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03 March 2010 @ 10:10 am
also: SO OVER IT.  

...In theory, there is nothing wrong with historical fantasy/horror/sci-fi/whatever. I mean, I watch Doctor Who and love the historical episodes the best. My problem with this particular sort of thing (P&P&Z in particular, but this book is by the same guy) is the annoying underlying attitude behind it: take something boring and stuffy, and add supernatural creatures to jazz it up! Look at the hilarious contradiction!
litlover12 on March 3rd, 2010 04:43 pm (UTC)
Good point. It's like those songs that start with a bit of classical music and then morph into rock or techno or whatever -- because, you know, that classical stuff is just so old and boring you COULDN'T play it as is. Blurgh.
tempestsarekind: regency house party [s&s]tempestsarekind on March 3rd, 2010 07:42 pm (UTC)
Yes. Something that really tries to imagine history and then set a believable fantasy world within that--I appreciate that greatly. I have yet to make it through Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (and I can't figure out why! The first 300 pages and I were fast friends!), but I really liked Sorcery and Cecilia. But just pasting on some zombies or whatever? Boo.
litlover12 on March 3rd, 2010 07:47 pm (UTC)
Because JS&MN is massively long, perhaps? :-) I haven't even made it through the first couple of chapters yet. But I really really want to -- it just looks like such a time-consuming endeavor!
tempestsarekind: books and flowerstempestsarekind on March 3rd, 2010 07:54 pm (UTC)
Maybe. :) My current theory is "wait, we're still on the battlefield?" Funny how I can read about social calls and magicians hunting down rare books (okay, and talking statues in a cathedral, which hits a bunch of narrative buttons I didn't even know I had, quite) for hundreds of pages, and then maybe twenty pages of battlefield stuff and I drift away.
the love song of j. aimee prufrocke: bh | mitchell has teafaeriemaiden on March 3rd, 2010 10:53 pm (UTC)
Ahaha, I am that way with films. My attention always drifts during action sequences, unless they are really, really pretty or shot interestingly. But sequences all about talking? Or the first half hour of Wings of Desire where it's just panning around Berlin and eavesdropping on the thoughts of random people? Riveted.
tempestsarekind: very few dates in this historytempestsarekind on March 3rd, 2010 11:07 pm (UTC)
My brain just goes, "I'd like to be interested, but I just can't?" I feel improperly invested in history, but the Napoleonic Wars themselves are not my thing. (Tensions, ramifications, yes--descriptions of battles, not so much.)

Also, "sequences all about talking" is a description of every story I've ever written. Sigh.
the love song of j. aimee prufrocke: angel | wesley + books = <3faeriemaiden on March 3rd, 2010 11:01 pm (UTC)
The thing that irks me about P&P&Z is how they pretty much did just paste their zombie bits in, instead of actually writing and developing something interesting. I've read genre-bending fanfiction that was far, far more interesting and exploratory. I like the concept, and partly as an anthropology-brained nerd -- and, wow, I am suddenly wondering if any colleges offer classes on the anthropology of fictional cultures?, because that is one of my favourite things... *brain wanders away excitedly*

Actually, it reminds me of what Sarah Rees Brennan wrote about romantic pairings -- both people in the romance need to be equally interesting and developed, and the tension and enjoyableness in the romance comes from the way they play off each other. So with genre-bending fiction: both the original concept and the new concept you're weaving in should be presented as interesting, and you can use each one to explore different aspects of the other. If the audience can feel any kind of contempt for the source material, they are going to feel put out. (Also why March made me really angry -- the author's preface was all about how she didn't like Little Women much because everybody actually loved each other and it was so damn moralising and silly and ARGH *hits with book*. :P)
tempestsarekind: little womentempestsarekind on March 3rd, 2010 11:14 pm (UTC)
What would an anthropology of a fictional culture entail, I wonder, if one wanted to study one as opposed to create one?

...And now I feel as though I should be reading Borges.

If the audience can feel any kind of contempt for the source material, they are going to feel put out.

