sequel to Zombies, Dawn Of The Dreadfuls. A movie option for the first novel is in the works, involving (bafflingly) Natalie Portman. The lowest common denominator, it would seem, is inexorable in its progression.

It’s not that I’m being precious over the original material. Anyone who has sat through a Jane Austen novel knows that while it can be enjoyable (Emma, for instance, is one of my favourite books), they are often hard work. Likewise, I doubt that the reputation of Britain’s longest-serving monarch or arguably, America’s greatest president will be particularly tarnished by the pens of Grahame-Smith or A E Moorat. Pride And Prejudice And Zombies was successful because it was a fresh concept at a time when the subject matter of zombies was more popular than ever. The fact that it was 85% Austen didn’t really matter as it was a novelty, a one-off. As with anything though, the publishers have caught the scent of blood in the water and swarmed around it, knocking out these novels with alarming alacrity.

You can’t really blame them, they are commercial enterprises after all. It’s just slightly depressing and tedious when this seems to happen on a regular basis, in all forms of entertainment. These books are not particularly funny most of the time, they have no real worth as novels, and add very little to the genre as a whole. They’re just money spinners, and should be treated as such.

For reference, we’ve listed the most prominent mash-ups of the moment below:

PPZquirkPride And Prejudice And Zombies

Author: Seth Grahame-Smith
Publisher: Quirk Classics
Released: 1 April 2009

pride-prejudice-zombies-dawn-dreadfulsPride And Prejudice And Zombies: Dawn Of The Dreadfuls

Author: Steve Hockensmith
Publisher: Quirk Classics
Released: 23 March 2010

sense-sensibility-sea-monstersSense And Sensibility And Sea Monsters

Author: Seth Grahame-Smith
Publisher: Quirk Classics
Released: 15 September 2009

51BpCxrpvlL._SS500_Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter

Author: A E Moorat
Publisher: Hodder
Released: 15 October 2009

41xQMf+SmrL._SS500_Android Karenina

Author: AE Moorat
Publisher: Quirk Classics
Released: 1 June 2010

51kb789pAvL._SS500_Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Author: Seth Grahame-Smith
Publisher: Constable
Released: 29 April 2010