Genre Jazz – niiiiice…

Fan re-edit of ‘Splash’ trailer in a political thriller stylee – that’s what I’m talking about...

Writing parody mash-up on here made me realise two things: (1) That it’s my strongest point writing-wise so far, and (2) Youtube kicks everyone’s ass! 🙂

Yes, for a bit of sideline gossip, the day after publishing The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum last week, I heard from the top worldwide romance publisher. With suggestions for tweaking my submitted example of work (containing no zombies) and using my ‘accessible’ romance writing style, so that I would suit one or the other of their imprints. On a bit of a high from finishing the 135k-word Sarah Bellum Zombie Adventures epic earlier than expected, I was planning on having a few months’ break from blog chapter postings anyway, so the prospect of re-writing a shorter chick-lit of around 55-65k sounds like a way of passing the time. So I’m looking into it and reading their latest releases.

Trouble is, I keep thinking of new stuff I want to parody 🙂

Something that’s inspired me lately, is the trend on Youtube for re-edits of trailers and movie clips, by fans. My brothers and I used to do our own re-dubbed voice-overs for Star Trek when we were kids, on an ancient VHS with a Play/Rec/Dub setting. Must have been the earliest invented!

I don’t just mean ‘re-edits’ as in, a fan’s favourite bits of the movie. I mean where they’ve changed the implied genre, or storyline, as in the political-thrillerised version of ‘Splash’ above. That’s really creative, and the great thing about Youtube is everyone can share and appreciate a different slant on what Hollywood does.

It has been done in books already – most notably with ‘Death Comes to Pemberley’ by P.D. James, and ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ by Seth Grahame-Smith.

Two different interpretations of the same Jane Austen romance. James took the original characters from ‘Pride and Prejudice’ but not the original book or prose, and penned a murder mystery in place of a happy ever after – but her imitation of Austen’s style is spot on, so it is the genre which has changed, but not the voice as such.

Grahame-Smith took the original text – legally, as it is in the ‘public domain’ meaning out of copyright worldwide – copyright expires in most countries at the wonderful-sounding date of ‘death (of the author) + 70 years’ or in a few cases ‘death (author) + 100 years’ – and added butt-kicking martial artist zombie-killer action to it.

If you plan to do similar, as in either of these examples, make sure the original content you are planning on mashing up is in the ‘public domain’ (as defined by the time-spans above). Public domain does NOT mean ‘the characters have been discussed in the Daily Mail’ or that they have fan pages on Facebook, or profiles on Wiki.

Parody as made by National Lampoon, and the Barry Trotter books etc, is a reworking of a genre, or recognisable copyrighted current franchise – but with new characters, which may sound and act similar to the originals, and also importantly, with jokes in. Although ‘parody’ is still not recognised in all countries (some consider it copyright infringement where readily identifiable, and deem them not publishable, as with fan-fiction), many books and films, especially fantasy/humour (including Pratchett’s Discworld series) pay homage to earlier works in ways that the reader or viewer can identify with.

For this to work, the parody element – the tribute, or homage – has to be something that connects broadly with the audience… Hell, I’ve just realised it sounds like I’m on a podium at some really dull masterclass 🙂

That’s the bare bones of it. The part I’m supposed to be discussing today, is the genre twist option. Where, like P.D. James, you take an old tale, and tell it for a different audience. I hear that very kinky things are currently going on in the world of crusty old romances at the minute, never mind murder mysteries and zombies. The difference with kinky stuff, is you knew it was going on anyway – just that the doors were closed on the reader most of the time, and people didn’t floss or shower back then. Mmmm…

Anywho…

Supposing, for example, you took Sherlock Holmes and re-wrote him in the style of Bridget Jones’ Diary? Or Frankenstein in the style of a CSI: Las Vegas police proceedural, analysing all of the body parts going missing? I’d like to see Kathy Reichs do that one… It was done fantastically with Johnny Depp in ‘Sleepy Hollow’ – so it’s not an entirely new concept (just look at the action-style on show in the latest Sherlock-themed TV and movie releases), but potentially a form of almost-unexploited literary mash-up yet to reach the mainstream humour of bookshelves.

However, you’ll have to run to catch up with the kids on Youtube:

Brokeback Titanic re-edit by wingtsun20

🙂

Splat: A Zombie Parody

Depeche Mode vs. Duran Duran – I Feel Loved/Save A Prayer mash-up…

“We will have to climb a little way,” Crispin points out, over the two-way radio. “But it is not treacherous.”

Hmmm – not exactly what I was thinking… The opening of the giant tunnel in the underwater cliff-face is still a good thirty or so feet above the floor of the ocean shelf we are currently occupying, in our deep-sea diving-suits. And as we draw closer, I see more of those juvenile Burrowing Sea Centipedes popping disturbingly in and out of the vertical surface of the limestone.

