Last week a quirky little book from Quirk Books made the literary radar for several reasons. First, its entire concept is cheeky in the extreme: "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies," authors Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith, is a mashup of the venerable Austen's most famous novel and the fevered scribblings of a modern creative (really, Grahame-Smith is too inventive to be called a hack!). Here is the author bio: "JANE AUSTEN is the author of ‘Sense and Sensibility,' ‘Persusasion,' ‘Mansfield Park,' and other masterpieces of English literature. SETH GRAHAME-SMITH once took a class in English literature. He lives in Los Angeles."

 

Second, the book was sent out to several dozen book bloggers with an even cheekier letter that began "Hey blogger friends" and included the line "If you don't abide by these conditions, we will never work together again." While Quirk Books PR Melissa Monachello has apologized for the letter, posting on two blogs that "I just wanted to say that I'm sorry to have offended so many of you with my letter. I realize now that it came off as condescending, but it was actually meant to be tongue-in-cheek. Clearly, that tone was lost. There are good explanations for the other complaints, such as why we had the embargo, and I also understand your concerns with fair use. The way I discussed the embargo and excerpt practices in the letter came off all wrong. I sincerely respect and value what bloggers have done for the book publishing world in general and in particular -- with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Without independent blogs and bloggers, our book would not have been such a success. I hope you can all accept my apology. It won't happen again. And please, know that in no way was Seth involved in any of this.," the tone of her letter touched a nerve on Twitter and has gotten bloggers talking about how pitch letters and releases should be structured. (Full disclosure: I blogged about that here and here.)

 

Third, and by far the most significant development, around April 10, Grahame-Smith signed a deal with Grand Central Press to write "Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter" for an advance of about half-a-million dollars.

 

Did I just type half-a-million dollars? For a book skewering one of our greatest presidents as a vampire hunter?

 

Yes, I did. Because what really matters here is not Grahame-Smith's new book contract or anything his publisher did right or wrong; what really matters is that Grahame-Smith hit the market at a perfect moment. There's been just enough Austeniana ("The Jane Austen Book Club," "Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict," last year's PBS The Complete Jane Austen television series) to foster a backlash, and just enough sustained interest in zombies (2006's "World War Z" by Max Brooks, the movie "Shawn of the Dead" ) plus continued fascination with the mashup concept to make "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" the kind of silly fun that gives everyone - Austenites, zombie freaks, pop culture fans, serial readers, and more - a lighthearted, inexpensive, yet inventive fad to follow.

Message Edited by Bethanne on 04-15-2009 02:26 PM
Comments
by on ‎04-15-2009 04:09 PM
I for one can't wait to read this book.  I have been excited about it since I heard Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me on NPR making fun of the book title and plot line.
by debbook on ‎04-15-2009 04:39 PM
I read the first 4 chapters free on my kindle- not that good at all. I don't think it lives up to the hype
by Blogger L_Monty on ‎04-15-2009 07:58 PM

Did I just type half-a-million dollars? For a book skewering one of our greatest presidents as a vampire hunter?

 

No, no, no. That doesn't make any sense at all.

 

Lincoln would be skewering the vampires. Through the heart. That's how you make them die. Geee-uh-eez, Bethanne! I really hate to say this, but it sounds like this could be the book for you, because I don't think you know the first thing about vampires.

 

Unlike me, who has killed at least one. Although he could have been a drifter. He did have a lot of empty bottles of T-Bird.

 

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is, aim wood through the heart or take off the head.

by on ‎04-15-2009 11:15 PM

Lincoln as a vampire hunter makes sense in a way.  He could hide stakes and holy water under his hat.  A ring of garlic cloves and a crucifix around his neck would be hidden by his beard.  As tall as he was he would be able to overpower most vampires, who tend to be a little on the short side.  At least the ones I know are.  Besides him a Buffy would make a sexy couple.

by Blogger L_Monty on ‎04-16-2009 04:04 AM

Ryan,

 

If you're going to go all fan-fiction on me (and, come on, you just did), you could at least go political and personal and say Abe and Spike. Buffy? Seriously? You gotta be kidding me. 

by on ‎04-16-2009 10:28 AM
I thought about Abe and Spike but I don't think it would work out very well, due to Spikes fangs.  Now that you mention it though a little affair with Xander behind Buffy's back would make things interesting.  As we all know Xander already has a thing for older men, remember Dracula.  Now that relationship I could see going places.  Besides it will be the right push for Buffy to give Spike another chance.
About Unabashedly Bookish: The BN Community Blog
Unabashedly Bookish features new articles every day from the Book Clubs staff, guest authors, and friends on hot topics in the world of books, language, writing, and publishing. From trends in the publishing business to updates on genre fiction fan communities, from fun lessons on grammar to reflections on literature in our personal lives, this blog is the best source for your daily dose of all things bookish.

Advertisement

Categories