With “Masked Classics” Pandemic Publishing Comes of Age

When in doubt, fall back on a classic. It worked for Pride, Prejudice and Zombies and its many spinoffs, and now resourceful publishers, making up for lost time and revenue, aim to make it work for a pandemic-weary reading public. Gimik Books (a division of Langweiliger-Zellstoff) has just premiered a new line of “masked classics,” featuring slightly rewritten versions of familiar titles. So we join Mrs. Dalloway as she struggles with the banal details of arranging lawn chairs for an appropriately distanced social gathering, and we experience afresh the noughting of Ralph Ellison’s nameless protagonist as he struggles not just to be seen, but to be heard through a double mask. 

Racing them to the marketplace is Impulse! (a division of Seelenlose-Gier), with its own line of masked reprints, including the intrepid girl detective Nancy Drew going up against a new sort of “invisible intruder,” and Tolstoy’s doomed Anna Karenina, who recklessly persists in leaving her nose hanging out, even amidst the hustle and bustle of a crowded train station. 

Not to be outdone, Toddri Books (a division of Obszöner-Scheißesser) is looking ahead to post-Covid life by flipping the script with its forthcoming line of “Classics, Unmasked,” featuring freshly unmasked versions of traditionally obscured visages, such as Alexander Dumas’ Did Anyone Ever Tell You, You Look Exactly Like King Louis XIV?, Gaston LeRoux’s Don’t Stare: It’s That Man from the Opera, and Edgar Allan Poe’s Can We Just Talk About the Elephant in the Room? ahem: the RED DEATH?!

     ~ Posted by David W.

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