After keeping fans in suspense for the last few months, the wait is finally over: Quirk Books has announced the next title in their “Quirk Classics” series of literary re-imaginings, following on the excellent “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.”
The winner? Might actually be a bit of a surprise:
The new title, “Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters,” is a remake of another Jane Austen novel, this one weaving Victorian manners and social breeding with the nautical images of kraken, pirates, sharks and other denizens of the deep. The book is scheduled to be released on September 15 of this year.
My take on this? Well, “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” is one of my favorite books of all time, and I thought the imagery of the Flying Dutchman crew was one of the only factors keeping the “Pirates of the Caribbean” sequels from sliding into “Matrix” sequel-level mediocrity. Still don’t understand why so many people are fascinated with the Cthulu mythos, but I do give the imagery credit for inspiring so many T-shirts and RPGs.
Anyway, I think the expansion to sea monsters is a great stylistic choice on their part,with room for expansion into fields ranging from a great battle with a kraken to giant lobster claws ripping waistcoats asunder. The imagery concocted is inspired, and there is a fountain of information to draw off of. Additionally, it’s more creative than I was expecting, and keeps the series alive rather than sliding into too much meme territory – yes there will be pirates, but it promises to be more creative than that.
I am a little disappointed that they’re sticking with Jane Austen again rather than trying out a new author, but for a new franchise like this it’s probably best not to stray too far out of the comfort zone for risk of using up all your ideas. Plus it does keep my “Tale of Two Cities” steampunk project open.
Speaking of authors, one change is that this project will be handled not by Seth Grahame-Smith of PPZ, but by Ben H. Winters, best known for his work on the “Worst-Case Scenario” series of books. I remain slightly concerned that switching horses will make for a marked difference, but as long as they keep to formula of the first one – not dramatically altering the original work, making the changes fit in with the themes and characters – it shouldn’t be too hard to mess up. Winters does say that the “monster-to-Austen ratio” will be higher in this book, but being only a 10 percent shift there’s not real room for alarm.
Plus, Grahame-Smith’s absence means he will be free to work on his upcoming release “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” a title I’m possibly looking forward to even more than the new Quirk Classic.
Well, for right now I’m going to regard this project as one of the most anticipated releases for the fall, and will look forward to getting my hands on it. In the meantime, I wholeheartedly recommend that you watch their announcement trailer as many times as you possibly can.
Les Chappell is open to discussing any ideas for his Dickensian steampunk project. Currently brainstorming guillotine advancements.