Mashed Up Musings

Rambling Thoughts on Genre Mashups

Puzzling.jpgYesterday over at The Write Practice, the subject was genre mashups, something I’d never hear of before — at least not by that name. The concept of taking a story and retelling it in another genre is familiar. For example, telling the story of Cinderella as a news report.

In this Write Practice post “The Magic Violinist” is suggesting mixing genres like fairy tale + sci-fi, romance + thriller, classic + contemporary. Oliver Twist meets his Mafia Godfather. That type of thing.

I read a book recently where one of the main characters is an author and in her novel Jane Austen is captured by space aliens. The title of the book will give a clue as to how successful she was at getting it launched. The Rejected Writers Book Club (Southlea Bay) by Suzanne Kelman is a funny, though none-too-believable, tale with a mixture of zany and normal characters. I found it delightful.

Mixing genres is an intriguing thought. Even in straight fiction, there are some tales I think would benefit from a dash of something else thrown in. For example, Wuthering Heights — one book I disliked extremely. I read the thing all the way through, hoping poor Heathcliff would get a grip, but there was just no improvement.

It’s billed as a romance — but I saw no actual love anywhere in its pages. Jealousy, greed, snobbery, obsession, fury, cruelty, revenge, yes. Love, no. I think Healthcliff might have benefited immensely by a visit from those three Spirits of Christmas who brought Ebenezer Scrooge to his senses in A Christmas Carol.

I think a lot of mashups of the old classics have already been done a zillion times. There are many contemporary, sci-fi, fantasy, and western versions of Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Pride + Prejudice, Romeo & Juliet, and Hamlet floating around.

Just for the fun of it, here are a few mashups I came up with:

Lord Peter Wimsey is sent to investigate the assassination of the King of Scotland and the murder of Banquo. He deduces from various clues that MacBeth is the guilty party…
or
Miss Marple, a good friend of Banquo’s widow, does some snooping and uncovers Lady Macbeth’s duplicity in the assassination of the king.

The Three Musketeers could be three university roommates who join together to prove their favorite professor, accused of being a spy, is innocent.

I’ve never read The Great Gatsby, and the synopsis doesn’t at all inspire me to start. However, one of the three male characters could meet up with the three spirits of Christmas and come to see the error of his ways, improving the sad outcome of that story.

On the humorous side, Bertie Wooster could meet up with Ebenezer Scrooge’s three Christmas ghosts and resolve to atone for his former self-indulgent lifestyle. He tries in his inept way to donate time + talent to some worthy cause, but Jeeves has to sort things out when they go awry.

Notes:

Cinderella, an old fairy tale, was recorded by French writer Charles Perrault
Oliver Twist is a classic novel by Charles Dickens
The Little Mermaid was a Hans Christian Anderson tale
Wuthering Heights was Emily Bronte’s only novel
Ebeneezer Scrooge is Charles Dicken’s notorious curmudgeon and tightwad
Pride & Prejudice was penned by Jane Austen
Romeo + Juliet, Hamlet and MacBeth were written by William Shakespeare
Lord Peter Wimsey was Dorothy Sayers’ famous detective
Miss Marple was Agatha Christie’s very successful sleuth
The Three Musketeers was written by Alexandre Dumas
The Great Gatsby was an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel
Bertie Wooster + his valet, Jeeves, were created by P. G. Wodehouse

2 thoughts on “Mashed Up Musings

  1. The notes at the end were helpful / and enjoyed this post very much and glad I made the time to come to your blog (as opposed to staying in the reader where your other post came up tonight)
    Anyhow – I never seem
    To tire of some of the mashups – esp anything with dickens’ three ghosts

    I am surprised you haven’t read the great gatsby.
    When you do I am curious to see your view of it!
    I was forced to read it in high school and skimmed it to get a good grade
    – had an average teacher for that one (not Mrs George who Made literature exciting)
    And then when my boys were growing it was on the queue for a read together and we put it down because it had drinking alcohol and a face slap!
    Not what they needed –
    Anyhow – I have not seen the holly wood movie – but when it came out I read the book (solo) and it is an easy read that you might like –
    It has social issues…. and more

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for your comments.I decided on the end notes because not everyone knows every old book and/or writer.
    The Great Gatsby has moral as well as social issues. Showing the lives of the decadent upper class in the 1920s, with several main characters having affairs and one fellow shot by a jealous husband, etc. The ending sounds like “much lost, nothing gained.” I like books where some useful knowledge or a better life is gained by, someone.

    There are a few books that I’ve read in my life where nothing was gained, no one was improved. The main character(s) totally spoiled their chances for happiness and life went on until they died kind of thing. Wuthering Heights. Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks, and The Stone Angel by Margaret Lawrence. I suppose if you want to learn what NOT to do in life, these are great examples.

    Like

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