Saturday, March 7, 2009

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that -- aaaiiiieeee....."

It's a scene familiar to all devotees of Jane Austen: an English country home, a fancy dressed ball, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet both present. Suddenly there is a crash of breaking windows, and a famished horde of flesh-eating zombies appears, and starts to devour the assembled guests. Mr Bennet quickly gives the command to his zombie-slaying daughters: "Girls! Pentagram of death!"

Actually, that last part may not be particularly familiar since it comes from a soon-to-be-published book entitled, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. In this new volume, a Californian named Seth Grahame-Smith augments the original text of the Austen classic with new scenes showing the Bennet girls engaged in an entirely different battle than the one between the sexes. But he's not the only one with this general idea. In what seems to be an example of great (if twisted) minds thinking alike, there are several other mash-ups of Austen's heroines and deadly monsters. There is, for example, the online novel Lizzie The Vampire Slayer. And, it was announced last month that Elton John's company Rocket Pictures will soon begin filming Pride and Predator, in which the Austenian protagonists are menaced by a space alien. (The London Times recently had an article looking at this phenomenon.)

We at Accent on Books haven't quite decided how we are going to celebrate the publication of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but we figure attention must be paid since we live in a town famous for, among other things, its annual zombie walk. If you have any ideas we'd love to hear them.

And what would Jane Austen think of all this? I have no doubt she'd be loving it.

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