Tolstoy Goes Steampunk in "Android Karenina"

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The latest scifi/lit mashup to emerge from Quirk Books, publishers of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, is a silly re-imagining of the famously humorless novel Anna Karenina. It's called Android Karenina, and the publisher promises what sound like steampunk cylons.

According to the UK Guardian:

Just like the original Anna Karenina, the mash-up version will follow the relationships of Anna and Vronsky, and Levin and Kitty, but rather than 19th-century Russia, these characters live "in a steampunk-inspired world of robotic butlers, clumsy automata, and rudimentary mechanical devices". "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," [publisher] Quirk [Books] said.

The publisher has a 200,000-copy print run lined up for the novel, co-written by Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters writer Ben H Winters, and high hopes for its success. Despite the glut of similar titles which has flooded the market since Pride and Prejudice and Zombies began the craze last spring – this year will also see publication of Murder at Mansfield Park and the Beatles/zombie mash-up Paul Is Undead – booksellers say the public are still interested in the trend.


Whenever a truly pulpy trend reaches its apotheosis like this, I can't help but wonder if we'll get a new classic out of it. Tolstoy's Russia peopled by cyborgs isn't a bad concept at all, and in some ways it's sad to see it pumped out as part of a cheesy franchise.

The novel hits shelves this June, via Quirk Books.