Feb 10, 2010

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Jane Austen and Ben Winters

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Jane Austen and Ben Winters is another mash-up of classic fiction and fantasy.  The basic story is the same as the Marianne and Elinor deal with abject poverty, searching for love and affection, and relatives who are less than pleasant, while at the same time navigating their sisterly relationship. The twist is that sea monsters have taken control of the water and attack humans daring to cross the sea or live below it in Sub-Station Beta.

"Colonel Brandon, the friend of Sir John, suffered from a cruel affliction, the likes of which the Dashwood sisters had heard of, but never seen firsthand.  He bore a set of long, squishy tentacles protruding grotesquely from his face, writhing this way and that, like hideous living facial hair of slime green."  (Page 37)

Readers will either enjoy reading a mash-up of Jane Austen's work with its fantastical and historically inaccurate elements (i.e. the existence of wet suits, submarines, and underwater domes where people live and work) or they will throw the book aside as ridiculous.  The trouble with these genre benders is that they often polarize readers in one camp or another.  Unlike Seth Grahame-Smith's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which merely inserts new sentences to achieve the goal of making the Bennets zombie slayers, Winters creates a story nearly all his own, but using Austen's Dashwood sisters.

"'It is impossible that she did not know,' Sir John answered, 'For a sister to a sea witch is certain to be a sea witch herself.'  . . .  'As I said, the witches take the physical form of human women,' explained Sir John.  'There is nothing they can do about their personalities.'"  (Page 320)

By remaking Austen's world and threatening the characters in it with deranged sea monsters, Winters takes a number of liberties with the text, although he does maintain Austen's style for the most part.  However, unlike Grahame-Smith's mash-up where readers discover how the Bennets became skillful zombie slayers, the mysterious Sub-Station Beta and its "experiments" are not revealed or even hinted at for most of the book.  This flaw can make it difficult for readers to continue reading this adventure because so much is unknown and the readers are scrambling in the dark as characters run from monsters, play games, chat while being attacked by monsters, bring up mysterious smoking mountains and five-pointed stars, and generally seem to shrug off the danger.

Overall, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters resembles the dangers of other sea-faring novels -- even 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea -- and mixes it with ramped up social commentary a la Jane Austen.  The latter half of the novel is the most action packed and is almost hurried along.  But by the end, readers get swept up in adventure, myth, and outrageous challenges and have nothing to do but enjoy the ride. 

To Enter to win 1 copy of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith and 1 copy of Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Jane Austen and Ben Winters:  (This giveaway is global)

1.  Leave a comment on this post about what Austen novel mash-up you want to see next.
2.  Leave a comment on my review of Pride & Prejudice and Zombies.
3.  Blog, Tweet, Facebook, etc. and leave a comment with a link on this post.

Deadline is Feb. 19, 2010, at 11:59 PM EST

About the Author:

Ben Allen H. Winters is a writer who lives in Brooklyn with all the other writers.

FTC Disclosure:  I received a free copy of Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters from the FSB Associates and the publisher for review.  Clicking on title links or images will bring you to my Amazon Affiliate page; No purchase necessary.

This is my 3rd book for the 2010 Jane Austen Challenge.

This is my 10th book for the 2010 New Authors Reading Challenge.


wheresmyrain said...

I so very much want to read the first of these, but would love to see a mash up of Persuasion up next! great idea/work, thanks for the contest

wheresmyrain at yahoo dot com

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) said...

I think I am enjoying this book more for the liberties that it took. Great round up and summary of the book.

Anna said...

Sounds like you enjoyed this one way more than I did. I thought it was neat that he added so many different elements to the story, but he just didn't move the plot along fast enough and I just couldn't finish the book.

No need to enter me, but I've added the giveaway to my sidebar.

Diary of an Eccentric

Lenore said...

Hmmm...Emma and the electric eel? LOL!

bermudaonion said...

Great review! I think I'd be one of those who'd want to throw the book aside, so there's no need to enter me.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

No need to enter me, either. I'd throw the book across the room and fume.

I'm really dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.

Michelle said...

I think that Emma and Aliens would be hilarious. I don't know why. It just came to me.

Maybe that should be my ticket to success...


Michelle said...

I tweeted this one, too!

Thanks for the giveaway!


ANovelMenagerie said...

I would love to win this! I'm reading the new Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer one... I'm super excited. I'm a faithful reader, subscriber, and fan of SV&W.


Staci said...

