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On the tenth anniversary of its publication, Stephenie Meyer has “reimagined” her original Twilight novel, reversing the genders of not only Edward and Bella, her centenarian vampire and the human teenager he falls in love with, but most of the characters in the book.
Edythe Cullen and Beau Swan are the inter-species love interest in Life and Death: Twilight Imagined, published today in a dual edition with the original novel.
“I’M SO SORRY,” writes Meyer in a foreword explaining how she’d been asked to write some extra content for Twilight’s 10th anniversary. “I know there is going to be a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth because this new bonus material is A, not entirely new, but mostly B, not Midnight Sun” (her unreleased companion novel to Twilight, written from Edward’s point of view, which Meyer abandoned after 12 chapters were leaked onto the internet).
She didn’t have time, she explains, to write a new novel “or even half of one”, but was nettled by longstanding criticisms of Bella for being weak and in need of constant rescuing, as well as “too consumed with her love interest, as if that’s somehow just a girl thing”.
“I’ve always maintained that it would have made no difference if the human were male and the vampire female – it’s still the same story. Gender and species aside, Twilight has always been a story about the magic and obsession and frenzy of first love.”
She decided to put this claim to the test by “converting” the original opening chapters, and found it “not only fun, but also really fast and easy”. Thus the book opens with teenager Beau arriving in the rainy town of Forks in Washington State to live with his father Charlie (Meyer decided not to gender-swap Bella/Beau’s parents). While in the original Twilight novel Bella wears her favourite white lace shirt for the journey, in Life and Death Beau wears his favourite Monty Python T shirt.
“5% of the changes I made were because Beau is a boy,” says Meyer, with another 5% due to the fact this his personality developed differently over the rewriting. “He’s more OCD, he’s not nearly so flowery with his words and thoughts, and he’s not as angry – he’s totally missing the chip Bella carries around on her shoulder all the time.” She has also corrected mistakes, made new editing changes and added new conversations.
This is not the first reboot of a bestseller – earlier this year EL James made headlines for Grey, a scene-by-scene rewriting of her erotic bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey, originally written as Twilight fan fiction, from the point of view of the male lead.
“It is a sign of how the market is coalescing around the bigger brands and bestsellers that along with sequels, prequels, re-imaginations and continuations, there is now a new strands of re-writes,” commented Philip Jones, editor of trade magazine the Bookseller.
“I also think it shows publishers figuring out, as other media businesses have before them, how to turn bestsellers into franchises. Smart business if they can bring the fans along with them, risky business if it looks like they are exploiting the fandom.”
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Stephenie Meyer swaps genders of lovers in new Twilight novel | Stephenie Meyer