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Special Reports


1 April 2009

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Sets Off Publishing Mashup Frenzy

by L. Ron Creepweans

The forthcoming publication of Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has set off a frenzy of publishers snapping up the rights to other literary mashups.

"Previously we just considered 'classics' as these moldy old things we could pawn off on schools and not pay royalties on," said Metrocorp publisher Eduardo Porcine. "However, this mashup thing lets us recycle old books for new readers and only pay half royalties. It's a win-win situation all around."

Shortly after the Austen/Seth Grahame-Smith announcement, Spectral books announced the publication of Henry James and Laurell K. Hamilton's The Portrait of a Lady and Vampires, which the publisher described as being "exactly like the original, but with several hundred additional pages of kinky sex." Due out shortly after that is Charles Dickens and Naomi Novik's A Tale of Two Cities and Four Dragons. And Mary Shelley and Bruce Sterling 's Frankenstein Weather features the original novel interspersed with Sterling's long rants on how Victor Frankenstein's mindset will inevitably lead to global warming, making it indistinguishable from Sterling's  other work.

Other novels scheduled includes Feodor Dostoevsky and Stephen King's Crime and Punishment and Werewolves, George Eliot and Paul Di Filippo's Silas Marner vs. The Lizard Men, Jerome K. Jerome and Connie Willis' Three Men in a Boat and Sea Serpents, Joseph Conrad and John Shirley's The Demons at the Heart of Darkness, and Herman Melville, H. P. Lovecraft, August Derleth and Brian Lumley's Moby Dick vs. Cthulhu. When asked if Moby Dick vs. Cthulhu actually contained any of Lovecraft's prose, the publisher replied "Well, he did coin the word 'Cthulhu.' Plus it's got 'eldritch' and 'ichorous' and 'squamous,' and those are all Lovecraft words."

Publishers are also buying the rights to mashup media crossover novels, with Leo Tolstoy and Jeff VanderMeer's War and Peace and Alien and Predator, which follows a fight between the two monsters in early 19th century Russia, slated for publication in 2010, with James Joyce and Aaron Allston's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Terminator to follow shortly thereafter.

Finally, Creationist Press announced they were getting into the act with The Bible, Now With Added Dinosaur Attacks. "Since the earth is only 6,000 years old, it's obvious that several biblical characters must have fought dinosaurs," said publisher Hubert Dodd, who indicated Noah would fend off repeated plesiosaur attacks, and that Sampson would slay several Tyrannosaurus Rexes with the jawbone of an ass.

"For a long time, publishing overhead has been eaten up by the editorial expenses of preparing text for publication," said Porcine. "Now, thanks to these mashups, half of that expense is going away. We're getting closer to that happy, long-awaited day when the publishing industry can finally eliminate writers."

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