Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Jane Austen and Ben H. Winters

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Jane
Austen and Ben H. Winters.

This novel lampoons Jane Austen by adding extra
chapters and content on sea monsters; death lobsters,
leviathans, man eating clams, minnows,giant octopi, and
Submersible cities abound. Every creature of the
sea is turned homicidally against humanity.

It is better done than the first novel because
it draws from other literature. You can recognize
the influence of Daniel Defoe, H.P. Lovecraft,
Robert Louis Stevenson, and Jules Verne in this
novel. This makes it better than Pride and Prejudice
and Zombies which drew heavily from John Romero films.
This is an article from Slate Magazine about how
Ben H. Winters used classic novels to create the
backdrop for Jane Austen's novel.

The original novel still fits in very well with
the story. It is a story of the Dashwood Sisters
who have a very small inheritance and are seeking
husbands. Because there is very little background
scenery and Jane Austen is almost focused completely
on the families courting, it is easy to change
the setting of the story. Even the characters
can take on changed physical characteristics like
the hideously tentacle faced Captain Brandon.
Everything becomes monsterized.

Because the mashup is much more seemless, it is much
funnier and sillier than Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
In addition to the use of Victorian adventure literature,
there are small puns thrown in; Pierre the Orangutan
is a reference to Pierre Boulle's Planet of the Apes and
the tentacle faced Captain Brandon looks like Davy Jones
from Pirates of the Caribbean.

This novel may be a bit offensive to some people. Some of
the scenes have wild touches added to them; island tiki dances,
rum, and pirates break up some of the more serious scenes.
I liked the novel, but it clearly will make some
people uncomfortable reading it.

The book includes some 20 black and white illustrations
which mostly add to the story.

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