Yes, this! Granted, I was never the target audience for reading a book about Austen and zombies, because zombies make me queasy! But there is potential there for something really interesting, and--well, exploratory, as you said (good word). And my brief glance into P&P&Z suggests that it doesn't do anything with that potential.

Also, that's really annoying re: March. I've not read it, and I have my own issues with Little Women (mostly summed up with "but why does Jo have to give up her writing?"), but--loving people is not easy *or* silly! Hmph.
Neaneadods on March 4th, 2010 02:35 am (UTC)
take something boring and stuffy, and add supernatural creatures to jazz it up! Look at the hilarious contradiction!

What continues to surprise me isn't that someone did it, but that it was a hit.

There's an author, forget her name, that basically did Jane Eyre in space. But she didn't even bother filing off the serial numbers; it was an almost word-for-word remake, except (for example) Helen dies of radiation poisoning instead of consumption. I fail to see why this is either an improvement or even interesting; when it's that close to the original, I certainly already know how it's going to end.
tempestsarekind: austen snark is the best snarktempestsarekind on March 4th, 2010 04:26 pm (UTC)
I would be really interested in the ratio of people who read Austen regularly to non-Austen readers (never read her at all, read her once in school, whatever) who enjoy P&P&Z. I'm sure there are regular Austen readers who enjoy it, but it seems to me that the joke is really geared toward people whose notion of Austen is fairly hazy, and that's what makes the joke work.

Same with Lincoln and vampires, I think: if you're really invested in 19th-century American history, or even if you just like your historical jokes more clever than that, then it's not really for you as much as it is for the people who think, "Lincoln--old dead dude in a stovepipe hat." I may be vastly generalizing, since all I know about the Lincoln thing is the book trailer I saw in a Guardian article, but that seemed to be the joke: the real battle was the vampire fighting, not the Civil War! Ta-da!
Neaneadods on March 4th, 2010 09:31 pm (UTC)
I'm trying to remember which person on the flist supposed that P&P&Z was for people who hate Austen... which has been borne out in my acquaintance. The one who hates Austen loved Zombies and Sea Monsters.

I'm not sure if I'm interested or horrified by Jane Slayre.
tempestsarekind: facepalmtempestsarekind on March 4th, 2010 09:48 pm (UTC)
Oh very dear. I'd not heard of that one. Though it makes more sense (in the barest possible way) than adding zombies to Austen. At least Jane Eyre is actually *about* the secret and the subterranean, on some level.
Neaneadods on March 4th, 2010 09:54 pm (UTC)
I read an article on the genre today - online, so I forget which paper, although you could probably find it by news googling "slayre." Some were saying that it had legs and would run forever; others were saying that it can't devolve into "random historical figure/literary work vs random monster" in a to-me blithe blindness to the fact that *that's what it already is.*
tempestsarekind: very few dates in this historytempestsarekind on March 4th, 2010 10:06 pm (UTC)
It's not that there's nowhere to go but down; it's that there's no down to go to!

I'll have to look for the article--I feel like I need someone to explain this cultural phenomenon to me, because I officially Don't Get It.
Neaneadods on March 4th, 2010 10:43 pm (UTC)
it's that there's no down to go to!

I know!
tempestsarekind: elizabeth bennet is amusedtempestsarekind on March 4th, 2010 10:09 pm (UTC)
I think I found the article--unless there's another article out there with people saying things like, "What I don't want to do is something like The Scarlet Letter and Dinosaurs, where you just take a classic because it's a classic and add an element because it's an element."


Neaneadods on March 4th, 2010 10:43 pm (UTC)
That's it!

And "um" is the politest thing to say to that, really.
tempestsarekind: austen snark is the best snarktempestsarekind on March 5th, 2010 04:24 pm (UTC)
Besides which, it's much harder to type out derisive laughter.
Neaneadods on March 6th, 2010 12:07 am (UTC)
Or the sound of a cranium hitting a hard surface.
tempestsarekind: facepalmtempestsarekind on March 7th, 2010 10:11 pm (UTC)
Indeed. :)