Has the Mash-up Novel Run its Course?

A mash-up novel (also called mashup or mashed-up novel), is a work of fiction which combines the text from pre-existing literature, often a classic work of fiction, with another genre, such as horror, into a single mashed-up narrative. Though the term itself wasn’t coined till about 2009, the first mash-up (of sorts) may have been "Move Under Ground" by Nick Mamatas, a 2004 novel combining the Beat style of Jack Kerouac with the cosmic horror of H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. The first mash-up proper was Seth Grahame-Smith’s hugely successful 2009 novel, "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies". Subsequent mash-up novels include "Sense and Sensibility and Seamonsters", "Little Women and Werewolves" and "Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter" (also by Grahame-Smith), the last of which was adapted into a film of the same name. A more recent phenomenon within the genre is the combination of more than two original works, or genres, as in the case of Robinson Crusoe (The Eerie Adventures of the Lycanthrope), which combines the original novel with elements borrowed from the works of H.P. Lovecraft as well as the popular genre of werewolf fiction, and is accordingly attributed to three authors – Daniel Defoe, H.P. Lovecraft, and Peter Clines. Mash-up novels are, by their very nature, derivative and lacking in creative substance … or am I being hypercritical? Is it all just a cheap marketing gimmick that’s doomed to die from lack of originality… or does the mash-up have potential creative legs to keep it running?

  • You knocked the nail on the head with this one. Often these books will coast along on the popularity of the source material and come off as a gimmick. – AGMacdonald 5 years ago
  • I hope it isn't dying out! Maybe a more judicious choice of original source material could be considered - I think Jane Austen has been done to 'death', pardon the pun. – JudyPeters 5 years ago

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