Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters

by Ben H. Winters, Jane Austen

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Overview

From the publisher of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies comes a new tale of romance, heartbreak, and tentacled mayhem.
 
Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters expands the original text of the beloved Jane Austen novel with all-new scenes of giant lobsters, rampaging octopi, two-headed sea serpents, and other biological monstrosities. As our story opens, the Dashwood sisters are evicted from their childhood home and sent to live on a mysterious island full of savage creatures and dark secrets. While sensible Elinor falls in love with Edward Ferrars, her romantic sister Marianne is courted by both the handsome Willoughby and the hideous man-monster Colonel Brandon. Can the Dashwood sisters triumph over meddlesome matriarchs and unscrupulous rogues to find true love? Or will they fall prey to the tentacles that are forever snapping at their heels? This masterful portrait of Regency England blends Jane Austen’s biting social commentary with ultraviolent depictions of sea monsters biting. It’s survival of the fittest—and only the swiftest swimmers will find true love!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594744426
Publisher: Quirk Publishing
Publication date: 09/15/2009
Pages: 343
Sales rank: 342,610
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile: 1180L (what's this?)

About the Author

Jane Austen is coauthor of the New York Times best seller Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which has been translated into 17 languages and optioned to become a major motion picture. She died in 1817. Ben H. Winters is a writer based in Brooklyn.

Interviews

One thing I have learned, since writing a book called Bedbugs, is that when you write a book called Bedbugs, people are very curious whether you've ever had bedbugs.

It's funny, because I once wrote a book called Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, and nobody asked whether I'd had sea monsters.

Well, the answer is no, I've never had either, thank the Lord.

The other main difference between this current book and that old one (and my other so-called "mash-up" novel, Android Karenina) is that this one takes its genre responsibilities more seriously. Whereas Sea Monsters and Android were basically parodies, attempts to humorously and interestingly blend "classic" works of literature with new genre elements, Bedbugs is an honest attempt to scare and chill the reader. No one was supposed to be seriously afraid of the giant mutant lobsters that rampage through my version of Jane Austen, but you are definitely meant to be afraid of the creepy crawlers I've unleashed this time around.

Horror novelists (and filmmakers) have a lot of different ways they try to keep you up all night. Here were three of my strategies, in Bedbugs:

1. Pick the right subject matter.

Half my work was done before I started, because so many people are already so freaked out by bedbugs.

In my humble opinion, truly spooky books and films take as their subjects things that have a pre-existing inherent scariness. Sharks, giant dogs, child-like dolls stuffed in the backs of closets, a row of birds on a telephone wire. People already suspect that the soft-spoken dude checking them into their motel at three a.m. is a knife-wielding lunatic, so Hitchcock just has to press the right buttons.

I am honored that Bedbugs has been compared here and there to Rosemary's Baby, and I just like to point out that that books takes a process that is often the locus of considerable anxiety (i.e. pregnancy) and amplifies those anxieties until they enter the realm of true fear.

2. Live in the mundane and day-to-day.

Especially in the early pages, I tried to firmly ground the story in the realistic, everyday lives of the characters, stuff like grocery shopping at Trader Joe's, taking the kid to the playground, marital squabbles and make-up sex. With just occasional notes of what's to come: a smear of blood here, an unexpected noise there, an unnamed sense of melancholy and dread. This is a technique you will find abundantly in books like The Shining, the aforementioned Rosemary's Baby, The Exorcist, even The Amityville Horror. There's this careful creation of a realistic, familiar world before the darkness begins to seep in.

3. The Great disintegrating narrator.

Bedbugs begins from the perspective of Susan Wendt, an anxiety-prone insomniac, and it does not leave her point of view for the entire novel. This gives the reader no opportunity to evaluate the truthfulness of her experiences and opinions, and we are unsure, as her paranoia and fear escalate, what is real and what is false. In this effort to bond the reader with the narrator, and keep you in the grips of what are either delusions or genuine monsters, I am working in a grand tradition, beginning with marvelous old-school ghost stories like The Turn of the Screw and The Yellow Wallpaper, both of which tread similarly uneven psychological ground.

