Friday, August 28, 2009

Sense & Sensibility & Sea Monsters

I am halfway through an advance copy of Sense & Sensibility & Sea Monsters (one of the perks of working at a bookstore) and have finally realized what is lacking. I did not love P&P&Zombies and I am not loving S&S&Sea Monsters; they are intriguing, based on interesting ideas, but they have not been fully carried out. Both are first drafts of a novel, they have not been taken nearly as far as they should nor have the basic issues of setting and characterization been resolved.

In Austen, etiquette and manners take precedence. What makes an accomplished young lady? Good husband material? When does one go to London for the Season? In adding Zombies and kung-fu or submarines and seamonsters, Winters and Grahame-Smith are changing the very setting of Austen's novels. Therefore, before writing, they should have answered these questions for themselves: what makes an accomplished young woman in a place overrun with zombies? If everyone of high society goes to Submarine Station Beta for the season, what has become of London?

This is not to dismiss the idea of playing with Austen's classics, the idea is very much in vogue with Mr. Darcey: Vampyre coming out August 31st, Vampire Darcey's Desire on December 1st, and P&P&Zombies deluxe edition October 21st (with much better illustrations- see the samples on amazon). However, Austen's writing needs to be complimented by strong ideas and writing, otherwise it will fall into the category of has-been spin-offs. Therefore, I urge Quirk Classics and others to consider what is lacking: editing. S&S&Sea Monsters and P&P&Zombies have the potential to be enjoyable reads, they simply need a good editor to get them there. So, ask those questions, resolve your worlds, and then come back to me- I'll give you another chance.

1 comment:

  1. I tried reading P&P&Zombies. I did, I really, truly did.

    I could not. I mean, I thought "Hey, Austen and Zombies? This will be great!"

    And it wasn't. It read like bad fan fiction. I found the girl's interactions with other members of society to be completely unbelievable for a regency era book. And I was so sad.