Dyer, S.N.: “Resolve and Resistance”

I also recently read another short story that deserves mention here: “Resolve and Resistance,” by S.N. Dyer (collected in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror: Ninth Annual Collection, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling. This came to my attention in a comment thread elsewhere on this book log. It’s an alternative-universe sequel to Pride and Prejudice, in which Napoleon has won and Lord Nelson is a crippled beggar in Hyde Park. A Norfolkman recognizes Nelson and whispers to him, “Darcy. Pemberley,” giving him a purpose and a destination.

Nelson is crushed to arrive at Pemberley and discover that Mr. Darcy was killed by the French and that the Bennett sisters appear to be collaborators. Of course, the “Darcy” referred to was actually Elizabeth; the Bennett sisters are running the resistance in their area, and have a plan to invade London.

I really enjoyed this, though it’s somewhat different than described in the aforementioned comments thread (most notably, no Caroline Bingley)—up to the very end. I found the last section absolutely infuriating. The shortest way to explain why is its opening line: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman in possession of the gratitude of her nation must be in want of a husband.” Which it takes seriously!

A hint for aspiring writers: contrary to what many appear to believe, it is not actually necessary to end your story by marrying everyone off, particularly when doing so will require you to completely ignore your characters’ personalities as they have been established to date.

If you just stop reading at the end of the invasion, you’ll be fine. Pretend the rest doesn’t exist.

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  1. Jeez, I think I was huffing household cleansers or something. I could swear that I read a story that featured the Bennett sisters in a Napoleonically conquered England as resistence fighters and I _know_ read Caroline Bingley was a collaborator.

    The only possible explaination(s) I can think of are a) I did pick up the Omni in which I read this story at an airport (either I read it en route to Irelend, or perhaps on my return trip), so maybe I picked up an expanded, European version or something b) I was highly intoxicated at the time I read it and given to vivid literary hallucinations or (and more likely) c) in the years of discussing this story with various folks, someone, either myself or someone else, came up with it a la “Wouldn’t it be great if Caroline Bingley…”

    Or, I am just losing my grip.

    Kate, I had no problem obtaining the Templar Knights books at all. I got all of them from Amazon.

  2. It’s an understandable memory mistake to have made.

    Amazon claimed that the middle anthology would take 4-6 weeks when I looked for it, which is their code for “it’s really out of print and we just don’t want to admit it,” IME. Glad to hear it’s available now.

  3. So,

    Returning to our conversation over in rasfwrj, wherein I mentioned _Mr. Darcy’s Daughters_, a sequel to P&P and voiced reservations about it, I went over to Amazon.com to check up on the reviews.

    To my chagrin, I discovered that apparently there are dozens of sequels to Pride and Prejudice. (see this list).

    Scanning the comments for some of them, they seem universally reviled.

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