Monthly Archives: January 2009

Zombie Lit

Yesterday Eric sent me a link to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, a mashup novel by Seth Grahame-Smith coming out in April. Eric wasn’t sure how zombies could be wedged into P&P, but I gotta say I don’t think any wedging is required — P&P practically begs to be redone with zombies. I have no idea what the actual content of Grahame-Smith’s book is, but here’s how I would do it:

You can pretty much stick with the original plot until Jane takes ill at Netherfield. She is, of course, ill with a slow-manifesting zombie virus so she can infect everyone at the Netherfield ball via the Bingley’s. How’d she get it? Oh, let’s say she pricks her finger on strange, imported hat decoration while browsing at the milliner’s.

Jane survives the illness and becomes a non-zombie carrier of the now-airborne virus, so she also takes it with her on her trip to London. In fact, all the Bennet sisters are NZCs, and Lydia spreads it to Brighton.

Note: once people start turning into zombies, all Bennet sisters successfully fight them off, except for Mary, who gets eaten. And maybe also Kitty.

Oh, and when the Bennet sisters are discovered to be NZC, there must be blame-oriented fuss between Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, more or less reflective of the “Why Is Lydia a Spoiled Slut?” part of P&P.

Of course, Elizabeth ends up with Zombie Darcy, who, because he was so terribly terribly buttoned up to begin with, shows his zombie condition not by feasting on flesh of the living but by chilling out and professing his love to Elizabeth (he is still attracted to brains). She then struggles with but eventually overcomes her prejudice against zombies (“Mr. Darcy, you astonish me! I am in the habit of shooting zombies, not marrying them.”) when she discovers she is a non-zombie carrier and all her potential partners would become zombies anyway, and thus Zombie Darcy starts to look pretty good.

And then they live happily ever after in a zombie-devastated Britain. The end.

All of that seemed pretty straightforward to me, and I got to wondering how well other classics would convert to zombie stories. And that’s when I realized that Pride and Prejudice was special — it mapped to the zombie apocalypse better than anything I else I could think of. The only thing that came close was Zombie Hamlet:

Before the action of the play Claudius kills Hamlet’s father with an exotic poison which, yes, turns Hamlet Sr. into a zombie. Marcellus and Bernardo see Zombie Hamlet Sr. wandering aimlessly below the battlements, freak out, tell Horatio, and the play proceeds as before, except that when Zombie Hamlet Sr. confronts/attacks his son, Hamlet (uninjured) pushes him into a wardrobe and locks him in. Play continues as in original, only Hamlet’s madness is a little less faked, what with keeping his zombie father in a closet. When Hamlet returns from England he opens the closet, as Hamlet Sr. has gone quiet and Hamlet has convinced himself that he imagined the whole thing. Of course, Zombie Hamlet Sr. jumps out and gets a good bite in before his son lops off his zombie head.

Things start moving pretty quickly now:

Infected Hamlet goes to Gertrude’s chamber and turns zombie while berating her for marrying Claudius. Polonius gets attacked while attempting to save her. She runs off. Zombie Hamlet wanders the castle. Horatio sees him and goes for help. Wandering Zombie Hamlet attacks Ophelia before finding Laertes, Gertrude, and Claudius together.

Laertes tries to protect his king and queen from Zombie Hamlet, but of course his sword is a) useless and b) carrying the zombie virus after a few good thrusts through ZH. During the struggle Laertes accidentally cuts himself with his own sword and flees. Zombie Hamlet makes short work of Gertrude and Claudius.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern escape hanging in England and return to Elsinore, where they are eaten by Zombie Polonius, Zombie Ophelia, and Zombie Laertes.

Horatio returns with Fortinbras and his army, and together they behead the zombie Danes. Goodnight, sweet prince.

Up next: Zombie Mill on the Floss.

