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June 15th, 2009

Once again, I have been MIA for several weeks. I blame some hairy computer problems, which have started in Feb, and continue to morph in unexpected ways and move around the home network.

And the graduation from High School of #1 son, combined with the 16th birthday of #2 son. More on those events later.

But along with this, I have been trying to catch up on my reading. And awhile back, I heard about the release of a book combining two of my favorite things (Jane Austen, and zombies) and immediately scammed myself a free copy.

Not much of a scam, really. They were giving them away to anyone. But I consider myself an authority in this field, since I:

#1. Make my living ripping off Jame Austen.
#2. Read Seth Grahame-Smith’s first book “How to Survive a Horror Movie”

I enjoyed that other book. So I really wanted to like P&P&Z. I promised myself that I would not go off on it, like some historical romance novelist with a Jones for Darcy and a stickler for historical accuracy.

People do that to me in reviews. It is annoying. I swear to God, folks, I try to get the details right. But I always screw up something. And in many cases, the people with complaints about my research are just as wrong as I am, but over different things. As an author, and a ‘lady’, I have to accept criticism graciously, and say nothing.

I once said, online, that I want to avoid the bad karma of reviewing someone else. and was promptly jumped on by someone who felt that the use of ‘bad karma’ was a sign that I hated reviewers.

Sigh. I cannot win.

Not what I meant at all. What I meant was, I don’t want to let my tenderness over reviews of me, turn into a desire for pay back and cause me to tear a strip off of another author, when they screw up.

Anyway. On the other side of this long ramble, and partial disclaimer, I am putting my review of P&P&Z. And I am reviewing it not as a romance author, but as a horror fan and zombie buff.

It sucked. Sorry. but it did. I really admire the balls of an author who will cut and paste a zombie plot into Pride and Prejudice. It is a unique idea. And it makes me giggle.

But if you are going to mix your story into a classic, while leaving most of the classic intact, you had better make a passing effort to write up to the level of the original. And while the language mostly blends, the zombie story doesn’t make the grade. For me, the joke wore off quickly. and as a person who owns and has watched all of the “Killer Tomatoes” movie tetralogy, I have pretty low standards.

My problems with this book:

Darcy makes jokes about balls. At least three of them. Sorry. He just WOULD NOT DO THIS. But this is a romance quibble. Feel free to ignore.

Lizzy is a Shaolin warrior. OK. I will accept that. It is part of the conceit. But she uses a katana and practices in a dojo? And thinks about a “Zatoichi sword”?

What the hell?

The author sets up a rivalry between Japanese and Chinese martial arts, and makes Lizzy and her sisters into Ninja killing, kung fu machines. And then throws a pile of Japanese words into the mix. And has Lizzy eating the heart of an enemy. Which, if I have heard the history correctly, is a Japanese thing, not a Chinese one.

Note to author:

#1 Get a map.
#2 Get a dictionary.
#3 Use them.

Or at least watch as many martial arts films as I have. And since I am a rather dumpy, 48 year old house wife and mother, I should not have to lecture some smart young man on his ninja/kung fu street cred.

And Japanese fish in a pond are koi. Not coy. Unless they are extremely shy fish. But I do not think this is what you meant.

And describing perspiration as “exercise moisture”? WHAT ARE YOU SMOKING? People have been sweating since middle English. And perspiring. If feel you must talk about it, you can use those words. Making up your own terms?

That is considerably more weird to me than cutting herds of zombies into a Jane Austen novel.

Also, why, if this plague of zombies is 55 years old, are there still corpses coming out of the ground? Figuring a normal rate of decomposition, there should be no corpses left. Or England should have been totally overrun by now. But since they seem to be holding their own against the zombie menace, I would think that rising dead would no longer be a problem.

And why is everyone training in Asia, anyway? And why does Pemberly, in the P&P&Z universe, look like a Kyoto castle. Why not an English one? In the excellent book “World War Z” (by Mel Brooks’s son, Max Brooks) the English manage to defend themselves from Zombies using ENGLISH CASTLES.

They have those over there. And from what I understand of history, are usually pretty good at defending their own island.

Jesus wept. Grahame-Smith, you didn’t write this much of the book. It is 85% original Jane Austen. Your part is a frickin’ short story. Hold up your end of the work.

That said?

Way to go, Quirk Books!

I decorate for Halloween. And the production values on this book are gorgeous. Rich looking cover. Nice illustrations. A study guide in the back that made me laugh much harder than the rest of the story. I was kicking myself for the accidental dogear I gave to the front cover, because in September and October, this cries out to be a coffee table book at Casa dos quesos.

And then, I got this e-mail from the publisher.

“…we thought you’d want to know that Quirk will be publishing a hardcover, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Deluxe Heirloom Edition.

http://irreference.com/pride-and-prejudice-and-zombies-deluxe-heirloom-edition/

This new version will feature all new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem as well as 13 full-color illustrations depicting PPZ’s most memorable moments. The book is currently available for pre-order (see above link) and will be in stores in November 2009.”

Damn. I am going to get it. I can’t help myself. And there will be an announcement of another monster mash up, in July. So. More books like this.

Which I will buy as props. But not read.

I am such a sucker.