On this note there aren't a whole ton of legendary authors or world-changing novels out there. We lack a Hemingway or a Steinbeck or a Shaw. This may also be attributed to a generation more concerned with Twitter than sitting down through an entire book. It's a flash-memory, instant gratification society, to which books deliver neither. I'm clearly no better, I respond much better upon visual stimuli rather than verbal input. To my credit though, over the past seven years I have managed to complete the following books all on my own:
Earth: The Book by the Daily Show
Children of Hurin by J.R.R. Tolkien
Why We Suck by Dr. Denis Leary
The Alphabet of Manliness by Maddox
Silent Bob Speaks by Kevin Smith
Impressive, I know. But I did manage to race through a book very speedily recently and it was super-awesome so I felt compelled to respond here. I speak of Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith. The most interesting thing about this book lies beyond the obvious knee-jerk reaction upon hearing the premise and how good this thing really is. It should remain a staple of the Mashup Literary Genre.
This is a strange genre. It almost seems too easy to do but when authors pull off the intricacies involved it becomes a fulfilling means of injecting humour and modern attitudes (probably post-modern attitudes is more apt) into stuffy literature that has been so overdone to become the originator of many tropes today. As the Mashup exposes the tropes and folds them over upon the tropes of a drastically conflicting genre we gain immense reflection concerning the nature of storytelling. Awesome.
The genre began with a simple idea from Seth Grahame-Smith himself, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It works from the jarring title alone, there's an immediate interest spike from both Jane Austen fans and Zombie fans. Those are two crowds who should never mingle with each other. Actually they should mingle all the time, the results would be spectacular. Following this were tons of imitators but none were really that exceptional. Until Grahame-Smith returned with Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.
The book deftly presents itself as part-Secret Diary, part-Primary document and the remaining account reads not of sarcasm or snarky reluctance but as a genuine historical account. It's no different in structure or even tone and theme from a normal Lincoln biography. The only fantastic elements are the vampires and they fit in surprisingly well. It's the true sign of a master of the Mashup craft that it is not a random collision of genres. The Vampire Hunts are well thought out and integrated into a very accurate chronicle of Lincoln's life.
Anyway, I'll admit that I didn't like the ending. Since it's tougher to read a book than watch a movie I won't actually give it away here like I usually do on these things. If a movie has been out a few days you should have gone to see it already. If a book has been out a few years, well that's understandable you need some time to get through that sucker.
So that's it. This is a very well written tome and I hope that this genre works in this vein more often than a simplistic pasting of something ridiculous onto something chaste. That doesn't really work. The careful integration, clear historical research and flawless presentation makes the gore and insanity within all the more acceptable as fake true fact.
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