February 13, 2009

Pride and Prejudice…And Zombies

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You can’t make a story like this up. In fact, you really can’t introduce it. So here it is: “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”, a novel scheduled for release in June 2009.

While there is scant information on the novel, author (or is it co-author?) Seth Grahame-Smith estimates that 85 percent of the book is the original Jane Austen text of “Pride and Prejudice”, with the other 15 percent being the zombie storyline. This text-hybrid turns the five Bennet sisters into zombie slayers and Mr. Darcy as a ninja expert, as they attempt to vanquish the zombies that have risen up in their village as the result of a plague.

The novel is being released by the aptly named publishing company, Quirk Books. They have given away the opening line, which may give a sense of the book’s flavor: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”

It takes a certain amount of ingenuity and flippancy to create a text like this, and Grahame-Greene certainly has both. “It quickly became obvious that Jane [Austen] had laid down the blueprint for a zombie novel,” he said. “Why else in the original should a regiment arrive on Lizzie Bennet’s doorstep when they should have been off fighting Napoleon? It was to protect the family from an invasion of brain-eaters, obviously.”

“I hated her when I was forced to read Austen in school, but when I started rereading I realised she was a brutal, but very funny, satirist. I can only aspire to be as mean-spirited as she could be.”

Mr. Grahame-Smith’s other books include “How to Survive a Horror Movie”, “The Big Book of Porn”, and “Pardon My President: Fold-and-Mail Apologies for 8 Years of George W. Bush.” If these titles show anything, it is that he is daring and willing to stick his writing toes in more than one pond.

Various sources are reporting that Hollywood studios are already bidding on the movie. What studios those are, I was not able to discover. But it is certainly conceivable that Mr. Grahame-Smith, a film and television writer/producer, intends for it to be turned into a movie.

Does all this information make you laugh or groan? I confess that the sheer audacity of the idea leaves me caught between the two extremes, asking “Why?” and then seconds later, “Why not?”

What think you?