So there are a view of the ways that Bedbugs attempts to work its particular form of dark magic...even before we get to the blood-soaked nightmares, the bugs skittering out of wall sconces, and the intimations of demonic possession.

Whether it all works, you'll have to tell me...

Sincerely,

Ben H. Winters
www.BenHWinters.com

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Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 118 reviews.
ABitBookish More than 1 year ago
Firstly, for all those complaining that this book "ruins the romance" of a J.A. novel, it's important to remember that Austen did not intend for any of her works to be romances. Sure, there's romance in them, but they are NOT romances. If you want that, go read the Bronte sisters. Austen was more a commentator on society - she watched those around her, added in some satire and wrote her lovely novels. So, even though we have no idea what she would think of this and P&P&Z, I'd like to think she would view it as a product of the times, and not an insult to her work. What I hope these books do is turn readers on to her actual works. I was introduced to Austen via Emma Thompson's S&S movie. After I watched it, I wanted to read all of the Austen I could. Maybe it takes sea monsters and zombies to get readers interested in the original herself. And if that works, then I'm all for it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
the whole point of this is to have a good laugh. if you are going to read this to get the "romanticism" of real jane austen books youre in the wrong place. go read a jane austen book. if you want a fun mish mash and love sea monsters and tentacles like h.p. lovecraft and the rest of us, this is going to be awesome.
twallace More than 1 year ago
Come on, folks, it's supposed to be funny. Juxtaposing hideous monsters with quality literature is a good time (or would be, if some people didn't take it so terribly, terribly seriously)! It's OK to laugh at the things we love. Really. Laughing at the immortal Jane Austen doesn't hurt the quality of her books. They're still awesome. They're still comedies (or did you all forget that?). These books aren't meant to be a literary challenge. This isn't Wilkie Collins versus Charles Dickens. It's a joke, guys! It just has zombies and sea monsters as well as annoying socialites and shallow relations.
Les_Livres More than 1 year ago
"... I definitely understand why lovers of classic literature would be hestiant to read these oddball re-writes, but I'm glad I picked this one up to try! It was silly and fun, and even though I did roll my eyes or raise an eyebrow at some parts, I laughed out loud at others and was intrigued by the mysterious plot-line involving Margaret and the other involving Elinor and the five-pointed star. If you really aren't sure about whether or not you want to try this, I'd really recommend at least borrowing it from a friend or from a library." For full review, please visit me, Les Livres, on Blogger! jaimeliredeslivres (dot) blogspot (dot) com
AnaMardoll More than 1 year ago
Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters / 978-1-594-74465-5 I never got around to reading "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" (by the same publisher, but a different author than this novel), but I found the idea delightful and when "Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters" came out, I knew I had to take the plunge. "Sense and Sensibility" being, of course, my favorite Austen novel, I was looking forward to re-reading a classic and seeing a touch of sea monster fun and humor thrown in. Make no mistake about it: this book is delightfully funny. The superb Jane Austen prose is all here, but set in such a world where sea monster attacks are brutally common. The exquisite and seamless weaving of this tale (it is truly difficult to separate out the Jane Austen writing from Ben Winters', so thoroughly has he mimicked her style), will lead to a deeply humorous rendition of Austen's high society - where fatalities at beach dinner-parties are a common occurrence and it is the highest breech of manners for a gentleman or lady to acknowledge the death throes of a mere servant, trailing the water behind their pleasure boat. Certain scenes, such as Miss Steele's confession to Elinor Dashwood, are immeasurably enhanced by a concurrent attack on the boat by a vicious sea serpent, and Marianne's rescue by Willoughby is heightened greatly by the addition of an angry octopus. What I did not expect, however, was just how good the story would be. Rather than make a Jane Austen book with throw-away sea monster jokes, Winters has written a complex and fascinating science fiction sub-plot within the Austen narrative. Though the book is hilarious from front to finish, I found myself laughing out loud less and less because I was more and more drawn into the actual story and I didn't want to waste a moment, even to laugh, before turning the next page. These additions are so superb and true to Austen's original characters - such as Elinor's brave stand against pirates whilst Marianne languishes ill below - that it is difficult to imagine that she would be any less delighted with this novel than I. If you like Jane Austen and enjoy a touch of morbid humor interlaced with hoity-toity upper-crust social commentary, check out "Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters" - you'll come for the sea monsters, but I wager you'll stay for the story and become as swept away as I was. ~ Ana Mardoll