The Day the Spam Stood Still

I didn’t realize how much spam had integrated itself into my life until it was suddenly…gone.*

The first spam of the day usually comes via my phone, since I have a quick look at my primary e-mail account when I wake up. Every morning I expect to see the NYT headline summary e-mail, a Yahoo groups digest, a few personal e-mails, and at least four pieces of spam.

This morning there were a couple of lovely personal emails, but no NYT, no Yahoo group digest, and, strangest of all, no spam. Wha? Nothing but communications from people I actually know? Did I wake up in 1993? If I turn on the TV will I find hot, young Bruce Campbell astride a horse? Alas, no, since I don’t have a TV, as it still 2009 and I get all my televisual entertainment through my laptop.

Also spam. My secondary e-mail account is the older, more spamtractive one, and I haven’t bothered to set it up one the phone. But it also has more active filtering, so it usual yields only the occasional personal e-mail and a designated folder full of offers from Amazon (since I bought several volumes of Sandman, a bathroom rug, and a Cinnabar Fiestaware butter dish, I must need The Watchmen, Tangerine Fiestaware salt and pepper shakers, and of course yet another bathroom rug. Because you can’t have too many bathroom rugs). This is also where the e-mails go. Basically anything that I *could* unsubscribe from, but for whatever reason, don’t.

No spam in the secondary account this morning, either. The weirdness continues.

I had a theory that the primary account ISP had gotten Tough on Spam without my knowledge, and had caught the NYT and Yahoo e-mails in a new, tighter net, but the NYT turned up in my inbox when I fired up my laptop…it was just late. And when I logged in to Yahoo, and it turns out that my group had just gone quiet yesterday. Also, there were no changes to the spam sittings on my account. Maybe they implemented something across the board.

Now the third spam channel I shut down myself yesterday, when I finally upgraded to WordPress 2.7 and installed Akismet. I tried to use comment spam filters on the old version, but they had an unfortunate tendency to lock me out of administration. So I was in the habit of scanning over the comments, approving the rare actual first-time commenter, and then Deleting All. The problem is that All was working out to about 1,500 a day. So when my excellent ISP sent me a completely appropriate UPGRADE OR DIE!!! e-mail yesterday, the only proper response was to bow meekly and say, “Yes, ma’am, sorry ma’am” and spend a day upgrading.

It wasn’t too bad — the database upgrade went swimmingly, no problems with admin access or functionality. I did wrestle with the White Screen of Death for the blog itself, but that turned out to be file corruption during the upload. I just did another upload and all was well. I even got lucky and didn’t have to replace the old theme, although I see a couple of weirdnesses that need fixing, and I’m tempted by some of the new toys.

Having to stop and take a day to do the upgrade might have been a problem, since A and I were supposed to move on Friday and I have packing to do, but yesterday afternoon I found out that the new flat’s kitchen roof fell in, so we’re not moving until Monday. Handy, huh?

(I’m sorry. I take perverse pleasure in burying the lede.)

Yep, the kitchen roof “fell in”. I’m not sure how big a hole we’re talking about — yesterday’s reconnaissance attempt yielded no useful information. We’re taking a “these things happen” approach, since the flat is otherwise ideal. It’s also newly refurbished, so if the walls start to crumble, at least they’ve had a nice coat of paint.

* Yeah, CJ Roberts, that’s a split infinitive…just like in the Constitution, baby.

Very Much Like

A got the BBC Radiophonic Workshop – A Retrospective from his brother for Christmas, so I can now confirm that the following things sound very much like the arrival of the TARDIS*:

– Sweeping dry pine needles off an Ikea LACK coffee table (only birch finish verified)
– Fumbling around in a terra cotta pot full of rubber bands and binder clips
– Me inhaling during my Christmas cold

That’s right, the lucky boy has the BBC Radiophonic Workshop – A Retrospective and a girl who can make (a very limited range of) Doctor Who sound effects.

*Also a door key on piano wire (and, for the very geeky, other things).