As Pride and Prejudice and Zombies proved to be a veritable success at its coming out, and as Regency satire is all the crack, Q
Lawks! Desist, dear authors and publishers! Stop these bacon-brained notions. I warrant that such ideas were conceived with much mirth, and I confess freely to entertaining such fancies in my spare hours after English class. But amusements that seem so very droll while bandied in idle chatter are too often spent by the time one realizes them fully, and such is the case with Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. I confess, I could not even finish the novel, so weary was I of the joke. For your pleasure, I have embedded the book's "trailer" below the jump, for I am certain that if you are amused by it, you will not tire of the book's conceit.
I do not wish to be disagreeable, or appear to be notoriously picksome when it comes to a good jest at the expense of even one such as Miss Austen. To the contrary, I think it is the season to flout the conventions, and would be delighted to see stories of horror, mystery, suspense, and comedy set in the era of corsets and cravats. I believe that this "Steampunk" fashion also speaks to such a desire of blending unexpected elements for a pleasing whole. It is this lack of coherence that makes Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters (like Zombies before it) such a severe disappointment. Nay, to say "severe" is to suggest that I was persuaded to hope that the story would take my fancy at all, when indeed I entertained no such desires.
But I must be fair to the work of the honorable Mr. Ben H. Winters, insofar as his creativity is very considerable. Unlike P&P&Z, Mr. Winters has added far more to the original narrative, and sketched an unusual and alternative world in which to place his borrowed heroes and heroines. There are pirates, submarines, underwater Domes, monsterous aquatic lifeforms, and squid-faced men. (However, the latter is clearly liberated from the recent adventures of the Pirates of the Caribbean and its villainous Davy Jones. Does not the cover portrait faintly resemble that nonesuch Bill Nighy?) I find it regrettable that Mr. Winters did not simply pen his own steampunk tale of underwater romance, as one could forgive its resemblance to Miss Austen easier than one can overlook such an awkward collision betwixt the two authors.
Also, I must commend that both Mr. Winters and Mr. Grahame-Smith were compelled to pen Austen's heroines in the freshest and most spirited style. They may be hoydens, but there is something very admirable in the manner in which they have been reworked, for there is not a one of them that is not a warrior in her own right. While it strains credibility that the motherly Mrs. Dashwood could impale a squid with an oar, one would imagine that Austen herself would not disapprove of Elinor, Marianne, and Elizabeth Bennet proving to be equals to their Corinthian consorts.
By now you may be wondering why your authoress chose to expound so lengthily on such a topic, for it is true that Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters is not yet a film, nor has there been much discussion of the novel in Town. Indeed, I find its prospects doubtful, for it would undoubtedly be very expensive to fully realize onscreen. But the blend of Austen and the underworld is indeed dernier cri * and it is a tedious one that I find alarming in its rise. Why, I could not find a copy of The Road or even Dune whilst I was traveling between cities, so numerous were the copies of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Fine books pushed out of shops for Banbury tales is a sad thing to bear witness to, and I cannot decide if they spring out of a true desire, or if it's simply a Cheltenham tragedy.
But I do not wish to see any more of them, that is for certain. I lend my pen in the hopes of dissuading my readers and their respective circles to avoid purchasing such ill-conceived entertainment so that we may see an end to it, and avoid it spreading into our theaters.
*The latest thing, the fashion of the season
**Apologies if I tortured you with stilted prose. In short, just watch Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and Ang Lee's Sense and Sensibility, you'll have more fun, and no way in hell should any studio buy this.