cura librorum

seriously. this is getting ridiculous
March 21, 2010, 09:48
Filed under: Book Reviews, Thoughts

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

As If abolishing slavery weren't enough

So… I thought that Quirk Books had had its fun with literature. But no, Seth Grahame-Smith desecrates another poor helpless dead person again. This time, much more shamelessly, since this is actually Abraham Lincoln’s BIOGRAPHY. Come on. This guy wrote “The Big Book of Porn: A Penetrating Look at the World of Dirty Movies,” and “How to Survive a Horror Movie: All the Skills to Dodge the Kills.”

Don’t you think that the satirization of canonical historical figures and books has gone on long enough? I mean… sure, we have the Colbert Report. The Daily Show. The Onion. But ever since P& P& Zombies, there have been authors upon authors trying to scratch a bit of fame and nudge-nudge wink-wink humor and fame out of this trend. I mean, there’s humor, and then there’s just pure slapstick.

But there’s more. Mansfield Park and Mummies. Queen Victoria, Demon Hunter. The Undead World of Oz. Emma and the Werewolves. The War of the Worlds plus Blood, Guts, and Zombies. (very subtle) Android Karenina. Robin Hood & Friar Tuck: Zombie Killers – A Canterbury Tale (So many things wrong with this last one. First of all: Robin Hood & Friar Tuck were not killers. Lovers, not fighters, I say. And second, there is NO Robin Hood or Friar Tuck in the Canterbury Tales. Robin Hood is an invention of the Northern English imagination whereas Chaucer was a Londonite… AND he lived before the popularity of the Robin Hood legend)

I expose this as just a thinly veiled attempt for people to 1) convince other people that they’re cultured enough to have read the original 2) cultured enough to enjoy the original 3) cultured enough to take everything they read with irony.

So buy it. Put it on your bookshelf and laugh about it with your friends. Abraham Lincoln is watching.

NPR article here

2 Comments so far
Leave a comment


I’m the author of ‘Robin Hood and Friar Tuck: Zombie Killers – A Canterbury Tale by Paul A. Freeman’. I’ve enjoyed your take about monster mashups.

If I could, I would like to put my book into context.

Although my novella includes zombies, it’s not actually part of the ‘monster mash’ movement. The Robin Hood legends we all know and love are actually composed of myth fragments from a number of sources (In the 8th century there was a character known as ‘Robin the Beheader’, and the romantic ‘Robin of Locksley’ persona didn’t surface until the nineteenth century).

Although I allude to one or two legend fragments in my book, the novella is in effect an original tale. In fact, the first half takes place not in Sherwood Forest, but in the Holy Land during the ill-fated First Crusade.

Also, ‘Robin Hood and Friar Tuck: Zombie Killers’ is alternatively titled ‘The Monk’s Second Tale’, and is the longest of a series of eight ‘new’ Canterbury Tales that I’ve so far written. It’s part of my ambitious ‘Canterbury Tales’ project which involves each of Chaucer’s pilgrims telling a second story in narrative poetry. All my Canterbury Tales are original stories, though I’ve borrowed Chaucer’s pilgrims to tell the short prologues and epilogues.

For your information, Chaucer (who lived in the 14th century) envisaged his pilgrims each telling four stories – two on their outward journey and two on their homeward journey. Unfortunately he died before even completing a quarter of his tales.

The Canterbury Tales I’ve written so far (which chronicle the pilgrims’ homeward journey to London) are all of different genres, varying from fables to fabliaux, and from crime fiction to chick lit; and since Coscom Entertainment offered me a chance at publication with ‘The Monk’s Second Tale’, this became my ‘horror’ Canterbury Tale’.

The rationale behind this project is to renew interest in narrative poetry and to give students who are aiming to study the original Chaucer tales in Middle English a stepping stone by which to pique their interest.

On a geographical note, although Chaucer was London-born, he travelled extensively in Europe as a king’s envoy, and in his ‘Cook’s Tale’ there are included characters from northern England who talk in dialect.

My Canterbury Tales project is now going quite well. ‘The Miller’s Second Tale’ is being edited for an anthology of neo-medieval literature, and the abridged version of ‘The Knight’s Second Tale’ (a comic Arthurian legend) will appear soon in the Every Day Poets’ inaugural poetry anthology.

Sorry I’ve been a bit long-winded, but this project of mine is very close to my heart and I wanted to show you the whole picture.

Thank you for giving me this chance at explaining what on the face of things is a sensationally titled band-wagon book, but is in reality meant to be anything but.

Below are links to my website, where my Canterbury Tales project is explained in detail along with samples of my work, and a link to my Robin Hood book at Coscom Entertainment:

I hope you will be kind enough to share my words with your fellow book lovers and I’m glad my book has stimulated you into looking into the legendary Robin Hood.

All the best

Paul A. Freeman

Comment by Paul A. Freeman

Hi Paul,

I’m sorry for your feelings about my post. I didn’t mean to castigate it as one part in a larger trend, and I’d be happy to read a copy of your book. I just have a hideous aversion to books that deliberately make serious literature facetious and irreverent, hence my issue with the whole Jane Austen thing. One likes to think that the authors would hardly have liked to be made into trivialities such as these… but who am I to say?

In any case, I appreciate you contacting me and the passion you have for Chaucer and his Tales! I’m looking forward to what you create, and I’m happy to read it if I get the chance!


Comment by itssaars

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