Ever since Pride and Prejudice and Zombies took the literary world by storm in April of 2009, everyone and their mother has been rushing to patch together their own “version” of public domain literary classics, re-published with poorly written scenes of graphic but reasonably tasteful violence inserted randomly throughout the text. A mere six months later Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters was released by the same publisher, an all-new prequel to Zombies will be published less than a year after the “original”, and Android Karenina has been announced.
Other recently released titles from other publishing houses include Alice in Zombieland, Emma and the Werewolves, Mansfield Park and Mummies, The Undead World of Oz, and, of course, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Zombie Jim.
However, the rapidly diminishing popularity of these titles confirms that they offer very little in terms of true entertainment. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was an immediate New York Times bestseller almost entirely based on the title and the sheer novelty of the idea. But when a book’s entire marketing campaign is based on novelty, and the market is immediately flooded with a dozen imitators with even less talent than whatever the original author held, the entire concept has jumped the shark before it even really got off the ground.
Which means that it’s time for a reboot. And in this case, the “mashups” will not be using public domain literary classics, but popular contemporary novels.
“Initially, we weren’t sure we’d be able to do it,” said Gerald Pearson, editor of up-and-coming indie publisher FacePalm Press. “Obviously, reprinting an entire novel with a few new scenes inserted here and there isn’t protected as parody, so we had to come to an agreement that made financial sense for both parties. Fortunately, Ms. Meyer and Little, Brown and Company were very easy to work with. We worked out a deal, and I’m very pleased to announce that Twilight with Vampires will be coming out in August of 2010.”
“It just makes sense,” said Vincent Pryzbylewski, author of the upcoming novel. “Let’s face it. Nobody besides prepubescent girls and lonely Mormon housewives wants to read about some airhead girl prancing about with her sparkling ponce of a boyfriend. But the series has some fans, and I was just sitting there trying to think of something I could do with it, and it hit me. Why not put some vampires into this book? Instead of having a boring cookie-cutter romantic urban fantasy, you have a kick-ass novel that someone would actually want to read!”
Pryzbylewski admitted that adapting Twilight presented some challenges. “Probably the biggest one is that the novel primarily takes place during the day. When writing a vampire novel, that makes things a little difficult, as you can’t just have vampires walking around, even under a thick cloud cover! I was able to shift a few of the scenes to after dark, but so much of the book takes place at a school. Eventually, I decided to put Bella into a club that had meetings at night, which also had the side effect of making her into less of a loser.”
Pryzbylewski denied reports from early reviews that his version ignored the spirit of Stephenie Meyer’s source novel. “When writing my version, I very much tried to keep the same spirit and tone as Ms. Meyer’s original words. Not because they’re particularly impressive, but because it’s funnier that way. I tried to approach the story logically: what would happen if a bunch of vampires showed up in the rainy town of Forks, Washington? Obviously, people are going to notice, you can’t keep something like that under wraps. And where there are vampires, there are vampire hunters, and chest-staking violence ensues. Are some people not going to like Twilight with Vampires? Yeah. People with no sense of humor, probably, but I think the majority of readers are going to really enjoy it. I mean, just think about it. Putting vampires in Twilight? How can you go wrong?”
We’ll know for certain in August of 2010, but presented here, for the first time, is an excerpt from Twilight with Vampires:
The thickset man shrugged away from the wall as I warily came to a stop, and walked slowly into the street.
“Stay away from me,” I warned in a voice that was supposed to sound strong and fearless. But I was right about the dry throat – no volume.
“Don’t be like that, sugar,” he called, and the raucous laughter started again behind me. He stepped out into the dim light of the street-lamp, and I glimpsed his face. Pale white, with sunken black eyes, and lips that were far too red. I fumbled in my purse, looking for I-didn’t-know-what, and then my fingers found a foreign object. I pulled it out. It was a polished wooden stake with a sharpened end. How did that get in there? I had no idea, but I turned to face him, raising the stake high.
He paused and snarled, and I glimpsed something that made my blood run cold. Two small white fangs, and they wanted me.
Headlights suddenly flew around the corner. The car door opened, hitting the stocky one and knocking him sprawling to the sidewalk. I glimpsed an arm swing down and soft crunch of wood punching through bone, a quiet shriek, and the stocky man burst into flame.
The silver car unexpectedly fishtailed around, skidding to a stop with the passenger door opened just a few feet away from me.
“Get in,” a furious voice commanded. I saw a hand toss a stake almost casually into the glove box, a stake almost exactly like the one I still clenched in my trembling right hand.
© Stephenie Meyer and Vincent Pryzbylewski