Write a literary mash-up, win a laptop!
Wish you had thought of mashing up zombies and Jane Austin, thereby producing Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, one of the commercial literary successes of recent times? Here’s your chance to redeem yourself and possibly win, if not fame and fortune, a new laptop.
The folks over at BoingBoing announced just such a contest yesterday. You can win an HP Envy laptop (priced at $1,800) for rewriting a scene from a classic book in the style of another classic book. The contest ends Friday — not much time, but how hard can it be?
Judging from the entries already posted on the site, pretty darned hard. I suggest avoiding Star Trek, as in the entry in which the crew of the Enterprise finds itself beamed into A Christmas Carole. Too predictable. Also, please, leave Hemingway alone. His terse, declarative style is not as easy as it looks, and the results are usually tepid.
People who take joy in this kind of cleverness will find much delight in these efforts, even if they do not care to enter the contest themselves. A few of the best, or at least cleverest, so far: Chapter four of Thoreau’s Walden as written by H.P. Lovecraft (“My mind was invaded by the mad squawking of a hooting owl…”).
Someone has mashed up the first chapter of Genesis with the opening paragraph of The Catcher in the Rye (“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is how in the beginning, god created the universe, and how it was all formless and desolate, and all that kind of crap”). There’s also a mash-up of Catcher and Romeo and Juliet.
Hamlet is meshed with The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe (“Be all my sins remember’d/ the answer is 42…”) The first lines of One Hundred Years of Solitude recast as the opening of A Tale of Two Cities. Raymond Carver takes a turn at Dracula. Kurt Vonnegut tackles A Christmas Carole. “Peanuts” retells Wuthering Heights.
Some inspired parodist merges The Little Prince with A Clockwork Orange, which would probably get my vote, if I had one (‘There was me, having scatted all smashy-wash in the Desert of Sahara. My plane having been like tolchocked in the blustery sand and I all on my ownsy not having a single droog to give help to the helpless, Oh my brothers. It was real horrorshow, having not enough moloko to peet for even a week”).
And one poor soul, either missing the point or just taking the opportunity to plug one of his favorite writers, offers an exchange, unaltered as far as I can tell, from Terry Bisson’s 1990 short story, “They’re Made Out of Meat.” I mention this only because this is one of the funniest and most heartbreaking sci fi stories ever. Read it in its entirety at Bisson’s website. You’re welcome.
Back to the contest. Some of the entries already posted are pretty darned good. If you want to win that laptop, get cracking. And if you do enter the contest, please post a copy of your mash-up here, in today’s comment section, so the rest of us can enjoy it, too. Best of luck.
Uh, but just to clarify: We’re not giving away a laptop, BoingBoing is. Go to their site to enter the actual contest.