Portrait of a Worrying Trend

There is much talk of ‘mashing’ these days. Monster-mashing, for instance. I discussed it briefly here, in reference to Fjona Uu’s recent novel The Brontesaurus Sisters. Today, however, I’m pondering on a rather more general scale. Mash-ups are, after all, but another form of parody. That’s right: parody. That beautifully disgusting genre. The highest of the low arts. No one can sneer at a perfect parody, but experience tells us that these are few and far between. So why do we all think we can do it?

I speak not for myself, per se, but for my friends, the majority of whom spend a large portion of their evenings at The Crippled Bee musing over parodies they are thinking of/are definitely going to/have just started writing. There’s Mr X, waxing lyrical over his proposed Portrait of a Ladyman, Miss Y dreaming of making a mint with her Search for Lost Thyme and Mr Z all at sea over his Robinson Crusoe, Space Adventurer. All very much beneath me, of course, yet it seems to delight them so. And they remain convinced that this is what readers want; the same stories repeated over and over, albeit embellished with ludicrous subplots. Could they be right?

My wife, meanwhile, continues to write her Hieronymous Bosch-based thriller. I say write, but I think she’s still in the planning stage. In fact, I fear she’s overestimating the amount of work that ought to go into a sensational novel. Those sort of things need to be vomited onto the page, or left well alone.


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