Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mashup Novels I'm Never Going to Write

These are really popular right now, but in case you haven't heard of them the concept operates like this: a writer takes a classic, public domain novel or story and adds something supernatural. Examples include: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies; Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters; and Android Karenina.

Now, I'm not putting down any of these books. I'm sure they are fine works of literature. I mean that. But, being the contrarian that I am, instead of taking mundane works of classic, public domain literature and adding fantastic elements, I'd take classic public domain works of the fantastic and add mundane elements. Allow me to illustrate with a few examples; in these, the original work is in italics and what I have added or changed is in bold italics.

Dracula: Wall Street Tycoon -- A new spin on the Bram Stoker classic, the aging vampire count moves to New York searching for new blood, and solid investment opportunities. With his centuries of experience, mesmerism, and the ability to control wolves, Count Dracula quickly threatens to take over the entire New York Stock Exchange, while simultaneously draining his adversaries of blood and adding them to his ever growing firm of vampire stock traders.

Journey to the Center of the Earth -- Past their prime and relegated to novelty reunion tours and dishwasher commercials, late-70s rock band Journey catches the midnight train going anywhere...and winds up on an adventure in the Earth's core in this mashup of a Jules Verne classic science fiction adventure.

Frankenstein, Sex, and the City -- Liberally adapted from Mary Shelly's masterpiece of gothic horror, Dr. Frankenstein attempts to play god by creating four promiscuous socialite women from the stitched-together bodies of fresh corpses and evil brains...after which, his sickening creations promptly move to New York and start fucking and buying everything in sight. So, you're wondering: how is that in any way different from Sex and the City? I guess it's pretty much the same thing...forget I suggested this one. I don't want to get sued.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Attorney at Law -- In this mashup of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic, Dr. Jekyll faces mounting litigation and criminal prosecution regarding his controversial euthanasia procedures. Unable to find an attorney willing to touch his highly publicized case, Dr. Jekyll turns on it's head the old adage about a "man representing himself in court having a fool for a client," and uses a chemical solution to transform him into the disturbingly simian attorney, Mr. Hyde: Attorney at Law.

At the Brokeback Mountains of Madness -- Adapting H.P.Lovecraft's maddening cosmic horror to a new time, two homosexual cowboys meet for their yearly sexual rendezvous in an arctic mountain range and discover the remains of an ancient civilization of insane, unearthly creatures. Will their love be enough to save them from the grip of madness? The fate of the world hangs in the balance.

The Epic of Gilgamesh: Mall Cop -- This mashup contains one of the oldest tales in human history of the mighty King Gilgamesh and updates it in the most logical fashion possible: by making him the head of mall security at the 900 Shop's Mall in Chicago. Gilgamesh mourns the loss of his partner and seeks the secrets of immortality in the virtually endless array of luxurious shopping outlets, all while attempting to foil purse-snatchers, shop-lifters and loitering teens.

Beowulf vs. Beowulf -- Another public domain classic from antiquity, this mashup shows us the struggle of the legendary Beowulf as he fights Grendel, Grendel's mother, and a dragon...all while enduring a life-destroying divorce suit. Beowulf's life changes forever as he fights for custody of his children and attempts to retain half of his gold between harrowing fights to the death with various monsters.

Dante's Disco Inferno -- This one is pretty self-explanatory. Basically, just replace every reference to hell with the word disco and you've pretty much got it: a couple of guys touring a really, really big disco. It practically writes itself.

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame of Notre Dame -- Victor Hugo's tragic hero Quazimodo falls in love with a beautiful Gypsy woman and gets a full-ride scholorship to an Ivy League University to play football. There are no singing gargoyles in this one.

The Invisible Man on Fire -- In this adaptation of the H.G. Wells classic, the Invisible Man is hired to protect a young girl in a foreign country. He forms a bond with her that promises redemption, despite her inability to see him or know where he is at any given time...unless he says something or wraps his body in bandages. When mobsters kidnap the girl, he goes on a redemptive mission of mayhem and self-sacrifice to save her. Also he's a ninja.

The Ten Damned Things I Hate About You -- Adapted from the Ambrose Bierce story: in this high school romantic comedy the only way a boy in love can date the object of his affection is if her shrewish older sister finds a boyfriend first. So, he hires a marauding monster of a color no human eye can perceive to tame her, but they wind up falling in love anyway in this charming and terrifying coming of age story.

C is for Call of the Cthulu -- Another Lovecraft mashup, this time in the form of a children's book. Intended to help children learn the alphabet while also losing their sanity, each page has a letter connected to part of Lovecraft's vast and maddening Cthulu mythos: examples include B is for Bol-Saggoth; N is for Nyarlathotep, S is for Shub-Niggurath, Y is for Yoggoth and so on. Horrifyingly illustrated.