As anyone who’s ever seen an episode of Glee can attest to, the world loves a good mash-up. Whether it’s the collision of two songs or a DJ layering multiple tracks and styles, the mixing of songs and musical genres has long been a popular innovation.
The other night, a friend and I decided that since this works so well in music—wildly opposing styles that somehow come together to actually sound great together—the same should be true of literature. Why shouldn’t literary genres and “types” be cast alongside one another in a single novel? Of course, we’ve all seen the many “fantasy-ified” versions of classic literature, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, most notably, but what about a serious, measured take on seemingly opposed writing styles coming together? If artists like Girl Talk—who manages to incorporate Neutral Milk Hotel, LL Cool J and Jefferson Airplane, for one small example, into one song—can be critically acclaimed musical innovators, then why can’t a similar mixing of styles emerge in the literary world.
What began as a serious discussion soon devolved into a contest of who could come up with the most far-fetched, yet possibly plausible combinations. As we got more adventurous in our pairings, and the results got wackier, we realized, that if a writer were to ever pull any of our suggestions off well that it would be…well…pretty great.
Here are a few of my favorites:
– Gothic alien invasion whodunit caper
– Western comedy of manners coming of age story
– Bodice-ripping under the sea adventure
– Legal thriller with wizards
– Futuristic sci-fi family drama
Surely you can come up with some better ones? What authors would be best capable of tackling such a feat?