sagustocox on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
thediaryofabookworm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Nothing offended me more than in first year university English when I had to listen to a classroom full of people gripe and moan about Jane Austen, and how they thought Pride and Prejudice was like a soap opera. I sat there and blew steam out of my ears and looked forward to the day when I could discuss the book with people who actually understood how brilliant it was that you could compare her book, written between 1797 and 1813, with a modern soap opera. But for Christmas this year, my good friend Mel gave me Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, and I've got to say, I think Quirk Publishing might have just found the way to make this book fun even for the nay-sayers!They started with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (which I'm going to have to pick up now, since pride was always my fave anyhow), and then moved on to Sense and Sensibility. Sense and Sensibility with Sea Monsters, is a great parody all in that dry humor vein which is so classically Austen. To begin with the book seems nearly identical to the original except for the comments thrown in to set up the sea monster theme; lots of them very comical. For instance Willoughby is a treasure hunter, and wears a wet suit for the entire book no matter what he's doing"Marianne began now to perceive that the desperation which had seized her at sixteen and a half, of ever seeing a man who could satisfy her ideas of perfection, had been rash and unjustifiable. Willoughby was all that her fancy had delineated in that unhappy hour, and in every brighter period. He was the sun shining on smooth rocks; he was a clear blue sky after monsoon season's end; he was perfection in a wet suit."As the story moves on there are progressively more and more fun changes, the fashionable hub of society is Sub-Marine Station Beta an under-the-sea city, instead of London. There are Pirates, and Sea witches, one of which has cursed Colonel Brandon to have a Squid face."Otherwise, he was very pleasant. His appearance, besides the twitching tentacles that overhung his chin, was not unpleasing, despite being an absolute old bachelor; for he was the wrong side of five and thirty." And in almost every emotional scene there is an attack by some type of sea monster happening at the same moment. Picture Lucy unburdening herself to Elinor of her secret engagement to Edward while Elinor fights off a two headed Sea Serpent. Finally, without giving away the big ending, i have to say there is a truly wonderful parody at the end of this book of the usual readers Discussion guide. "10. Is Monsieur Pierre a symbol for something? Name three other well-known works of Western Literature that feature orangutan valets. Are those characters also slain by pirates?"This book had me giggling on and off for days, not to mention reading bits out for people whenever they'd listen. I highly recommend it for both Jane Austen fans and those who thought she was a bore in first year university.Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, by Jane Austen and Ben H. WintersPublished by Quirk Books, September 2009
Radella on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you are a Jane Austen fan, and a fan of cheesy sci-fi, this book was essentially written for you. The book stays fairly true to the overall plot of Sense and Sensibility, following the displaced Dashwood sisters on the ultimate quest for marriage. Only with killer sea creatures.
elimatta on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It was done with some subtlety, the main story shining through the occasional zombie attacks. It really was the original with added zombies.So why is this slightly disappointing?Because the trick has already been done, and a joke can rarely be repeated?Because the underlying story isn't as engaging as P and P?Or is it because this author tried a bit too hard? It's as if he wanted to tell his own story in addition to that of S and S. The underlying story is still there, but it needs to be searched out through the added extras. There are slightly grating errors too: when were there any piranha fish in the east indies for instance?But who would be silly enough to expect accuracy in a book which quite rightly is based on a crazy notion in the first place? I would.Perhaps I shouldn't be so picky.
