When Seth Grahame-Smith published the hit novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies with Hachette Book Group in 2009, which sold more than 2 million copies and was translated into more than 20 languages, he was largely credited with "unleashing" zombie mashups on the world, as the Guardian reports. But the emerging literary mashup genre, which involves reinterpreting older classics with new thematic elements, such as zombies and werewolves, may invite some confusion as to how much of the content need be original, and Grahame-Smith's own narrative is a case in point: Hachette is now suing him for $500,000, a portion of the advance it paid him to write a sequel they are calling a dud, reports Courthouse News Service.
The original agreement, according to court documents, specified that Grahame-Smith would write two more novels following his 2010 hit Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. He delivered on the first of the two, The Last American Vampire, which was published in 2015. But Hachette alleges that the other manuscript he delivered in June 2016—it was originally supposed to arrive in 2013—was never approved and "varied so materially and substantially from that described in the agreement" that the publishing house wants its advance back. It even alleges that Grahame-Smith didn't file an original work at all, but "an appropriation of a 120-year-old public-domain work." Grahame-Smith hasn't commented publicly on the lawsuit, notes the Hollywood Reporter. (See how Detroit toyed with zombies.)