This book marks a new genre of zombie fiction that began with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. And I for one welcome it! Take into account the following fact. Each one of these great works of American literature contains the complete text of the original work, with zombie (and sometimes ninja) mayhem worked in with the precision of a surgeon's scalpel. One might argue that this is a great way to introduce a new generation to some great classic authors. Sure, zombies are needed to lure them in, but I like to think that it is the story that keeps them coming back for more.
The zombie genre is wearing a little thin. I like the idea of zombification better for Austen's social satires than for Twain's -- this book sets up the replacement of African-American slaves with undead "baggers" (Czolgosz avoids the "n-word" entirely), which works only as parody and lacks any thematic heft. It is best on its own, in fact, after Czolgosz's story veers far away from the original plot into flat-out zombie madness.
As a potential introduction to the classic? Jury's still out for me. Partially burying the racial conflict (pun mostly unintended), Czolgosz can't avoid the idea of freedom, and he's not sure what to do with it. I liked this better when I tried to divorce it entirely from Twain's book. For someone who hasn't read the original, this might work as dopey fun and farce, although just about 100% of the fun is Twain's.
I love some mashups -- The Grey Album, the Kanye West/Seven Dwarves viral video, etc. -- but this one doesn't do it for me. If you've read the original and felt even a little of its satirical force, this is a lightweight thought-experiment. I suppose there's nothing wrong with that, though!
I always felt the original was lacking in the undead, and now finally somebody has put the matter right. Of course it's a major cheek to take a classic piece of literature and unleash a plague of zombies, but it's paid off here.
I enjoyed this a lot, and if you have an eye for cheeky humour, it should be for you.
In the wake of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (hereafter PPZ), the market has been flooded with lots of classic literature either rewritten or "enhanced" by adding horror tropes like vampires, werewolves, or zombies. W. Bill Czolgosz (previous works: Anna Karnivora) has taken on Mark Twain's classic tale of adventure and friendship, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and added in a zombie apocalypse.
The book follows the PPZ format of inserting new text into the classic, though some passages are cut out since the story diverges several times. The added text appears mostly seamless, matching the highly accented style of Huckleberry's narrative. Clearly, the zombie references are added but don't seem anachronistic (except when Huckleberry uses "pan'emic" to describe the outbreak).
In this zombie outbreak, some zombies are "high-functioning," able to talk and do many of the tasks they used to do when alive. Others are vicious carnivores. The dead are put in a bag awaiting their return as a zombie. If they struggle violently to get out, they're assumed to be the later type and are killed (again) on the spot. The others are sold into slavery. Some people come back before they can be "bagged" so there are roaming zombies of both types. Another result of the zombie outbreak is the African American slaves are set free. Docile zombies become the slaves for this society. Czolgosz switchs all the "n-words" references to "bagger," since the docile zombies are called "half-baggers" and the vicious killers are "baggers." It's a nice solution for sensitive modern readers, though it does come at the cost of some zombie gore, which may be unpleasant for sensitive modern readers.
On the other hand, the zombie mythology doesn't add a lot to the story.Read more ›
But Jane Austen and H. G. Wells - the other two recent Zombified authors- are a great and a not bad British author (Wells is entertaining, and that is no complaint - I have read all or most of his fiction but Austen is classic). I am looking forward to the Twain and hope to see a (very appropriate) Faulkner entry soon as the feel of heat and rot touches much of his writing.