March 4, 2010, - 3:57 pm
My late maternal grandmother, Adela, a Holocaust survivor, used to say in her frequent Yiddish/English mix, “Ehrein the business, Ehrein the business.” It’s a saying, which translates into, “He’s in the business, [and] he’s in the business.” But it really means that everyone’s in the same racket. My dad and I used to jokingly use this saying and laugh about it. But, sadly, the joke is now on the American consumer because . . . everybody’s in the same racket. There are no new ideas.
Please, Make It Stop.
Hollywood just announced a movie remake of the “Gilligan’s Island” TV show (which, itself, had at least two TV movies with the original cast). And, as you know, everything coming out of Tinseltown is all remakes and sequels by the gazillions. And then there are the vampires. Enough, already. Ditto for the doomsday/apocalypse/zombie deals. Please, come up with something new.
And this lack of creativity–this epidemic of rip-offs and remakes–has silently spread through all other forms of entertainment. Sucking on the teat of the “Twilight” series hot vampire dynamic and the “historical fiction” novel baloney, everyone’s now either in the vampire biz or they’re walking through life with their best buddies Jesse James and Winston Churchill. It’s annoying.
And now, apparently, even Abraham Lincoln was a . . . vampire hunter? HUH?! It’s like a bad SNL skit. Oh, and the book, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”–as if the whole thing isn’t absurd enough–features a storyline involving Edgar Allan Poe researching a lesbian vampire story. This gushing Vanity Fair review is enough to make you cringe. Sadly, this is not a joke:
Seth Grahame-Smith, an author and amateur historian, claims in his latest tome that Lincoln’s entire life and political career was driven by a single purpose: “To free men from the tyranny of vampires.”
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, published by Grand Central and available everywhere next Tuesday, March 2, is not just the Lincoln biography we’ve all been waiting for. It’s also the funniest, most action-packed and weirdly well-researched account of the Civil War you’ll probably read in a long time. Every chapter is filled with familiar and semi-familiar names from that dark period in our nation’s history—like William Seward, George B. McClellan and Jefferson Douglas—and some surprising guest stars like Edgar Allan Poe, who visits Lincoln while researching a lesbian vampire story, the greatest work of fiction Poe never actually got around to writing. Political history can sometimes be a little dry, but not with lines like “Senator Charles Sumner lay unconscious on the Senate floor, face-down in a pool of his own blood.” Grahame-Smith could be poised to become the Howard Zinn of vampire-related alterna-history.
But, even more unfortunate, Lincoln isn’t the only target for this absurd literary revisionist fiction. The trend–known as “literary mash-ups”–is the total destruction and mockery of all classic figures, real or fiction. And it’s scary in its utter stupidity. I could see buying one of these for the joke of having it on your coffee table. But these people are serious in their takedown of the serious.
It has been a year since “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” was unleashed upon the unsuspecting masses.
Rather than running for their lives, readers ran to bookstores, making the quirky collaboration between Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith a huge hit, with more than 1 million copies in print.
With the surprising success of that first literary mashup from Quirk Books, there has been no stanching the flow of bloody titles featuring classic literary icons doing battle with B-movie demons. . . .
Grahame-Smith’s new Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (Grand Central), published this week with a first printing of 200,000, is an original story that finds our 16th president using his trusty ax on things other than trees. The author says there’s life left in the genre, but it won’t last forever. . . .
The monsters — and the books — just keep on coming.
•Little Women and Werewolves by Louisa May Alcott and Porter Grand (Del Rey) is out May 4.
•For young readers: Little Vampire Women by Alcott and Lynn Messina (May 1) and Romeo & Juliet & Vampires by William Shakespeare and Claudia Gabel (Sept. 1), HarperTeen.
“This genre can do well, as long as publishers are willing to keep it fresh,” says David Bryce of Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati.
That’s why Quirk is nailing Austen’s coffin shut and digging up Leo Tolstoy. It will publish Android Karenina in June.
What’s next–“The Great Ghoulsby” and the “updated” tale of his vampire meth lab parties by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Debbie Schlussel? Don’t count on it.
Tags: Abraham Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, books, copies, Edgar Allan Poe, fiction, Gilligan's Island, Hollywood, Honest Abe, lesbians, literature, Little Vampire Women, Little Women and Werewolves, mash-up, mash-ups, Movie Reviews, no original ideas, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, remakes, repeats, revisionism, revisionist, sequels, Seth Grahame-Smith, Vampire, Vampire Hunter, vampires