Imaginary Alternative Big Reads

by Kieran Healy on November 26, 2003

So Austen and Tolkien top Norm’s poll. Assuming fungible goods and transitive preferences, it follows that a hybrid version of these two authors would also prove very popular. Thus, I want to see Pride and Prejudice rewritten a la Tolkien. A new title might be needed. Pride and Preciousness perhaps, or Sauron and Sarumanity. Also vice versa. “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in grubby clothes smoking pipeweed in the corner must be leader of the Dunedain, lost King of the West and worth four or five thousand a year. What a fine thing for our Hobbits!”



Ophelia Benson 11.26.03 at 10:07 pm

Hmm…interesting thought. Now, if Wuthering Heights were at the top and Tolkien at 2, the combination could be relatively easy. But Austen and Tolkien…oil and water. Of course that will make it all the more fun to write.

And I say that as one who had Wuthering Heights and an Austen in her top three, and can’t bear Tolkien. So you see.


John Kozak 11.26.03 at 11:20 pm

I’ve found myself doing film versions of this game recently. E.g.:

Matrix/Beckett: Ms. Moss’s sprinting style bears a close resemblance to Jacques Moran’s account of his own in “Molloy”, and obviously the gnomic rituals and gnostic postures are air-kissing cousins.

X-Men/Greenaway: saw bits of X-Men 2 this afternoon. Isn’t “Charles Xavier kills all the non-mutants” a perfect prequel to “The Falls”?


Dell Adams 11.27.03 at 10:33 am

Kieran: Great minds think alike.


Jeffrey Kramer 11.27.03 at 11:26 am

  ‘And this is your real opinion! This is your final resolve! Very well. I shall now know how to act. Do not imagine, Gandalf, that your ambition will ever be gratified. I came to try you. I hoped to find you reasonable; but depend upon it I will carry my point.’
  In this manner Saruman talked on till they were at the door of the carriage, when, turning hastily round, he added,

  ‘I take no leave of you, Wizard. I send no compliments to your Hobbit friends. You deserve no such attention. The Dark Lord and I are most seriously displeased.’


jholbo 11.27.03 at 11:49 am

That is just very damn funny.


Chris 11.28.03 at 7:08 pm

So I guess I should mention the Terminator meets Jane Austen story that was concocted on a newsgroup:


novalis 11.29.03 at 6:02 am

What about simply reading actual fantasy of manners? See a provisional list at:

(I think I found that link via comments on Making Light)

I have read the first two Brust novels mentioned (and just picked up the third today), and loved them — they were witty, charming, and elegant. (I’ve not read any of Brust’s other works, and I hear they’re not the same at all).

Also from that list, I read Swordpoint. It was quite good, although Alec annoyed me (perhaps because he reminded me too much of my own dark side). I’ve heard from two people (one of whose opinion I actually trust on literary matters) that the sequel isn’t nearly as good because it doesn’t contain Richard and Alec, so I’ve chosen to skip it.


Arthur D. Hlavaty 11.30.03 at 4:26 pm

Too new for the Fantasy of Manners list is Tooth and Claw, by Jo Walton. It’s a Trollope novel in which all the characters are dragons.

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