LITERARY HYBRIDS

April 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

Back in the 90’s the Washington Post invited its readers to create new literature by combining the works of two different authors, and to provide a suitable description of the merged book.

The prizewinners:

Machiavelli’s Little Prince.  Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s classic children’s tale as presented by Machiavelli. The whimsy of human nature is embodied in many delightful and intriguing characters, all of whom are executed.

Green Eggs and Hamlet. Would you kill him in his bed? Thrust a dagger through his head? I would not, could not, kill the King. I could not do that evil thing. I would not wed this girl, you see. Now get her to a nunnery.

Where’s Walden? Alas, the challenge of locating Henry David Thoreau in each richly-detailed drawing loses its appeal when it quickly becomes clear that he is always in the woods.

Catch-22 in the Rye. Holden learns that if you’re insane, you’ll probably flunk out of prep school, but if you’re flunking out of prep school, you’re probably not insane.

2001: A Space Iliad. The Hal 9000 computer wages an insane 10-year war against the Greeks after falling victim to the Y2K bug.

Rikki-Kon-Tiki-Tavi. Thor Heyerdahl recounts his attempt to prove Rudyard Kipling’s theory that the mongoose first came to India on a raft from Polynesia.

The Maltese Faulkner. Is the black bird a tortured symbol of Sam’s struggles with race and family? Does it signify his decay of soul along with the soul of the Old South? Is it merely a crow, mocking his attempts to understand? Or is it worth a cool mil?

Jane Eyre Jordan. Plucky English orphan girl survives hardships to lead the Chicago Bulls to the NBA championship.

Looking for Mr. Godot. A young woman waits for Mr. Right to enter her life. She has a loooong wait.

The Scarlet Pimpernel Letter. An 18th-century English nobleman leads a double life, freeing comely young adulteresses from the prisons of post-Revolution France.

Lorna Dune. An English farmer, Paul Atreides, falls for the daughter of a notorious rival clan, the Harkonnens, and pursues a career as a giant worm jockey in order to impress her.

The Remains of the Day of the Jackal. A formal English butler puts his loyalty to his employer above all else, until he is persuaded to join a plot to assassinate Charles de Gaulle.

The Invisible Man of La Mancha. Don Quixote discovers a mysterious elixir, which renders him invisible. He proceeds to go on a mad rampage of corruption and terror, attacking innocent people in the streets and all the while singing “To Fight the Invisible Man!” until he is finally stopped by a windmill.

Of Three Blind Mice and Men. Burgess Meredith has his limbs hacked off by a psychopathic farmer’s wife. Did you ever see such a sight in your life?

Planet of the Grapes of Wrath. Astronaut lands on mysterious planet only to discover that it is his very own home planet of Earth which has been taken over by the Joads, a race of dirt-poor corn farmers who miraculously developed rudimentary technology and regained the ability to speak after exposure to nuclear radiation.

The Exorstentialist. Camus psychological thriller about a priest who casts out a demon by convincing it that there’s really no purpose to what it’s doing.

Paradise Lost in Space. Satan, Moloch, and Belial are sentenced to spend eternity in a flying saucer with a goofy robot, an evil scientist, and two annoying children.

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