A friend e-mailed me the other day asking, among other things, whether I’d read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I replied that I hadn’t and that, in fact, I doubted I would, because I am furious that I didn’t think of the idea myself. I mean, come on; it’s been staring us all in the face this whole time, and Seth Grahame-Smith comes along and whips something up, and there it is.
Shortly after the release of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, once I’d recovered from the slavering fit of rage into which I had been thrown, I thought, okay, I really ought to try to capitalize on the recent popularity of vampire books and zombie books. After thinking for a few days I decided to try adding zombies to classic fairy tales. This resulted in passages like the following.
At last the happy day arrived. The two proud sisters set off in high spirits. Cinderella followed them with her eyes until the coach was out of sight. She then began to cry bitterly. While she was sobbing, her godmother, who was a zombie, appeared before her.
“Uuuurrrggh,” said the zombie, and again, “Uuuurrrggh.” Cinderella was startled, but not afraid; she knew somehow that this creature meant her no harm. “BRAINSSSSSS,” said her godmother, ripping off the head of a passerby, scooping out the selfsame organ she had named, and swallowing it in one gulp. She then dropped the head to the ground, whereupon it was changed into a beautiful coach. “Ggggggmmmlkkkkke,” she said, and the headless corpse was transformed into a glorious horse, and Cinderella rejoiced that the poor man, though cut down before his time, was still able to offer succor to those in need. And then came, from the road, from the field, eight zombies, shambling toward Cinderella and her zombie godmother. Two took their places as coachman and postilion, as the other six surrounded the coach as footmen.
When all these things had been done, the kind godmother, touching her with her wand, changed her worn-out clothes into what had once been a beautiful ball-gown, now fetchingly torn and tattered. She then gave her a pair of glass slippers; that is, they were woven of the most delicate spun-glass, fine as the web of a spider.
When Cinderella was thus attired, her godmother made her get into her splendid coach, told her, “Ddddrrrnnnggggggg,” which Cinderella understood to be a caution to leave the ball before the clock struck twelve, and shambled off, tearing the head off another unfortunate passerby and eating his brains as she went. She was not so satisfied with these brains as with those of the previous passerby, but no matter; her next feast could not be in any wise far off.
I sent this (and the rest of the story surrounding it) to my agent, who loved it, but then everybody else in her office pointed out that fairy tales already have monsters and supernatural beings in them, so with zombies there wasn’t really all that much value added.
I’ve been racking my brains since then but the best thing I’ve been able to come up with is Michelle Obama, Vampire Slayer, and really I just don’t think that’s going to hold up well as the years go by.
Is a Martha Stewart-Zombie mashup too predicatable?
Hey, she’s got better arms than Sarah Michelle Gellar!
Well, do something better. I’m pretty sure that Barbara Bush will always look like a creepy biddy to history, so you could pull an OZ on the old troll-woman, and call her Wicked Witch of the Old West. Alternately, go less fantastical, and do a literary mash-up… Instead of Baldassare Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier, do a Book of the New Kingdom Dead, with illustrations by the least conventional artist you know. It could be half gay kama sutra, half bad jokes that only educated people and/or Egyptologists would get. I’d buy it!
Ooh! How about “The Taming Of The Zombie” or “My Fair Zombie”?