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I’d read it.

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?

12 Responses to I’d read it.

  1. jseliger says:

    Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose is essentially a text composed of other texts, as he puts it.

  2. Roxanne says:

    Arthurian spaghetti-western comedy – Wyatt Earp in King Arthurs Court.

    YA steampunk coming of age high-school drama. – Julia’s Sprockets

    70’s psychedelic werewolf adventure comedy – Hair…and Fangs

    Shakespearian historical fiction giant monster movie – King Kong the Eighth

  3. Melissa says:

    I could totally get into a Mermaid Vampire story. Would their be sharks involved? I love sharks.

  4. Donn says:

    They would be pretty great! Whodunits especially are the perfect “but set in…” genre.

    I wanna invent some too.

    Cyberpunk Greek tragedy.

    A diary of a teenage girl. Recounted in third person by a dispassionate cynical talking animal.

    An epic poem about slapstick cartoon characters set in Existentialist Paris.

    Hmm…trickier than it looks…

  5. Tamara says:

    Did you know that prairie dogs are cannibalistic and eat their own dead sometimes? How about Watership Down meets zombies?!

  6. Amy Armstrong says:

    I’m thinking spy fiction/paranormal romance. Joss Whedon could totally pull that off.

  7. Jennifer says:

    One of my favorite books recently was a mix between an Old West cowboy story and Sherlock Holmes. It was brilliant. 😀

    Also, I’d totally pay for a legal thriller with wizards. That could be fun.

    I’m far too tired to be clever at this hour, but I’m going to have to think on this.

  8. Rick Meyer says:

    Somali pirates board a downed alien spacecraft triggering an intergalactic hostage situation.

    Watership Down with zombie rabbits is a wonderful one.

  9. Sara says:

    The new Doctor Who seems to do this an awful lot. They have robots crashing 18th or 19th century France, Cybermen in Victorian London, and Fantastical forces sabotaging Agatha Christi’s life. That’s one of the things I love about the show- the anachronisms of space-age technology brought back in time.

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