Friday, June 11, 2010

Another Classic Just Got Punked

At first, I thought the idea was fresh, funny, and interesting. As the trend continued, I lost some of that initial attraction. It was the literary equivalent of a pony whose trick I'd already seen. And now, now...well now I'm completely, one hundred percent in *love* with the idea all over again.

One trick or not, who doesn't love ponies?

Her trick is a perfectly coifed mane and tail

I'm speaking, of course, of the new(ish) trend of literary mash-ups. Books that are one half classic, one half paranormal update, blended on high until the finished product is an outlandish creation that may or may not have the original author spinning in his or her respective grave.

Here's hoping Jane Austin had a sense of humor.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, and Jane Slayre are just three popular literary mash-ups. Timeless stories that have been required reading of high school students for decades, mixed with paranormal overtones to suit today's market trends. The one thing all these mash-ups had in common was the introduction of monsters into the familiar plotlines. Until now.

That's right, the literary mash-up has just been punked. Steampunked.

Android Karenina is an update of Leo Tolstoy's classic Anna Karenina, with a healthy dose of robots and cyborgs set in a dystopian world even more fraught than the politically charged Russian society of Tolstoy's original.

Did I mention the steampunk?

Instead of inter-class strife, Android Karenina features a clash between humans and their subservient robotic machines. Enter the cyborgs.

I'm not going to lie, just reading the synopsis got me excited for this story. It's going to be my reward for finishing polishing up my own steampunk manuscript. I think exploring the themes of Tolstoy's original tale against the updated backdrop of humankind's battle against our own machinery is fascinating. I'm also a great lover of anything bearing the descriptor "copper-plated." If this story has airpirates, I'm so going to be hooked.

What do you think? Are you a fan of the literary mash-up, or do you think the classics are better off when left alone. Does steampunk float your boat, or sink it like the Titanic? Will you be reading Android Karenina anytime soon?


  1. I've seen these around but have not read any yet. I'm not sure.

  2. Yes, I will read Android Karenina. I enjoyed the original version and now it has a quirky new spin. Maybe it indicates there's something wrong with my brain, but I like literary mash-ups. A lot.

  3. I haven't read any of the literary mash-ups yet, but my daughter is a fan. I think it's a clever idea and I hear that Tim Burton is making a film about Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. Of course, he's the perfect filmmaker for the job!

  4. Since I'm Jane Austen's #1 fan, I originally thought the paranormal spins on her stories were horrible. But one day I picked up Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, opened to a random page and started reading, and I almost laughed out loud! Now I'm thinking I would like to read it. But it's kind of, well, embarrassing. I guess I'm sort of a literary hypocrite, because I think I will have to go to a library where they don't know me to check it out! LOL!

    Never read any steampunk, but I know there are some really rabid fans out there. The whole concept of taking a story and putting a whole new spin on it is what I do, after all, with fairy tales. So I'm intrigued with all the "mash-ups."

  5. They don't appeal to me at all, but I might re-read Anna Karenina again instead.

    But I'm an old broad, so what do I know about trends.

  6. I haven't read any mash-ups yet, but I like the idea. In fact, I confess I'm a little jealous I didn't think of it first. Anna Karenina is such a downer, though, I don't think I want to revisit it--unless the ending changes. Let me know once you finish it! As for steampunk, I'm a fan. Or at least I liked the only SP book I read--Gail Carriger's.

  7. Thanks for stopping by, everyone! Seems like there is some interest in the literary mash-up, and at least one literary purist :)

    When I get a chance to finish Android Karenina, I'll let you know what I think!