Seth Grahame-Smith has created a monster.

Last year, Seth Grahame-Smith altered the face of classic lit forever by releasing Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Knock-offs multiplied faster than… well, zombies, and the reading public was quickly introduced to Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, Mansfield Park and Mummies, and Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter.

Now, Grahame-Smith is back with his latest, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer — and Time critic Lev Grossman says it isn’t half bad:

Grahame-Smith isn’t just lucky. He’s a lively, fluent writer with a sharp sense of tone and pace. And as in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the mashup is not as arbitrary as it first seems. Vampirism is a metaphor for slavery: like slave owners, vampires live off the blood of others. 

The fit is actually a little too neat. Once the connection is made, it feels obvious, and neither slavery nor vampirism reveals anything in particular about the other. One could imagine a richer, subtler treatment of the subject, in which the two horrors multiply each other rather than cancel each other out. The institution of slavery revealed something about the true face of young America, something unspeakable, but literalizing it in the form of a vampire turns out to not get us any closer to understanding what it is.

Then again, if one were seeking richness and subtlety, one wouldn’t be reading a book called Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

I have to hand it to Grahame-Smith: When we discussed Pride and Prejudice and Zombies on the blog last year, I don’t think any of us actually expected the genre to last this long. But not only are the books still coming, a movie version of P&P&Z is already in the works, with Natalie Portman set to star. I think that qualifies as mainstream success.

And let’s be honest, that movie could be pretty sweet. I’d watch Lizzie Bennet bring the pain to the undead on the big screen, anyway. Hey, it couldn’t be any worse than Avatar.

 

Margaret Cabaniss

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Margaret Cabaniss is the former managing editor of Crisis Magazine. She joined Crisis in 2002 after graduating from the University of the South with a degree in English Literature and currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland. She now blogs at SlowMama.com.

  • Jennifer

    Great post, Margaret. I’m a fan of Lev Grossman–and this actually looks like something I’d like to read. Thanks for the tip!

  • Mark

    Is anyone concerned that there may be a Dan Brown type in the future who will profit from claiming things like:

    – Abraham Lincoln’s presidency was really a fabrication of the Republican Party and Fox News… and the Catholic Church.

    – The Emancipation Proclamation is a forgery. The original document was the Emancipation Zombienation.

    I have one about John Wilkes Booth but in the spirit of Lent, I’m going to practice a little restraint.

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