It’s rather like watching a demon-possessed Hornby train-set.

“After you,” I say warily, to Ace Bumgang.

I don’t like the idea of either him or Carvery Slaughter bringing up my rear at the moment. Not while they’re armed with harpoon guns, particularly.

So I hang back, until even the zombie transvestite Homer N. Dry is in front of me, his Geisha wig now slightly lopsided inside his diving-helmet. I watch carefully where he places his hands and feet in the limestone wall, observing the safest potential route upwards.

The water provides a little buoyancy, even though the diving-boots are weighted, for ease and stability of traversing the sea-bed.

“Watch out for the Cannibal Corals,” Crispin’s voice warns. “They are more territorial than you might think.”

I snatch my left hand away from a pit in the surface, as a young Centipede head emerges from it, scattering limestone sand into the ocean current. It pauses, before heading out across the surface of the wall, on its many articulated legs.

It passes over the living branches and folds of a Coral outcrop, which instantly reacts, extruding some whitish tripe-like fleshy mantle from within, attacking and enveloping the intruder. Within seconds, the struggling seven-foot-long Sea Centipede has been stripped of all living tissue, leaving behind a fragile shell of exoskeleton.

Within a few more brief seconds, the segments of remaining shell are washed apart by the current, adrift on the tide.

A giant Brittlestar or Basket Starfish picks its way carefully over the wall’s surface in the meantime, ominously, like a passing tumbleweed.

I can almost hear the Mexican bandito flutes…

Crispin and Carvery have reached the summit, and turn to assist Ace next. As I look up, the great shadow of a Manta Ray emerges from the tunnel over their heads, soaring above us silently, like a stealth bomber.

All of my internal organs scrunch into a messy knot, until the long whip of its deadly tail finally curls out of range and vanishes, in the direction of the Deep Ocean Trench.

One at a time, Ace and Homer also complete the climb, and disappear over the top into the giant tunnel.

“Did you see that?” I hear Carvery say, over the radio. “Something moved back there…”

“Stay vigilant,” Crispin’s voice advises. “Wait… yes. Do not make any sudden moves…”

I freeze in my ascent. Does that order even include me?

What’s going on up there?!

For the next few moments, I hear nothing. My brain goes slowly and horribly numb.

What are they doing?

Are they still alive??!

I decide I will have to risk a peek, or stay clinging to the underwater limestone cliffs for ever. Determinedly, I reach up with my right hand, for another hand-hold. And then another, levering myself upward in the heavy boots…

A Sea Centipede bursts out of the rock at eye-level, and I swallow my scream, wary of pissing off Carvery Slaughter any more than I already have – if he’s still around to act on it, that is.

But that’s not the worst of it…

The juvenile insect seems as startled as I am, and lunges. With the sound of hailstones against a windowpane, dozens of armoured legs stampede around my diving-helmet, treating me to a close-up view of the long pale undercarriage of the creature, and its almost mechanically-moving segments as they wrap around and around…

It drags me off-balance, away from the limestone cliff, and I lurch backwards towards the sea-floor once more, scrabbling to try and grab the wriggling beast as it runs all over me in a territorial frenzy.

And then just as quickly, it is torn away. By what, I can’t see – and I’m still falling.

Until something closes on my upper arms from behind, like steel pincers, halting my sinking progress through the waters. What on Earth…?

My journey suddenly reverses, and at an alarming speed, I shoot upwards again.

…Right to the top of the wall I was climbing, and the entrance to the tunnel. Where I’m deposited gently onto my feet once more.

In the distance, I can see the others moving around by the flashlights set into their headgear, in the darkness ahead. But what just…?

The pincer-sensation is released, and I manage to turn around, trying to ready my harpoon gun. Just as I raise it level, it is abruptly snatched from my grip.

I gasp in shock.

For I’m gazing into the green eyes of the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen – who has no diving-gear, no shirt on – just a snake tattoo, and a bit of strategically-placed seaweed – and my harpoon gun, in his right hand.

He blows a kissing salute on the two forefingers of his other hand, and grins – and then is gone, with the powerful flick of a muscular silver tail – which nearly sends me over backwards again.

“Watch out for the Humungous Rock Scorpions,” I hear Crispin saying, as I wonder if there‘s anything else new left to see in the world now. My mind is reeling. “They respond well to a show of strength – our harpoons may need to be deployed here.”

Well… if that isn’t just bloody typical…

Mermaid-spotting in the original ‘Splash’ – enjoy 🙂

More mindless mayhem: The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum

Also available for all other devices, and online reading, on Smashwords