Tuesday, November 09, 2010

A Growing Pop Culture Trend In New Novels That Is Slowly Eating My Soul

I was at my local bookstore a few days ago to pick up a gift, and since it was a book store, my natural instinct was to wander the aisles to see if there was anything new in stock that would beg me to purchase it (or at least, make me wish I could justify plunking down the cash for an assortment of appealing titles). In my book gawking tour, I came across a rather disturbing trend in current novels, which is quickly becoming my new pet peeve and making me eagerly look forward to its inevitable demise.

It is what I call the supernatural invasion of classical or historical fiction.

I outright admit that I haven't read any of these works. I can not honestly say that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter, and Henry VIII: Wolfman are bad works of fiction. I can assume they are awful. I can cringe when I look at the covers. I can grow exceedingly tired of this fad. I can shake my head in shame that these are not works produced by one person, but actually by a few writers. But I can't actually say that they are bad, because I haven't read them. At this point, my desire to read these mash ups are incredibly low -- about five step below getting my back waxed and lathering my entire body with heavy duty industrial cleaning supplies. So, there is a good chance that I'll never read the works, unless someone whose taste I respect actually recommends them.

Now, when Pride and Prejudice and Zombies first came out, I definitely shook my head and held to the belief I'd likely never pay money for that particular story. But I did give credit to the man for being creative, and even more importantly, actually being able to convince a publisher to make the book a reality. Unfortunately, it then became a best seller. This meant that publishers would be looking for more of these mash ups, and pound this idea into a fine paste. This concept most definitely will run its course eventually, and I actually thought it would be over already, but they seem to still be churning out sequels or other variations. Though publishers do churn out crap long after the public isn't interested anymore, and so I can only hope that this fad is almost at the decomposing stage (and doesn't contiually haunt long after its death), and the publishers just need to be notified by lack of book sales.

It is the classical literature mash ups that particularly annoy me. Because over half of it isn't even written by the current author, but it is mostly written by the long deceased classical literature writer. Essentially, the writer is just hacking away at a revered work of fiction and occasionaly inserts snippets about zombies chowing away at some brains. To me, it kind of comes off as something you would find on some fan site or forum. Yet here is a guy that is actually being paid for tossing out some silly sentences about monsters amidst a bon fide work of art. On the other hand, the historical fiction pieces are rather annoying too, but at least they are entirely written by the author rather than just about 25% of the book.

Of course, there is chance these works are brilliant. Surprisingly enough, they haven't been too harshly panned by critics. At this point, I'd rather just see them go away. There is too many talented writers and wonderful works of fiction that are struggling to find an audience (or even a publisher), that I'd much rather fads and hacks go back to the annexes of the internet.

Anyone out there think I'm being a snob and not giving these fictional pieces a fair shot?

6 comments:

  1. Anonymous5:31 pm

    Tiffany Million via Facebook:

    Gotta say it...I think you should read one. It's highly unlike you to diss something without giving it a shot first. I bought Pride and Prejuice and Zombies thinking that these books are a great way to get people to read parts of a classic book they would otherwise never have read any of. In retrospect, I was a little disappointed, but I have to admit it did make me want to go back and reread the original. That same book was also read by someone who had never read the original and he commented it would be interesting to now read it and see the differences. If all these books do are draw attention to classic literature that is rarely touched by anyone other than English majors, then I still they are worth it and I'll fend for them. All that to say, read it before you diss it. Miss you Chris.

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  2. Anonymous5:32 pm

    Brandon Oliver via Facebook:

    The graphic novel version is also quite good :)

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  3. My problem isn't "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies' per say, but rather, the current trend of unpublished authors writing these mash ups because publishers realized they are selling right now. If these novels actually encourage someone to check out classics rather than just being dust collectors beside their Batman collectibles on their book shelf, then I will be first to admit to their value. My problem is more due to the fact these hack jobs are taking space and attention away from talented and creative writers who produce original works.

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  4. Anonymous10:46 am

    Brandon Oliver via Facebook:

    I can see where that would be, there are a lot of them now. And it's not really making me want to read the original Pride and Prejudice, I'm only there for the zombies.

    I do somewhat resent the Batman collectibles comment ;).

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  5. For the record, I love Batman. I've got comics that stretch back to the 80s. But I also still stand by my comment ;).

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  6. Anonymous1:09 pm

    Brandon Oliver via Facebook:

    I figured ;)

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