maribs on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I started this book a little apprehensively. First of all, Sense and Sensibility is my least favorite book by Jane Austen and secondly, I was thinking the fad of these mash ups had been run its course with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. However, I was actually pleasantly surprised with how interested I got into the mystery of the 5 pointed star that Elinore keeps seeing and Margaret's findings on their small island.So, I guess I should explain a little. The story does, pretty much, follow the original storyline but with some added mysteries and interesting sea creatures. I love poor Colonel Brandon and his tentacled face. (Just look at that cover!) Poor guy doesn't catch a break in this book. Also, Margaret has more of a part in this one but still in the background up until the end. The twist with Lucy Steele was also quite interesting and fun. It took me surprise on page 130 to find that Lucy has a tramp stamp! I am sure you are wondering how that gets found out, huh? An interesting twist that works in the end.This was really a fun book. Glad I gave it a chance.
keely_chace on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very funny in places, especially wherever tentacle-faced Colonel Brandon makes an appearance. But, in my opinion, this is not as good as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
meggyweg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I think this book is an improvement on the previous one in the series, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. The zombies in the first book were really just window dressing. On the other hand, the sea monsters in this book were actually a major part of the plot and really livened up the story. (I cannot help but find Jane Austen's stories to be dull, dull, dull.) I look forward to see what classics they warp next!
SmithSJ01 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hmmm, how do I put how I feel about this book. I know - dreadful. It was truly tedious to read and took sheer determination to turn each page. I have read 'Sense and Sensibility' and I thought this was going to be a fun take on a 'classic' book. It wasn't. I didn't expect to see the whole book used, instead I thought it would be used to extend the story into a new genre. Sadly it just went on and on and by the time I had reached the end I'd even lost my sense of humour for the reading guide questions. I really did expect this to be a book for me and was very excited when this came up on Amazon Vine. I can't recommend it to anyone, it's just not good. I do have to say that Ben H Winters has blended the two different genres together well but that is about the only thing going for it.
Shuffy2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As a huge Jane Austen fan, I read this merely to appease my curiosity. My complaint about P&P&Z was the fact it was 75% Jane and 25% zombies and the story seemed disjointed as times, S&S&S is 75% sea monsters ans 25% Jane. There were several times that I had to remind myself that it was S&S, the names would jolt be me back to it. Colonel Brandon as a sea monster, Edward Ferras wanting a be a lighthouse keeper, Elinor, Marianne, etc- but then there are giant lobsters that attack, a city on the bottom of the ocean floor under a glass dome, sea witches, islands that are not islands, etc. I like sci-fi but not (as T7piper said) cheesy sci-fi, which it what this is. I am glad I read it so I can add it to my 'Jane Austen' and 'Austenesque' knowledge and collection but I can't whole heartedly recommend it unless it is to an Austen Freak like me.
justabookreader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was so very excited when this book went on sale on Tuesday. I ran to the store, got my copy, and started reading as soon as I got home. Sense & Sensibility is one of my favorite books and I wondered if the addition of sea monsters would alter my view.I'm happy to report it didn't. I'm not rating this book as high as the original but that's just because I don't really think of this as the same book and I will admit to being extremely partial to the original. It's fresh and fun but the original it's not, which is a good thing in this case.The story is much the same. Mr. Dashwood dies; Mrs. Dashwood, Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret move to the Devonshire coast; Marianne falls for Willoughby; Willoughby leaves Marianne; Elinor and Marianne go to London; a meeting with Willoughby goes bad; Marianne is heartbroken; Elinor suffers heartbreak silently; Marianne get sick and recovers; Elinor reunites with her love; Marianne finds love and a life she never imagined for herself. Oh, yes, don't forget the letter writing --- there's a lot of it.Sea monsters, yep, there's a lot of them too in the new version. Mr. Dashwood is eaten by a shark; Mrs. Dashwood kills a sea monster on the way to the Devonshire coast; Willoughby, the treasure hunter, saves Marianne from a huge octopus; Elinor escapes the fang beast; Elinor and Marianne visit Sub-Marine Station Beta (AKA London); Sub-Marine Station Beta is attacked by sea monsters; Colonel Brandon is part sea monster thanks to a curse by a sea witch (descriptions are amusing and somewhat disgusting); a lot of talk about underwater gear and, of course, fish stories. Also, there is an interesting explanation for the sea monsters --- the Alteration which no one knows the cause of.After reading it, I have to say that I truly enjoyed it. I also think this can be a love it or hate it book. If you're not willing for liberties to be taken with the original text then you might want to skip it. Me, I like parodies and found the characters and situations with the addition of sea monsters to be entertaining. Enjoy it for what it is.
