A reader’s perspective on retelling of classic tales
A couple of years ago, three to be more specific, a movie was released with the most incredible title ever. Incredible as in not credible, hard to believe, unbelievable variety. It was called Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. To be honest, I’m a scardy cat so the idea of vampires is a bit unsettling, unless they are the kick butt variety like in Isabella’s A.J’s Locke in Scarlet Masquerade or Selene Hightower in Scarlet Assassin!Needless to say, I was NOT standing in line opening night to watch how Abraham Lincoln hunted them down. I’ve heard it is actually a pretty interesting story, but I will most likely not be able to comment on that one fully. So why am I bringing this up? Because another movie just hit the screens with a title that has me again, dropping my jaw in the incredible manner. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Really? Jane Austin knew some zombies? I didn’t get that when I first read Pride and Prejudice but watching the previews for this film, the women are serious badasses! But nope, not going to see it! I mean there are zombies- and those suckers are scary!
Interesting idea though, of taking a classic tale and giving it a modern edge. I think it did a lot for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet when Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes portrayed the lovers in a modern setting. Or even the adaptation of the same story musical style in West Side Story for the generation of movie goers in 1961. Shakespeare in itself is beautiful but can be difficult to understand. Put it in context that the younger generation can relate to and I have a feeling they were more likely to get involved in the discussion of other Shakespearian classics in their English classes. Or how about Jane Austen’s Emma being adapted for the big screen to appeal to a younger generation through Clueless starring Alicia Silverstone? Even Bill Murray’s character of Frank Cross in Scrooged was a version of Charles Dickens’ Ebenezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol. Heck you can Google any classic book and I’m sure there is some modern movie adaptation.
What about written adaptations of the classics though? I think our LesFic authors have done some remarkable retellings of some classics. I mean who doesn’t enjoy a classic love story? It only gets better when it’s the girl who gets the girl! And with a book you get to completely sink into the story and hang out with the characters unlike a large screen adaptations that is usually over in two hours. At least that is what I got to do when I was reading Annette Mori’s Asset Management! As the blurb says, it’s a modern day version of Robin Hood blended with The Three Musketeers. It was fun, daring, had the steal from the rich and return to the poor plus a band of women who were kick butt in action! This was the most recent adaptation I’ve read in our lesfic genre and I really enjoyed it!
I think my first classic story with a lesbian retelling was Chris Anne Wolfe’s Roses and Thorns: Beauty and the Beast Retold. The title alone lets the reader know what they are getting but Chris Anne Wolfe had such a beautiful presentation of the story I was thoroughly smitten with the beast and the beauty. In between I’ve also enjoyed a lesfic version of Cyrano de Bergerac in t.t. Thomas’ A Delicate Refusal and one of my personal favorite versions of Pride and Prejudice with a lesfic twist, Karin Kallmaker’s Just Like That. There are even books on my to be read list that are lesfic retellings such as Kate Christie’s Gay Pride and Prejudice and Andy Marquette’s The Secret of Sleepy Hollow, though I have to admit to being a little timid about this one- if I’m remembering correctly the basis of the story is a scary one isn’t it?
What is this retelling called? I mean there is the idea of fanfic of taking characters from TV shows and putting them into different settings while keeping their appearances and personalities. Does adapting a classic tale to include a more modern setting or more connectable characters- lesbians! have a special name? What classic retellings in the lesfic genre am I missing? Was it a believable version that you were able to connect with? And what classic tale out there needs to be retold with lesbian characters? I just love how talented our lesfic authors are and can’t wait to find more!