I really shouldn’t be doing this. After all, I’m a writer with literary pretensions. I have standards. And yet, here I am, on the blog for the Willesden Herald, home of one of the UK’s most literary short story competitions (one, incidentally, in which I have a record of consistent failure), with the sole intention of promoting a book called “Mrs Darcy versus the Aliens”. In my defence I could point out that Salt will be publishing a book of my literary short stories next year, but that would be evading the issue. No, today is all about Mrs Darcy.
Why on earth should I feel uncomfortable about this? After all, there are precedents. One of my favourite writers, Boris Vian, who gave the world the sublime “Froth on the Daydream”, saw no contradiction in producing a pulp crime novel with the compelling title (and I kid you not) “I Spit on Your Grave”. I’ve read it and it is every bit as classy as that title suggests. In later life, incidentally, Vian changed tack completely and became a singer-songwriter, ending up writing the first French rock’n’roll songs. So says Wikipedia, so it must be true.
And yet again.
There aren’t many precedents. At least, not many that established writers are likely to own up to – although someone’s got to be writing all those anonymous volumes of erotica. It’s kind of a shame. It would, I think, be nice to read an elvish fantasy epic by Martin Amis, for example, just to see if he could. Or some Margaret Atwood chick-lit.
Ah, the hell with it.
I’m not apologising. I’m not even suggesting you regard the book as some kind of “guilty pleasure”, for there are fewer more dishonest phrases in the English language (come on: either you like it or you don’t, simple). It’s a book called Mrs Darcy versus the Aliens, it’s a comic sci-fi sequel to “Pride and Prejudice” and you’ll enjoy reading it. Trust me on this.
Great cover, too, isn’t it?
Mrs Darcy versus the Aliens (Proxima, 2011) is currently on promotion in WHSmith in the UK and available from all good booksellers, online and off.