Nextian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Sense and Sensiblity and Sea Monsters" has fixed all the problems that "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" had. It has smooth transitions between authors and Winters actually seems to respect the original material where as "Zombies" often stepped over the line between parody and ridicule. Winters gives the story a very Vernesque feel which helps to keep the narrative in approximately the proper time period and mindset. Overall, I think this was a very well done parody which any light-hearted Janite will enjoy.
MissReadsTooMuch on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Oddly faithful to the original but with terror-inducing sea creatures lurking about and attacking at the most inconvenient moments, this is a fun book. I don't know how much I would have enjoyed it if I wasn't familiar with Jane Austin's original work but, as I have read it a few times, I think I liked this book, with the excitement of the sea gone wrong, a bit more, especially in the end.
edundatscheck on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I tried to read this book, really really tried. It just didn't hook me in. I read a few chapters and I couldn't keep with it. The sea monster angle just seemed so ludicrous. Yes it is loosely based on the plot of Sense and Sensibility, but it seemed like so much nonsense. Maybe someone who has not read Sense and Sensibility will find the charm in this book, but I could not.
kpolhuis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A hilarious rendition of the favorite classic. I think because I know the original so well I enjoyed this mash-up even more. It was ridiculous! Just one suggestion, this is not a book to read whilst eating!
Cajunbooklady on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
*heh* What can I really say about this one, right? I know you've all seen this one and other mash-ups around...I personally think they're entertaining and fun! I like the new twists to the old stories. I know some people don't like to see the classics changed, but if your just into it for entertainment value, then I say check it out!I thought this particular mash-up was good...I think Ben did an excellent job of intertwining his creativity with Jane Austen's. These are all about the entertainment for me so I give it a thumb's up!
esswedl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Quite silly. The primary gag, of the characters being more concerned with manners than the horrific monsters attacking them, doesn't get too old by the end. The reader's discussion guide at the back provides a nice change of humor, brief but appreciated.
lesleykj84 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A funny retelling of the Austen classic, you won't want to miss it. If you've read the original, this is worth the read. And if you haven't, go read it and then read this one right after! It's one of those books you want to reread right after because of how entertaining it was. I laughed a couple of times out loud and I am not normally one to do that!After the Dashwood sisters' father is eaten by a shark, the Dashwood sisters move away from their home and to a creepy island. But they have to be careful, because in the water is killer sea creatures with an appetite for humans.I loved the twist with Marianne. The Colonel falls in love with her as he does in the original, but has been cursed with tentacles on his face and the poor guy is miserable because of it. I felt so bad for him, and I loved him just as I did in the original and maybe...a little more.With underwater cities, lobster men, water attacks, and romance with sea creatures, this book is creative, fun, and hilarious. I loved the changes, and and the fact it reminded me some H.P. Lovecraft made it more worth while.If you like the new remakes that are coming out, buy this one. It's worth the excitement and action. Think Pirates of the Caribbean with historical romance!
Mango-a-GoGo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Audio version nearly impossible to follow. Will try again with print.
AineMcG on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this book, written in the same style as the original. Fantastic take on the classic.
BeckahRah on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was excruciatingly slow and hard to follow. Many times I stopped and thought, "...wait...what's going on?" I loved P&P&Z and Dawn of the Dreadfuls amd Little Women & Werewolves, but this one...I just had to force myself to finish, and I'm still not 100% sure what happened. Too. Slow.