There’s little point in being a …Time? Lord…™ if you don’t employ your temporal assets to good effect. One little known disadvantage of time travel, however, is an irresistible tendency to mimic the most recent character you’ve met. So, after visiting Miss Austen I stopped off at Warmington-on-Sea, ostensibly for advice on dealing with alien invasion but in truth to disguise an embarrassing Regency falsetto.
Pay attention. Your alien invader chappie is full of ideas of world domination and thinks he can fool us by wearing simple disguises like Regency bonnets and ladies underwear… There’s nothing at all odd about the ladies underwear of course. I just thought I’d mention that. The aliens will have a leader, you’ll recognise him by his facial hair. Alien invasion leaders always have facial hair… very un-British.
|Trust me, it's bigger inside.|
Right. Here goes Operation Impose Spanish Justice:
Phase One – The Surprise Attack
Aha! There he is. That bonnet did not fool me, Sir. You didn’t expect a stealth attack did you, Mr Alien-Leader-Chappie?
(Materialising in this red call box catches them out every time. Nobody expects the Spanish Imposition!)
So, what have you to say in your defence, Jonathan Pinnock? Is there any valid reason why …Time? Lord…™ should not, on behalf of the wronged Miss Jane Austen, give the perpetrator of the alleged literary work known as Mrs Darcy Versus the Aliens a good kick in the tentacles?
Alleged?! I'll have you know I was commissioned by the good lady herself. Do you think you're the only one with a time machine around these parts? "Jonny boy," she says to me, "All this zombie business has gone too far. What we need is a return to basics. Reboot the franchise." And you don't argue with the likes of Miss Austen. So I say, "How about vampires, then?" and she says, "Come off it, mate. And no bleeding werewolves either. Think outside the box." So I go away and have a bit of a ponder. When I come back I say to her, "What about aliens?" and she sighs and says "Yeah, whatever." Well, it's well past gin o'clock by this time and she doesn't do fine print once she's had a few. So that's how we ended up with aliens. Works for me.
Phase Two – The Confession
Weasel alien words of desperation if ever I heard them. And I suppose you thought I wouldn't spot that awful pun about the box? We do the puns, Sir. No, you’re not so cocky in the face of cold British silliness, are you Mr Alien-Leader-Chappie Pinnock? Confess the full history and extent of your nefarious literary undertakings and hope for mercy:
Oh all right then. Here's the skinny. Had this idea for an alien sequel to Pride and Prejudice way back in 2007, got derailed by that zombie book, stopped writing it, started writing it again, didn't get a publisher, eventually serialised it on the web, found an audience, found a publisher. The book finally made it into the shops at the start of September, where it's on promotion in WHSmith in the UK and also on sale in most branches of Waterstone's as well as all the usual online places, including - much to my amazement - the Jane Austen Centre Online Giftshop. The story? Well, it's a genuine sequel to Pride and Prejudice, with aliens. But there's much more than that. There are ghosts, dirigibles and a pigeon called Colin. There's Lord Byron and there's Charlotte Collins on laudanum. And a lot of tentacles. It is indeed the most fun you can have with a bonnet on.
Harrumph! A likely story. You may enter your tweet of mitigation in fewer than 140 characters before I pass sentence:
In our darkest hours, a great work of art will often emerge to delineate our hopes and fears. This is not that work. But it may provide a laugh or two whilst we're waiting.
Phase Three – The Punishment [dons black cap]
Aha! Your silver-tongued eloquence will not save you, Alien, condemned as you stand by your innate Jonny-foreigner inability to count. Your crimes against Miss Austen and the holders of diverse blogs and domains are of such a witty, hilarious and titillating nature that I have no option but to subject you to the most severe punishment at my disposal. You are therefore sentenced to have inflicted upon your reputation in perpetuity the stain of having received an Oscar’s Oscar – Hi Five.
|Take that! And let it be a lesson to you.|