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Literary Mash-Ups We'd Like to See

Now that book publishing is dying and all, struggling imprints are doing whatever they can to stay in business. Often, that can mean finding a successful formula and sticking to it. Cue literary mash-up mania! After the runaway success of Seth Grahame-Smith‘s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, publishers everywhere are looking for their very own smash-hit 19th-century novel remix. (This spring, look out for Jane Slayre and Little Women and Werewolves, among others.)

While we find these efforts amusing, we can’t help thinking the Victorian maiden + monster equation is already getting old. Instead, we’d like to see classic novels combined with current cultural obsessions and internet memes for maximum relevance. After the jump, check out our 10 best suggestions. Oh, and agents? If you’re game to shop some of these titles around, you know where to reach us.

The Great Catsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic chronicle of an American dream turned nightmare, translated into Lolcats and illustrated with high-quality images courtesy of I Can Has Cheezburger.

The Sisters Kardashian
Who has time to read 800 pages of Russian dudes fretting about God? This new version updates the spiritual conversation for the refreshingly uncomplicated Kardashian sisters as they try to make sense of that time Kourtney thought about getting an abortion but didn’t. Don’t worry, children of the internet: It’s a whole lot shorter than the original.

Sarah Palin’s The Sound and the Fury
William Faulkner’s lyrical, stream-of-consciousness novel is still a tale told by an idiot, but this time the moron is a woman who came frighteningly close to becoming our vice president. Instead of the post-World War I South, Sarah Palin’s The Sound and the Fury is set in post-election Alaska — an equally bleak environment. Note to producers: This theme could also work for Palin’s forthcoming reality show.

The Tempest: Extreme Makeover Edition
Now, when you hear about “a sea-change/Into something rich and strange,” what do you assume is about to happen? That’s right: Makeover time! When a group of frumpy voyagers arrive on an enchanted island, that impish, scheming stylist Ariel contrives to get them out of those torn, wet clothes and into some couture, honey. Prospero never looked so young and fresh.

Lady Gaga’s Fan: The Story of a Freaky Woman
We’re fairly certain that if Oscar Wilde were around in 2010, his muse would be none other than fabulous, androgynous, post-glam pop idol Lady Gaga. With that in mind, this updated take on Lady Windermere finds Her Gaganess’s boyfriend bringing his secret paramour to the star’s birthday party. Instead of getting jealous, our forward-thinking heroine falls for the girl and steals her away from the scheming villain.

The House of Girth
Hey, Upper East Siders. Gossip Girl here. In the 21st century, nothing as fussy as perceived harlotry is preventing poor Lily Bart from marrying well. Instead, the iconic social climber must face the fact that she’s packed on some pounds since her debutante days. Can Edith Wharton’s heroine lose the weight in time to land a wealthy mate before her 30th birthday — or should she just give up now and settle for a shabby gent who doesn’t mind some junk in the trunk?

The Cantorbury Tales
Not to knock The Miller or The Pardoner or our personal favorite, The Wife of Bath, but last week gave us a clear candidate for 2010’s best teller of tall tales: Congressman Eric Cantor. In this new take on Chaucer’s seminal Middle English poem, the Virginia lawmaker spins enough unlikely (but entertaining!) yarns to make any grueling roadtrip fly by.

Twilight of the Twihards
If Nietzsche was disgusted by the religion and culture of late-19th-century Europe, just imagine the righteous contempt he’d have for Edward Cullen’s obsessive fans.

Eli Roth’s The Sun Also Sets
Ernest Hemingway’s band of merry, talkative, lovestruck American expats journey from France to Spain. But before the drunken gang has a chance to scuffle over the lovely Lady Brett Ashley, the revelers are kidnapped and dragged to a Hostel-style torture chamber. And just like that, all the macho posturing is right out the window!

Zombie Alice in Remakeland
Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s psychedelic childhood fever dream, just can’t take it anymore. She’s been dead for over 75 years, but every time she starts to settle in for a calm, peaceful afterlife, some upstart writer or film director has the bright idea to revive her character — only with some supposedly thrilling twist. Now, Zombie Alice is back for one last battle: A fight for the restful eternity she so bloodthirstily craves. Tim Burton, consider yourself warned.

Photo: Sean Ruch. Model: Minou Blackford.

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  1. [...] genre is a sure bet: the pop culture mash-up. And while we’ve certainly given some thought to where this trend is headed, we somehow managed to miss the totally obvious combination of zombies and Star Trek. The newly [...]

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