This one is waiting for me on my shelves...I loved your take on it!

Book Chick City said...

Don't enter me, just wanted to say thanks for the review, although I'm not sure if I would cope with these versions of my favourite classics. I already have Pride & Prejudice & Zombies on my shelf and I just can't bring myself to read it... yet.

Becca said...

Next one? How about Persuasion and Poltergeists?

I left a comment on your review.

I tweeted here:

I blogged here:


allisonmariecat said...

I think Northanger Abbey with vampires would be a blast :)

Thank you!

Sunny @ the Library said...

The last poster stole my idea! ;)

Seriously, considering the focus in Northanger Abbey about the *possibility* of something sinister going on, think about how much more fun it would be if something was going on.

Or maybe Mansfield Park. Imagine those two evil influences being truly evil....


Rachel said...

I hope they do something with Persuasion next. Thanks for the giveaway!


BUSY BEE said...

I loved reading S&S and zombies. It really made me laugh and really enjoyed the whole thing. I can't wait to read S&S&Sea monsters.

I would like to see S&S mash up with Alice in Wonderland. It would be a crazy mix.

BUSY BEE said...

Oops forgot my email on my post...

bysb100 at gmail dot com

Jenners said...

I love the author bio! But I really don't know if I see the point of these books. I could see having one but TWO?

mariska said...

I haven't read any of jane Austen's books, i'd really like to try one !

+ commented on your review of Pride & Prejudice and Zombies.

+ Tweet it here http://twitter.com/becunique

uniquas at ymail dot com

Dar said...

No need to enter me Serena-I'll put this on my sidebar for you though. I just wanted to say that I actually like these remakes. Most I've found fun to read.

avalonne83 said...

Maybe Sense and Sensibility and a Shark?

Great giveaway!

Please count me in. Thanks.

avalonne83 [at] yahoo [dot] it

Anonymous said...

i'll go w/ emma and the zombies...

great posting.


Anonymous said...

i'll go w/ emma and the zombies...

great posting.


Susan said...

How about "Mansfield Park and Mummies"? :)

susanaudrey316 at gmail dot com

Susan said...

I've posted this to my blog's sidebar (here).

susanaudrey316 at gmail dot com

misskallie2000 said...

I can't get my mind to accept this concept. Jane and monsters??
Would like to read and see how this was written and what the end was like. LOL Sounds very humorous and confusing.

I am a follower

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Bcteagirl said...

Wohoo! I ran over here as soon as I saw there was a contest.. I keep wanting to win this one, but the contests are all US Only :P

Postapocolyptic Pride & Prejudice could be funny?

teagirl1 at telus dot net

Bcteagirl said...

I commented on your Pride and Prejudice and Zombies post! Thanks for the review, it cleared up some questions I had :)

Bcteagirl said...


dsandyboy said...

Pride and Prejudice and the Seagulls.


FrankSandy said...

Sense and Sensibility and the Vampires.


Bethie said...

How about Pixies and Persuasion.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

bookaholic said...

I would love to read these books! Please enter me..
-I left a comment on your review
-I Tweeted (http://twitter.com/Debasmitadhar/status/9273632043)
-I blogged (http://bookaholicsoye.blogspot.com/2010/02/2-books-up-for-giveaway.html)

Thanks so much!

bookaholic said...

O and I would like to read a mash up of Emma next...


buddyt said...

What about "The Northanger Abbey Vampires"

A abbey would be the perfect setting, don't you think ?


buddythop {at} gmail dot com

vslavetopassionv said...

I would love the chance to read these. :) They are so clever! Perhaps a mash-up with Mansfield Park and have Fanny go on a murder rampage for your next book.


Kelly said...

I almost bought Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters yesterday, but saw your giveaway and decided to enter that instead! I would love to see Persuasion done next. Let's see...they could do Northanger Abbey and Archangels or Mansfield Park and Pixies...
RT: http://twitter.com/SavvyVerseWit/status/9012938474

pixie13 said...

I'd love to see Emma in Fairy Land. A couple dragons, some trolls & giants, maybe a pixie or two? ;)


pixie13 said...



Diana Dang said...

Since Zombies are tackled, I would like to see how it plays out if it's Pride and Prejudice and Vampires. :D

faked_sugartone at hotmail

heatwave16 said...

I would love to see 'Emma the Vampire Slayer' or something like that. :)

I have Pride, Prejudice, & Zombies. Love to have sense, sensability, and sea monsters.