Sunday, August 23, 2009
Jane Austen fanfiction
Since the book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies made such a splash on the pop culture scene earlier this year, I've been pondering the phenomenon of Jane Austen fanfiction. Fanfiction, for those of you not already aware, is basically taking already existing characters from literature, movies, TV, or whatnot and using them to write original fiction. If the characters are from works that are not yet in the public doman, then writers cannot make any money from these fics but that's not the case for Jane Austen. As such, fanfiction writers have really flooded the market in the last two years with sequels(or companion pieces) to all of her works, but of course P&P is the one most frequently honored in this way.
Some of them are quite, quite good. Some of them are awful. Most fall somewhere in between, being not particularly well written but somehow satisfying the craving we all have to know more about Lizzy & Darcy after they get married. My sales reps keep me in good humor by keeping me in Austen fanfiction, so in the last few years I've read a slew of 'em.
P&P&Z, about which I've blogged here and elsewhere, is pretty well done (and so financially successful that the publisher is releasing Sense and Sensibility and Seamonsters next month) and thoroughly entertaining. If you're not already a devoted P&P fan, thoug, it's probably not the best book to pick up if you'd like to become one.
I recently read my first Sense and Sensibility sequel called Willoughby's Return by Jane Odiwe. Though all of the old Dashwood family make an appearance, this novel centers almost exclusively on Marianne and Colonel Brandon after their marriage. They are, of course, passionately in love, but their lack of open communication creates strife between them, especially when that old blackguard Willoughby returns to the neighborhood. Readers who are well-versed in Austen will find most of the novel predictable, but it's such fun revisiting favorite characters like these that I, for one, find it easy to overlook the prose and plot points that I would otherwise find lack merit.
About Jane Austen fanfic more anon, but for now it's time to close up shop so that I can go home to start my advance reading copy of S & S & Seamonsters. Should be rollicking good fun! And just to whet your own appetite for it, click this link to see a promotional YouTube video that Quirk Books, the publisher, has assembled for our viewing pleasure.