They're at it again. Quirk Books just started another author spinning in his grave with the announcement that Anna Karenina will become the fourth book to receive their controversial mash-up treatment. It has been rechristened Android Karenina and given a release date of June 6.
From Quirk: "As in the original novel, our story follows two relationships: The tragic adulterous love affair of Anna Karenina and Count Alexei Vronsky, and the more hopeful marriage of Nikolai Levin and Princess Kitty Shcherbatskaya. These characters live in a steampunk-inspired world of robotic butlers, clumsy automatons, and rudimentary mechanical devices. But when these copper-plated machines begin to revolt against their human masters, our characters must fight back using state-of-the-art 19th-century technology—and a sleek new model of ultra-human cyborgs like nothing the world has ever seen."
Quirk has ordered a print run of 200,000 copies and clearly hopes to repeat the New York Times-bestselling success of its first two releases, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. Its third title, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls, goes on sale March 23.
I don't see Android Karenina repeating the success of Quirk's first two offerings, honestly. Austen commands almost a cult-like following, whereas Tolstoy and his works are, well, a bit too Russian for that nonsense (see photo). Argued to be the Western world's greatest writer, Tolstoy stands removed from the warm-and-fuzzy writing fray, and I would bet a sizeable stack of cash that far fewer people have managed to get through Anna Karenina than P&P. (See? It's perfectly acceptable to abbreviate Pride and Prejudice - but can you imagine pulling that with Tolstoy? Calling it Anna K. or A.Kar is as unthinkable as calling your local priest "Pop.")
You can pre-order Android Karenina from Amazon or you can buy a real book.