Fighting with the Sky

Vamps Take Austen

Posted on: September 13, 2009

sense-sensibility-sea-monstersWhen Pride and Prejudice and Zombies came out, I thought it was funny.  It was kind of amusing that they were working zombies into the classic story.  But I think it’s gotten a little out of hand.

There is now Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, which is along the same lines as P&P and Zombies, the classic story with chapters of sea monsters written in.  But you can also get Mr. Darcy, Vampyre by Amanda Grange which starts when Pride and Prejudice ends and makes Mr. Darcy a vampire.  Jane Bites Back by Michael Thomas Ford is going to be released this winter/spring and is the first book in a trilogy about Jane Austen living in modern times as a vampire.  Finally, there is Darcy’s Hunger by Regina Jeffers which is vampire re-telling of Pride and Prejudice.

What is with adding vampires, zombies, and other supernatural stuff?  I understand the appeal of vampires, I really do.  I really like some vampire books/shows/movies (if you haven’t noticed).  But I don’t understand the need to rewrite classics to include vampires.  Did people run out of ideas?

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3 Responses to "Vamps Take Austen"

I really liked Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but the reason why it was so appealing is that it was something that was never done before. Now with these new books they are just milking the franchise now.

What I find so interesting/worrisome about these Austen rewrites is that her books have become the Cultural Capital equivalent of Romance with a capital R. As if every (heterosexual) woman is searching for her Colin-Firth-as-Mr.-Darcy. It sets up really limiting ideas of love and totally ignores the historical situation Austen was writing from. As if looking at the period costumes and the chivalrous men will make me wish I lived in 1800 and my mother was trying to marry me off to any man who walked by.

What I liked about P&P&Z was that it made the whole marriage scenario ridiculous again– I mean, why were these women spending so much time looking for husbands when there were zombies after them? Much of Austen’s point in writing originally was to poke fun at this marriage market scenario. But with more and more remakes, I think we’re losing that and returning to our society’s current romanticizing of Austen’s world.

When someone has a clever and insightful idea, it’s always easier to do something derivative rather than trying to come up with your OWN clever and insightful idea. Along the same lines, I confess I’m a little nervous to have just published a vampire book that I truly feel is original and meaningful, at a time when readers are struggling to separate the wheat from the chaff. Or, to put it in vampiric terms, the blood from the tomato juice.

A book on dating vampires (which is what mine is) could potentially be nothing but a collection of easy jokes and bad puns. I’m hoping enough people will crack it open and find worthwhile the observations on psychology, gender relations, self-image, creative living, etc.!

–Diana Laurence (www.howtocatchandkeepavampire.com)

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