Several months ago, I referred to Max Brooks’ Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks as rubbish in a blog post. It didn’t take long for someone to tell me to lighten up. A week later, one of my All Sides panel colleagues — an esteemed poetry professor — recommended Max Brooks’ Zombie Survival Guide on our live radio show about books. I couldn’t believe it. At that point, I had to laugh at myself and accept the message. Perhaps I do need to lighten up or, at least, see zombie publishing in another light. One person’s rubbish is another person’s treasure. Or good reading.
Zombies marched back into my periphery in a Publisher’s Weekly article a few days ago informing there are 1,050,000 copies of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies in print. That’s phenomenal. It indicates just how much that “good reading” is taking off, and it’s not just happening for zombies.
Quirk Classics, the publisher of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, is doing quite well with its other mash-up, Sense & Sensibilities & Sea Monsters. BTW, mash-ups here refer to the art of mixing pop culture into public domain classics. According to Fine Books & Collections, P&P&Z is comprised of 85 percent original text and 15 percent “bone-crunching zombie mayhem”.
A prequel to P&P&Z — Dawn of the Dreadfuls — is coming this March from Quirk Classics. And if you’d like to move on from zombies, there’s:
- Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter also due out in March from Grand Central publishing. Not a mash-up, it’s original writing about the U.S. President’s side job as a vampire slayer.
- Android Karenina is to be published in June by Quirk Classics, an enhanced edition of the classic love story set in a dystopian world of robots, cyborgs, and interstellar space travel.
Why why why am I writing about this??? I think I’m stunned and also wondering what some of my lit professors back in the 1970s would’ve thought if they’d seen the future of zombies and other creatures lurching into their favored classics. They’re lurching not just within the confined walls of horror fiction anymore, but in the mainstream of bookselling and reader popularity. Yes, the night of the living dead is here to stay. Those zombies are probably lurching their way toward Jane Eyre and Madame Bovary as I blog, but who knows. Emma Bovary just might find death by zombies more pleasant than that wretched poison.