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The Army of the Undead Has Invaded

April 2, 2009

Zombies AheadPride and Prejudice and Zombies is officially out, even before its elders are married, and the press coverage is pretty overwhelming, so let’s get to it!

Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly gives it an A-.

Indeed, you’ll miss out if you do not, so smartly does young Mr. Grahame-Smith insert himself in the thicket of curlicued manners that is Miss Austen’s real comic theme. He cannibalizes her tale — and then he inserts 
original scenes of tasteful mayhem, as Elizabeth Bennet and her Mr. Darcy, her sisters and Mr. Bingley, her prattling mother Bennet and forbearing papa do their thing. (Dear reader, there are ninjas, too.)

Well, that’s good to hear. We also hear from our bookseller contact, Laurel Ann, that her store sold out of the book just on the strength of that review.

Film School Rejects have an interview with the co-author, Seth Grahame-Smith, which contains some more info about the film version of the book.

Unfortunately, when I asked Seth if he had any more information on the sale of the film rights for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, all he could reveal was that an announcement about which studio has purchased those rights should hit the scene sometime this week (and we will be sure to update you as soon as it does, no worries), as well as an announcement about the first actress to sign on to the project. “I think that the actress that might be announced next week is probably the perfect choice,” Seth told me, apologizing for the ban that kept him from revealing more.

*coughNataliePortmancough* (that’s just a guess)

Metro has an interview as well.

Do you have any plans to rework any other classics?
It’s inevitable that there will be a sequel of sorts, but I think I’ve kicked Jane Austen’s gravestone enough for now.

Cory Doctorow thought the P&P parts dragged a bit. Gee, sorry about that. But the post is worth linking to because it has a link to an exclusive excerpt of the first three chapters of the book, if you want to give it a peek. The comments are also worth a read, despite the usual ignorant bleating of OMG SHE USES OLD ENGLISH AND STUFF IT’S SO HAAAAAAAARRRRRRD and a few sniggering references to Victorian prudery, to which other commenters, heaving a weary virtual sigh, point out that Jane Austen was not a Victorian and how many times do we have to keep saying it? Our favorite comment, however, is from one “IMIPAK” who wrote,

There’s only one literary mashup anyone needs to know, and it’s a single line. “It was half way to Rivendell when the drugs began to take hold.” — Hunter S. Tolkien, “Fear and Loathing in Barad Dur”

Nothing to do with Jane Austen but it made us snort. If you’re still not ready for the excerpt, how about the Lazy Reader’s Guide to P&P&Z?

Brains for Dinner: Did I mention that this book is illustrated? I got bored and flipped ahead to the next picture, which involves zombies eating the kitchen staff. Bingley is sorely disappointed to see that a table spread of fruity desserts has been left covered in blood and brains, unfortunately inedible. Before Elizabeth is able to dispatch the zombies, Mr. Darcy offers to kill them for her by saying “I should never forgive myself if your gown were soiled.” Swoon.

Well, good for Cranky McJerkpants. Lizzy won’t be able to accuse him of behaving in an ungentlemanlike manner now, will she?

Alert Janeite Eileen sent us a link to a report from Don Polec, who is known around Philly as covering the quirkier side of the news.

We’re hearing good things about the book from those who have scored a copy, and today we only spotted one review that was less than positive, in the Washington City Paper.

Thanks to Alert Janeite Elizabeth for the photo, which was scanned from her hometown newspaper; someone hacked into a programmable road sign and had some fun with it. Click on the photo to see it full-size.

Leave a Comment
  1. April 2, 2009 8:39 am

    I am reading the book now and must admit I am enjoying it more than I thought I would. Having said that, Jane’s words have been cannibalized in more ways than one. It’s a good thing that Seth gave Jane Austen writing credit or he might have been accused of zombie- like behavior towards my favorite author.

  2. Allison T. permalink
    April 2, 2009 11:03 am

    I galloped thru P&P&Z and quite enjoyed it, except for some of the brains & guts bits. It’s a one-trick pony, but it’s still funny to see a classic line from the novel with the phrases “ninjas” or “muskets” or “numchucks” added in. And the concept of Lady Catherine being a zombie killer from the Japanese school squaring off with Lizzie, a Chinese master, is very droll.

    You know how so many novels these days include Readers’ Club questions at the end? Be sure to check out the questions at the back of this book, especially the last one:

    “Can you imagine what this novel would be like without the zombies?”

    Too funny!

  3. April 2, 2009 11:42 am

    Finished it yesterday and did enjoy it. It had me giggling many times (some scenes I had to scan thru as I don’t enjoy visualizing skulls crunching as zombies bit thru them to get to the brains … yuck!).

    NOTE that there are references to “his very English parts” and how Darcy’s trousers show them to advantage; Charlotte, Wickham, and Collins meet different ends than Austen created. Oh, and the second proposal scene – and what “gave Darcy hope” – had me laughing out loud. And the double entendre of “balls” get a few eyebrow raising moments … READ IT!!

  4. Sue permalink
    April 2, 2009 3:04 pm

    That excerpt is priceless. I can’t believe I’m going to buy this book.

  5. Fine-eyed Elizabeth permalink
    April 2, 2009 4:52 pm

    I’m going to have to get this for my boyfriend, lol.

  6. Elsie permalink
    April 3, 2009 10:27 am

    Oh my God! well, this is a free blog, free expression, my point of view: I refuse to have anything to do with the zombies!
    I’m going to buy Pemberley Manor =)

  7. Sandra_in_the_US permalink
    April 3, 2009 11:48 am

    The first three chapters are kinda hilarious; I think I’m going to have ask my local library to buy this. :D

  8. Maeri permalink
    April 3, 2009 5:01 pm

    Well trying to look at it objectively, I doubt the book will have much of an effect in say, twenty years time. It’s a relatively bizarre idea, but I suppose original plots for stories seem to have disappeared, hence the practical ravishing ( I have to use that word) of a great author’s work. I thought he managed to work in the zombies pretty effectively, but it was still a little surreal, seeing them in the genteel world of P and P. Of course with the zombies, the book loses its point entirely ( which is character development, so anyone who has not read P and P before will not really learn much. Still it’s quite funny, so those who like it can go ahead and enjoy it to their heart’s content, let me not be the first to cast a stone. To the others, you’ll just have to get used to it, I foresee more mashups of classic literature headed our way. Maybe over the years the pain will lessen?
    Have a great day everyone and sorry for the long post!

  9. Sandra_in_the_US permalink
    April 8, 2009 2:45 pm

    The BBC has an interview as well. Not really anything new, but he is, for the most part,properly respectful of Austen’s talent.

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