Classics Mutilated

by Jeff Connor | Horror |
ISBN: 160010830X Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 1/10/2011
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3 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Monday, January 10, 2011
Ever since I first encountered Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I thought that the whole classics/monsters/mashup idea might work better in the form of short stories, or even just at the level of titles - doing it for an entire book seemed to exhaust the humor, at least for me. None of the subsequent books I've seen have appealed to me at all.

And then I spotted this at the local Barnes and Noble. The cover shows Huck and Jim on a raft, being menaced by... Cthulhu? That definitely got my interest, and when I found that this is a collection of short stories, each with a very different classics/horror mix, I had to give it a try. So far I've found some tales I really, really like and others that leave me cold, but in a decent proportion for an anthology. Some of the mixes are so very bizarre that the concepts alone are worth the price of the book - though it is better when the execution matches the concept! ("Anne-droid of Green Gables" was pretty good; "Pokky Man" was truly excellent...)

Later: Good collection! Some are along the lines of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, pretty much the original story with monsters or magic inserted, but most are variations on a theme, sometimes going far afield indeed. Among my favorites:

"Little Women in Black", which puts a chill into that warm hearthside.

"Death Stopped for Miss Dickinson", providing a tantalizing basis for some of her poetry.

"Twilight of the Gods", which frames the Norse myths in the setting of a recent pop-culture phenomenon - think "Team Gjalpa vs. Team Brynhilda" {grin}.

"Pokky Man", which I mentioned above, is a masterful and darkly hilarious spin on Pokemon, as if it were a documentary by Werner Herzog - er, "Vernor Hertzwig". (If you've seen "Grizzly Man" it's even darker - and funnier.) "That's just sick, it's perverted. They've trained their Pokkypet to turn against its kind."

"From Hell's Heart" sets Ahab on the trail of something much nastier than Moby Dick.

"Frankenbilly" is a marvelous weird-West story, and while the concept is obvious from the title, the execution's quite deft.

"The Green Menace" takes an unexpected tack - it inserts Senator Joe McCarthy into the plot (more or less) of "Frogs". (This is one where I like the concept a bit better than the story, but I did laugh when I realized what was going on.)

"Quoth the Rock Star" has the Lizard King meet the master of "The Raven".

"The Happiest Hell on Earth" is one of the more disturbing stories, taking a dark-side look at - well, a kind of Disney-meets-Dr. Moreau. {shudder}

And then there's "Dread Island", Joe R. Lansdale's entry. It's the story that inspired the cover illustration, and features Huck and Jim, along with Tom and Becky, finding their way to a strange island where characters from other stories - and other times - have been trapped. Funny/creepy/exciting, a fine example of a monster mash-up!

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Monday, July 18, 2011

Released 8 yrs ago (7/18/2011 UTC) at Nashua, New Hampshire USA

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

I'm adding this to the Weird Western bookbox, which will be on its way back to emmejo in NY on Monday. Hope you enjoy it!

Journal Entry 3 by wingemmejowing at Trumansburg, New York USA on Monday, July 25, 2011
This book sounds interesting. I'll have to give it a go. I tried Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and couldn't stand it, but most of my problems with it were about the author's quality of writing and choices of changes rather than the base idea. Perhaps the executions are better here.

Journal Entry 4 by wingemmejowing at Trumansburg, New York USA on Thursday, December 08, 2011
This book blends classics with speculative fiction, mostly along the lines of horror. Not all the "classic" elements are classic books however; some are based on movies and others on famous people. (Hence the re-occuring logo of Elvis with a tentacle beard.) Some even blend two stories together, such as "Twilight of the Gods".

Like most story collections, this one has a mixture of quality tales and ones that never really got off the ground. When I was reading these, I was looking for stories that were a fairly well-done alteration of the original story and had some unexpected elements. It was also important, as in all short stories, for it to be engaging right from the start and be tightly plotted. Not all of these stories met those criteria in my opinion.

Marc Laidlaw's "Pokky Man" was badly wandering, and despite the clever concept, the entire story felt like it was trying to build up to something that never quite appeared.

I know Joe R. Landsdale generally writes purposefully overwrought, tonuge-in-cheek tales, but this one couldn't seem to find its stride. "Dread Island" struggled to find a tone, and then kept changing it. When the author had a focus, it was good, and the second half of the story was much better as Landsdale had a clearer plot.

I was also disappointed by "Little Women in Black" by Rick Hautala because of the character changes. I found all the girls rather petty and whiny, and the writing bland and self-concious.

There were also some very enjoyable stories in here, which more than make up for the lower-grade ones.

"Death Stopped for Miss Dickinson" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch would probably be my favorite. I felt the reserved style of writing suited the story well, and prevented it from becoming too melodramatic. Dickinson's poetry has intrigued me, so this was an interesting tale.

"The Fairest of Them All" by Sean Taylor was fast-paced, smoothly written and tightly plotted, helping to make up for the fact that the concept wasn't particularly original.

Lezli Robyn's "Anne-droid of Green Gables" was syrupy and overtly preachy about human nature, but entertaining nonetheless.

I was surprised by how much I liked "From Hell's Heart" by Nancy A. Collins since I didn't care for Moby Dick and thought Ahab rather frustrating and un-engaging. But Collins manages it by presenting the story through the character of a wide-eyed trapper, who gives us an interesting view of Ahab as a savior and action hero.

"Frankenbilly" by John Shirley was a fun romp with engaging larger-than-life characters.

I also enjoyed "Vicious" by Mark Morris. The strong character voice was impressive, and I liked the writer's willingness to break grammar rules and typical story guidelines to do it. Such a method suits a story about Sid Vicious.

My father also borrowed the book in order to read "Vicious" as he is a fan of punk music. He said he enjoyed it very much, and thought Vicious's personality and voice was well-done based on the interviews he's read and seen.

Journal Entry 5 by wingemmejowing at Trumansburg, New York USA on Saturday, December 31, 2011

Released 7 yrs ago (12/31/2011 UTC) at Trumansburg, New York USA

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

This book is on its way to quietorchid in the Steampunk Bookbox. It is being included because of the steampunk stories "Frankenbilly" and "Anne-droid of Green Gables."

Journal Entry 6 by quietorchid at Saint Paul, Minnesota USA on Monday, January 09, 2012
Taking this from the Steampunk bookbox. Thanks emmejo, for organizing this. I enjoyed a few of the stories, but found it a mixed collection, other than oddness, no real reason to group them. Ah well, travel far little book!

Released 7 yrs ago (3/28/2012 UTC) at Gingko Coffee Shop - Snelling and Minnehaha in Saint Paul, Minnesota USA

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

Left on the shelves.


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