Austen and Sea Monsters

16 11 2009

One might not think of sea monsters as having a place in regency England. Much like Quirk Classic‘s zombies enriched the story of Pride and Prejudice the sea monsters have livened up Sense and Sensibility.

Another Austen tale of English ladies and their suitors has been altered thanks to the wonderful writers that Quirk Classics has managed to dig up. The original Sense and Sensibility follows the lives of the Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. When their father passes away the estate goes to their older half brother and his cold and selfish wife. The older Mrs. Dashwood and her daughters seek another home at a distant relative’s estate and thus experience romance, love, and heartbreak.

Elinor is attached to Edward, the brother of her sister-in-law. She is also introduced to and courted by Colonel Brandon who is nearly twenty years older than she. Elinor thinks that loving and marrying a man so many years older is grotesque but does decide that being friendly with Colonel Brandon would be acceptable.

Marianne is swept off her feet by a wealthy adventurer after falling while out for a walk. John Willoughby is dashing and very similar to Marianne and many mutual friends believed them to be engaged.

Through the course of the story both girls have their hearts broken. One girl gets her happy ending after some turns of events take place, and another finds that what she thought she wanted was not correct anymore at all.

That’s all that should be said in hopes of not ruining the book.

Sense and Sensibility is a little dry, much like most other books written in and around the 1790s. The story often lags on talk of money and how so-and-so has so many pounds a month and how no one could possibly wish to marry into so little amount and so on much like the talk in Pride and Prejudice. However, the story was definitely worth reading with its themes on emotion vs. sense, money, propriety, love, and many more. The ladies Dashwood and the gentleman acquainted with them all learned something by the end of the book, and the outcomes were suprising and in some aspects a little disappointing.

Now, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Jane Austen and Ben H. Winters used the same story line with subtle and not so subtle additions of tentacled beasts, water dangers, and facial disfiguration. In Sea Monsters, all places in the story are either near water or under water and many hours each day are dedicated to keeping sea monsters at bay. Estates were fortressed, weapons skills were mandatory, and traveling too near or over water was usually met with death by at least one character of little consequence. Instead of the Dashwoods traveling to London at one point they travel to an underwater city called Sub-Marine Station Beta. In addition to romantic intrigue, family drama, and sisterly bickering and love is the giant tentacled monsters and oversized lobsters out for human blood.

Sea Monsters, no matter how entertaining, loses something of the story when all changes were said and done. Colonel Brandon with a tentacled face, Willoughby as a treasure seeker, a lady competing for a gentleman’s attention as a witch, and a sea creature large enough to disguise itself as land detract from the Dashwood daughters and their personalities and choices made.

In doing some research it can be found that though Pride and Prejudice and Zombies had 90% of the original novel’s content with only about 10% additional content added; Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters started with only 60% original content with 40% added (source for Sea Monsters numbers, but cannot re-find the Zombie’s numbers at this time).

In conclusion, whereas Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was worth reading because the integrity of the story did not change; the same cannot be said for Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. In this case it is best to stick to the original.




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