The Literary Horizon: At the Mountains of Madness, Pride & Prejudice & Zombies

Horror! Not a genre I’m particularly well-read in. You see, I’m squeamish. It’s the reason that despite my love for Peter Jackson as a director, I’ve yet to see his earlier stuff. (Heavenly Creatures flirts with horror, but doesn’t ultimately go there. That’s quite a good film, by the way, I recommend it.) But there’s still horror on my reading list, because why read if you’re not going to challenge yourself?

At the Mountains of Madness by H. P. Lovecraft

Long acknowledged as a master of nightmarish visions, H. P. Lovecraft established the genuineness and dignity of his own pioneering fiction in 1931 with his quintessential work of supernatural horror, At the Mountains of Madness. The deliberately told and increasingly chilling recollection of an Antarctic expedition’s uncanny discoveries–and their encounter with untold menace in the ruins of a lost civilization–is a milestone of macabre literature.

This exclusive new edition, presents Lovecraft’s masterpiece in fully restored form, and includes his acclaimed scholarly essay “Supernatural Horror in Literature.” This is essential reading for every devotee of classic terror.

via Amazon

I know very little about H. P. Lovecraft and his writings; I’ve heard his name, of course, but it’s that situation where people assume you already know something and you don’t want to let them know that you don’t know. You follow? In any case, a novella in the public domain sounds like a fine place to start with him.

The Boston Book Bums thoroughly enjoyed it, especially the bridge between horror and science fiction. Listener at Free Listens enjoyed it, but found it so influential it weirdly read as derivative.

At the Mountains of Madness was serialized in 1936.

Pride & Prejudice & Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”

So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton—and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield. Can Elizabeth vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you’d actually want to read.

via Amazon

At this point, it’s no longer merely my delight at seeing a published remix that turns Elizabeth Bennet into a zombie hunter that motivates me to read this, but a matter of catching up with the rest of the world. I even have a copy; I was thinking about reading it for Halloween, but I can never schedule my own reading.

Lisa Glass at Vulpes Libris enjoyed it, noting how the added zombies flow well with the text (really!). Jenners at Life… With Books also enjoyed it, especially the humorous reader’s guide included in the back.

Pride & Prejudice & Zombies was published on March 1, 2009.

6 thoughts on “The Literary Horizon: At the Mountains of Madness, Pride & Prejudice & Zombies

  1. I read a couple of volumes of H.P. Lovecraft. He’s well-worth reading — not my favorite — but incredibly influential and interesting. Also, he clearly has some bizarre xenophobic issues that are ripe to do a postcolonial reading of.

  2. I wouldn’t go with Mountains of Madness as an introduction to Lovecraft. IMHO his short stories are much better, particularly The Call of Cthulhu, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, and Dunwich Horror. Then move on to AtMoM. Just my take.

  3. I couldn’t stand Pride & Prejudice & Zombies … so much comic potential, and so much buzz surrounding the book, but it’s really badly written. I think even just one or 2 rounds with a good editor would have made a huge difference – I might’ve been able to overlook the flaws & just enjoy it for the entertainment value.

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