Okay, if you’ve been following this site for any length of time, you know of my fascination with the undead, from fictional efforts such as World War Z and Zombieland to actual historical situations such as the Jewett City Vampires (where it was actually believed that the deceased were raising up from the graves during the night to infect the living). As such, it may not come as a surprise to you that I’ve currently been reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
First off, let me say — no spoilers here, partially because you can’t “spoil” a 200-year-old story but also because I’ve never read (nor even seen a film version) of the original Pride and Prejudice. I know: It’s a shock that the works of Jane Austen are not anything I’ve ever particularly sought out to read — just something about 18th-century romantic English literature that never appealed to a boy interested in sports, girls and the unexplained. (Who’d a thunk it, right?) For the record, I bought the book for my wife for Christmas (I’m good like that) and since it’s been laying around (untouched) for a few months, I picked it up. And have enjoyed it more than I thought I would.
Anyway, if you couldn’t tell by the title, author Seth Grahame-Smith takes Jane Austen’s original classic and deftly infuses it with zombies, transforming England into a haven for the undead while turning iconic heroine Elizabeth Bennet into a proper martial arts-trained zombie-killing warrior. Again, never having read the original Pride and Prejudice, I don’t know how close it stays to the actual plot — I recently saw a story on NPR which suggested it’s still 85 percent Austen’s work — but it definitely seems to have the appropriate characters, spirit and feel. And zombies, which makes it more interesting and humorous, not to mention a best-seller.
It also is going to be a 2011 movie starring Natalie Portman as Elizabeth Bennet, which is just another reason why I will probably shell out money to see it in the theater.
Of course, since it was a bestseller, it spawned a sequel of sorts: Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. Same publisher and still primarily the work of Ms. Austen, but this time Ben H. Winters warps the classic tale. It seems as though it was okay, but like many “sequels,” didn’t quite live up to the original.
As for Mr. Grahame-Smith, he’s been busy in the “twisting” genre, most recently penning this gem — (Oh, and when did trailers come out for books?!!)
That’s right, Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. I mean, really, what more could you want? It’s next on my summer-reading list. Not surprisingly, Tim Burton has already attached himself to the big screen adaptation of this one.
Should be fun!