|*Searched for an hour, and couldn't find a suitable "regency era with fairies" image!|
(Special prize goes to whoever can find me one and message me the link!)
A while back, somebody got the idea: "The classics (like War and Peace, Wuthering Heights, and Pride and Prejudice) are great writing, but compare them to a list of popular fanboy characteristics like pirates, ninjas, zombies, etc., and you understand why they aren't so widely read anymore... So why not create a mashup?"
Thus "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" was born, sparking a literary movement of irreverent creativity that went on to produce such wonderments as "Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters" and "Android Karenina"... And opened up the potential for more.
Some might object, out of respect for the original author—something I recognize, but at the same time... Kids these days aren't really being trained to recognize the nuances of culture that these classic novels are saturated in; therefore, to understand the rigors of entailment and the difficulty of having daughters instead of sons, look at it this way: in light of a zombie outbreak, Mr. Bennet would want to ensure his home is protected. He has no sons, so his daughters must be trained. In light of being women in such close contact with zombies (highly improper because of the danger) this would grow into a reason that the Bingleys (and Darcy) would disdain having a Bennet girl to wed: who knows but she might be infected herself, or a carrier to infect them?
I'm not saying this was the intention of the author; I've mentioned before that I sometimes tend to psychoanalyze things to try and understand them instead of just writing them off for reasons of prejudice. Not that I support this, either; I am squeamish enough that I don't really ever enjoy the horror genre.
But anyway, when I saw this, in the midst of planning out "Merely Meredith" and having Austen on the brain...
I instantly saw the potential for rewriting the book in my hands (Persuasion) with my own kind of twist, without so much horror and gore:
Persuasion and Pixies
The beauty of a mashup is that you really don't have to rename characters or invent original characters; for all intents and purposes, work with just the characters provided by the author, but tweak the circumstances a little.
The principal conflict of "Persuasion" has to do with the issue of a titled family sneering at a naval family. The backdrop of the novel is the ongoing war against France, led at the time by Napoleon Bonaparte. Hence I needed a twist that both reflected this war, and enhanced the class distinction in a way that modern classless society would understand. Since my favorite genre to write is fantasy, I decided that the genre of "dark fantasy" suited my purpose.
I think I picked up a bit of trivia somewhere about a magician hired in connection with the Napoleonic wars somehow... Because that grew into the premise: Napoleon, in a last-ditch effort to dominate England, hires a magician who ends up opening a portal into dark magical realm, which unleashes hordes of goblins, ogres, and werewolves on the island. This threat awakens the latent fairy element in England (how else do you explain all the fairy stories that originate there??) as the pixies rise up to defend their home. Their magic is more powerful than conventional weapons, so some people opt to fight back against the evil creatures with that. The hitch is that the fairies require humans who use their magic weapons to be recruited in their army.
There are some who disagree; they would rather fend off the creatures without magic. These are the "Purebloods" who do not dabble in fairy magic.
The Elliot family has long been one of these. The early generations received vast sums of money for their valiant acts, which successive generations have used to fortify Kellynch Hall to the point of impregnability. Sir Walter is proud of this lineage, even though the recent generations have been more concerned with getting the next new defense mechanism or fortification equipment, even though there hasn't been a "Darkling" sighted in the area since the half-starved, dying werewolf that bit and killed his wife.
The one married daughter, Mary, fell in love with Charles Musgrove and moved out with him. The Musgrove family, while they have maintained a status of "Pureblood" by avoiding the fairies, also do not present any kind of threat to the Darklings, as they attempt to merely subsist under whatever laws they have to keep to avoid confrontation. Their house is not as fortified, as it has never been attacked, so the defenses have never been tested, but Mary is paranoid about the potential.
When Anne Elliot was young and less cloistered, she happened to be in Somerset to meet a young man named Fredrick Wentworth, who had just accepted a commission as a Fairy-recruit. They hit it off quite nicely, and he even taught her a few of the tactics he had learned, but as he was going to be sent to another location, Anne's good friend Lady Russell (whose husband had been slaughtered by an ogre) advised her that the "fairy-chasers" were not to be trusted, and she should end the relationship before anything serious developed.
A lot of the fighting is just within the coast. The Darklings do not like water, but the fairies keep them pushed outward toward the sea, so the most inland places have less fairy presence, but the towns along the coast that are regularly patrolled by the fairies are better-protected.
Some human soldiers have proven themselves in battle and have gained ranks in their service, even so far as to have fairies and not just humans in their command. Admiral Croft is one of these, and he has received a vast sum of fairy-gold in payment and allowed to retire. He and his wife move into Kellynch Hall, while the Elliots decide to move to Bath, where there aren't as many fairies.
There is a potential heir to the Elliot estate, young Sir William, who has—unbeknownst to his family—run up many debts credited to businesses that end up being run by Darklings in disguise. His apparent dealings with them is frowned upon by the family, but Elizabeth is willing to overlook that as long as he would pursue marriage with her.
Frederick comes back into town, to visit his sister, since most of what they're dealing with are Darklings that don't know when to stop: they remain resistant to any attempt to corral or direct, lots don't even know that they have basically lost before this time, so they are hyper-vigilant and tough to kill. Fred wants to get married, but Anne has already convinced herself that he could not possibly share her feelings.
And so, my dears, it begins...