March 4, 2010, - 3:57 pm

Absurd to the Nth: Even Honest Abe is Now in the Vampire Biz?

By Debbie Schlussel

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.

Um, the two words, “Howard Zinn,” would have been enough.  You know what I think of the late fictionstorian.

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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

21 Responses

I’m already working on “Obamula — Sucking the lifeblood out of America’s producing class” for release in 2015.

Kaiser Sozay on March 4, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Well, put me down for a copy.

    That is, IF I have any money left after OBAMULA has sucked all my hard earned savings outta’ my bank and sold it to George Soros( THE HUNGARIAN VAMPIRE LEADER… I mean check out the fangs on that walking corpse!!!).

    Come to think of it, Michelle Obamula has FANGS too!!


    Sewsalot on March 4, 2010 at 5:37 pm

      All Michelle Obama can lay claim to is an a** like a five-dollar horse.

      IceNoMore on March 5, 2010 at 2:36 am

Egad! Who watches this vampire crap and has all this interest in it? I refuse to even learn what it is about–how asinine. I’m sure we’ll learn that Washington and Jefferson were vampire slayers too.

These recent movies you wrote about with cougar angles and vampires is another gag me deal. Heaven help us!

BB on March 4, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    I cannot remember the comedian who did a routine about movies MANY years ago, but the gist of it was that vampire movies “have been done to death!”

    Done to death and that was years and years ago…. I think it’s still true!

    Sewsalot on March 4, 2010 at 5:42 pm

Is is a sign of intellectual sterility and accelerating decline when a society puts this sort of stuff out in forms aside from kiddie comic books. I am amused by the politically correct lesbian vampire angle worked into the Honest Abe work. Politically correct quotas and identity politics seem to be more carefully pursued than quality. It is reminiscent of the old Soviet Union’s requirement that a certain amount of Leninism be incorporated, whether appropriate or not, into various literary and cinematic endeavors as an overall output requirement. We seem to be in this boat now with a world of lousy plots married to politically correct themes.

sorrow01 on March 4, 2010 at 9:07 pm

“Jefferson Douglas”?

Who’s that?

Jefferson DAVIS was President of the Confederate States of America, and STEPHEN Douglas was the guy whom Lincoln debated.

John Robert Mallernee on March 4, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    Hey, did you expect anything remotely sane or accurate from such a person. 🙂 This stuff makes Stephen King’s work look like quality literature.

    sorrow01 on March 4, 2010 at 11:21 pm

I’m already working on “Obamula — Sucking the lifeblood out of America’s producing class” for release in 2015.

Kaiser Sozay on March 4, 2010 at 4:42 pm

PERFECT!!! enough said : )

sharon on March 4, 2010 at 10:26 pm

“Please, Make It Stop.” — D.S.

Hint. What if they gave a movie, and nobody showed up for it?

We have it in our power to make it stop. If we don’t, it’s our fault. …at least the fault of the stupid idiots who keep going, anyway.

yonason on March 5, 2010 at 1:45 am

Doesn’t he mean Jefferson DAVIS?
I don’t know if Edgar Allan Poe ever considered writing a lesbian vampire story, but Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu )”Carmilla”) and Samuel Taylor Coleridge (Christabel) wrote them.

Miranda Rose Smith on March 5, 2010 at 2:01 am

Doesn’t he mean Jefferson DAVIS?
I don’t know if Edgar Allan Poe ever considered writing a lesbian vampire story, but Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (“Carmilla”) and Samuel Taylor Coleridge (Christabel) wrote them.

Miranda Rose Smith on March 5, 2010 at 2:02 am

They actually have a trailer for the book:

and word is Tim Burton wants to make the movie.

ender on March 5, 2010 at 2:08 am

Abe wasn’t very honest but obviously this clip is to put down any famous figure who was famous for good reasons.

adam on March 5, 2010 at 7:56 am

I don’t know… Honest Abe looks kinda bad-ass in that hunter “photo”… what is that thing he’s holding- a gatling crossbow?

Doda McCheesle on March 5, 2010 at 9:44 am

Can’t wait for the one with Janet Napolitano dressed as a viking leading the war against illegals. Maybe they’ll even write it with her being straight, just as a sidebar.
On second thought, with Peppermint Patty as her trusted sidekick…so much for that thought.

IceNoMore on March 5, 2010 at 10:31 am

ALMOST as silly as B.O. comparing B.O. to Lincoln. Absurd?!! Yeaah!

Joe on March 5, 2010 at 10:32 am

I read ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m an avid reader, both fiction and nonfiction. I’d never read Jane Austen because I assumed that it would be overwrought but the zombie book (70% Austen/30%) convinced me to explore that era of fiction. And it was an excellent read.

I don’t know about Poe and lesbian vampires, but the thought of Lincoln splitting logs to make vampire-killin’ stakes makes me laugh in a good way. Lincoln was a great storyteller (I’ve always thought Reagan must have emulated him in that) and would probably enjoy the book.

Coffee Addled Mind on March 6, 2010 at 7:22 pm

Look, this is fiction, nothing more. I own a copy and I gotta say, it’s quality entertainment for those who appreciate creative fiction. I’m just glad the novel is getting some blog time.

Mario De Luca on January 6, 2011 at 8:03 pm

The real apocalypse is coming, Debbie, and it’s too painful to watch. And I’m not talking Book Of Revelations—There is going to be a tripartite battle for dominance between China/The US and The Caliphate over the next 20 years. It’s going to be mean, ugly, and it may involve nukes.

These apocalyptic novels are what we in the Biz call a Displacement mechanism for the real worry.

By the way, I read my Austen first, many times (I did NOT have to read P & P in high school strangely enough—they gave me Melville and Conrad instead) before I picked up the Zombie version, which I found highly amusing.

Occam's Tool on August 13, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Also, it can get people interested in the real thing, which has it’s uses—sort of like EC Comics versions of Ambrose Bierce—“Oil of Dog” being a classic version either way it was presented.

Occam's Tool on August 13, 2011 at 7:22 pm

Leave a Reply

* denotes required field