“Android Karenina”: The Brainchild Of Pop Culture

“All good robots resemble one another, each faulty robot is defective in its own way. Everything was in confusion in the Oblonskys’ house” – starts the novel “Android Karenina”, that appeared in America at the beginning of June and caused a stir.

An unexpected remake of a well-known in States classic novel by Leo Tolstoy “Anna Karenina” was created by Philadelphian publishing house Quirk Books in series of books “Quirk Classics”.

320 pages of the “enhanced edition” to the love story takes place in a fantastic world of robots and cyborgs. The characters and the plot links, portrayed by Tolstoy, stay the same. Karenina loves Vronsky, and Kity would marry Levin. However all of them live in a steam-punk world of clumsy machines and out-dated mechanical devises.

At the moment when the copper dummies broke a riot, people – the heroes of the novel – had to join battle and use the advanced technologies – models of superhuman cyborgs. To the classic story were attached scenes from science fiction comics.

The art director of Quirk Books, Jason Rekulak, pointed out that the action takes place in 19 century Russia, but every character has a robot-partner. Each android is a mirror reflection of its hero’s personality. So, android Vronsky is a tricky wolf, and android Karenina is very elegant.

The authors of this surrealistic novel, according the book cover, are – Leo Tolstoy and Ben H. Winters. Amazing, isn’t is?

A burst of indignation has risen across the ocean: “How dare you! Our classical author was dared to be put on a stage only by Nemirovich-Danchenko, and made on a screen by Julien Duvivier and… and here some impostor puts his name right to the name of Tolstoy! What a cynic!..”

Meanwhile there were other critics, who considered that “any transfer to the pop-culture is a breakthrough to new art spheres. In the modern society, where people do not have a glimpse of the greatest works of art, every type of genre cooperation would be a valuable incitement towards understanding the spiritual world of readers, viewers and audience”.

“There is nothing bad about classic’s remake, – others agree. – Shakespeare was taking Italian Renaissance literary heritage, their plots and motifs, and rewriting them on modern mode, in accordance with his epoch and his contemporaries”.

Ben H. Winters confesses himself that it was a exceptional honor to work with the text of this classic novel, because each page written by the Master – is a lesson. To get “inside” the novel of the great writer, to take it to pieces and then assemble them back with such insolence – is a joyful and very amusing journey, Ben Winters believes.

– We published millions of copies, the book is translated into 20 languages and we sold the right to film the novel to Hollywood. I hope, that the movie will appear within the next year, – boasts David Borgenicht, the president of the publishing house.

By the way, “Android Karenina” is the third book in the series of Quirk Classics. The first one was “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” based on “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen.

In the beginning the publishers did not expect a great success, but soon the book took third place in a prestigious pop chart of The New York Times and became the most popular book in demand at Amazon. Looks like, that this success has inspired the publishers, and they began remaking “Sense and Sensibility” by same Jane Austen, transforming it into “Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters”.

The publishing house considers its mission as “a perfection of classical novels with a help of a pop-culture phenomenon”. The rules are simple: take a classical text and add some wild hooligan elements and any other nonsense. It turns out to be funny.

The world changes together with our perception. Maybe “Android Karenina” will find its fans among Russian-speaking Americans

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