Rant disclaimer: the following is not professional, or polite, and more emotionally charged than well reasoned likely, and surely could be called sour grapes, whatever, go ahead, I don’t really care heroic if you’re so inclined.
“Coscom Entertainment is pleased to announce that Simon and Schuster’s Gallery Books imprint (formerly Pocket Books) has acquired the rights to reprint two of its mashup novels, The War of the Worlds Plus Blood, Guts and Zombies by H.G. Wells and Eric S. Brown, as well as Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Zombie Jim by Mark Twain and W. Bill Czolgosz.”
Are you kidding me? Seriously? Adding zombies to War of the Worlds is like please insert your own apoplectic simile or metaphor here because I am learning and am now willing to pass off someone else’s work as my own. And I’m sure Zombie Jim does honor to Twain and his anti-racist masterpiece. Right? I’m sure adding zombies totally enhanced it all.
All right. Sure, there are far more parasitic and dubious ways to make money and everyone has to feed their family, yeah, I got that. So does taking a classic in the public domain and adding a few thousand words of zombies make you a bad person? I’d argue yes, but I’m rational enough to know that I have no chance at winning that argument. So, no adding zombies to CLASSIC WORK X does not make you a bad person. But it does make you a bad writer–a nano-step above a plagiarist in my eyes–and you make baby Jesus cry art cry.
Fine. Screw art. Of course there’s entertainment for entertainment’s sake, but if you’re going to write fun schlock, at least have it be your own fun schlock. Not 75% Mark Twain/Jane Austen/Kilgore Trout and 25% your uninspired poop. Want to parody Austen’s outdated social sensibilities? Great and have at it. But how about, you know, write ALL the text yourself!
And you people who actually buy this stuff. I shake my angry and impotent finger at you too. If you didn’t buy it, then publishers wouldn’t publish it. At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work in theory.
Having played around in big publishing for a few years now, I probably know less than I did going in, but I think this coscom deal is a lose-lose for writers, even hacks like me. If these zombie tomes to idiocy sell, then you’ll see more of the same turds crapped out by more publishers. If those books tank (yay, and please oh please) then publishers like S&S loss money and with the current state of the publishing industry, they’ll now be even less likely to chance spending money on new/edgy voices (with something to actually say).