Thursday, October 22, 2009
Even Better With Zombies
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith is just terrific. It's funny but not so overwhelmed by the running zombie joke as to make the story pointless.
I know there's nothing people hate quite so much as a woman getting all feminist political, but, nonetheless, I'm going to go forward and say that the zombie menace seemed to work very well in the context of the original Pride and Prejudice story because in Austen World the hunt for a husband is life and death, much like encounters with zombies. As I once read elsewhere (no idea where), as foolish as Mrs. Bennet is, with her obsession on marrying off her girls, she is also correct. Life without a man will be very grim for her daughters. Yet, once the hunting is done, and an Austen woman is married, life is pretty much over for her. In Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the Bennet daughters, like many other upper class Britons, have all trained in the martial arts in order to fight for the Crown against the zombie menace. They have pledged to serve His Majesty until they "are dead, lame, or married."
And marriage, remember, is the good fate for women.
I wondered if this Pride and Prejudice and zombie mash-up wouldn't bring more readers to Austen. (We like to believe that that this is a classic read by teenagers, but I suspect many of them rent one of the movie versions.) Sure, Austen's portrayal of romance within a rigid world order isn't to everyone's taste. But who doesn't love zombies? Unfortunately, if you're already Austen-adverse, the zombies, no matter how endearing, may not be enough to win you over.
I suggested to my computer guy that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies might be just the trick to get him to finally read...sort of...the Austen classic. He said that zombies didn't do it for him. "Now, if they'd worked it in with Star Trek..."