As we understand more about the ways in which society has failed in previous generations, isn’t it time to start updating some of our classic novels to be more inclusive? Or at least involve modern technology that could lead to lucrative endorsement deals and sponsored content? Here are six fresh takes on some beloved classics.
The Grapes of Wrath
Tom Joad needs to get out of his dead-end world, so heads to Hollywood to see if he can become a star in a TikTok house. His family tags along—Tom having been advised that a backstory will help get more coverage. Also with them is Jim Casy, a washed-up reality TV star from a show that was a hit five years ago.
Life is not so sweet in the land of dreams, so Tom and Casy get jobs as Deliveroo drivers while Tom awaits discovery. Casy is outraged by the fact he actually has to work before he gets paid, so organizes a collective of gig economy workers to take on the might of the Silicon Valley overlords who run the company.
Unfortunately, the plan is a disaster, leading to a pay cut for everyone involved and an angry mob turning on Casy. This leads to Tom having to face the prospect of disappearing from view altogether, while the rest of them get on with their ordinary lives. Until his sister has the bright idea of selling breast milk to the tech gurus—who have obviously been starved of attention throughout their lives—and becomes a millionaire as a result.
Alexander Portnoy has one of the most popular Instagram feeds in the world—on which he continually discusses his neuroses and the issues that affect everyone in the 21st century. He is a prime example of a generation that literally loves itself—and exhibits that trait most effectively in acts of “self love.”
But what people don’t realize about Alexander is that he makes most of his income through masturbating on Chaturbate in a variety of creative ways—including using a cored-out apple, a recyclable milk bottle, and a lentil burger he buys specially from his local plant-based butchers.
He later posts to Instagram a picture on of his mother eating the lentil burger, which causes him to suffer a tremendous feeling of guilt. In fact, he feels so guilty that he doesn’t post anything to Instagram for a whole day, before returning to his previous routine and getting on with life.
And Then There Were None
The most popular talent show on TV attracts a diverse cast of 10 characters for its latest series. At the end of each week, one of them disappears off the show. (The audience may hope that they are never seen or heard of again, but sadly their destiny is to return over and over in different versions of the same show for rival networks.)
What the contestants don’t know is that one of them is secretly the head judge who is making the decision as to which one of them will leave each week – their decisions based on how well they’ve interacted with the other contestants up to now.
In a clever twist, the judge votes themself off before the final week, thus leading the two remaining contestants to accuse each other of being the “executioner.” The series ends with the final two singing each other to death in a karaoke battle.
Breakfast at Chopt
Holly Golightly is a party girl who befriends lots of men – though there’s obviously nothing wrong with that and she doesn’t have to have sex with them. And she simply gets herself made up to look fabulous every day because she wants to for herself, not to attract male attention.
The reason she prefers to socialize with wealthy men is because it makes her feel empowered, and she wants to pass on the benefit of her wisdom so they really understand how to treat women in the 21st century. Nothing at all to do with the fact they can get her into the nicest clubs and restaurants and continually buy her expensive presents.
After all, Holly’s favorite pastime is staring into the window of a Midtown Chopt at people eating their salads before trudging back to the office.
The War of the Worlds
Publisher’s Note: We have recalled all the original versions of this book that were released before having been suitably vetted by our cultural sensitivity committee. Fortunately, following their helpful editing, the version as now released has had all the scenes featuring Martians removed, as a human writing about Martian experiences is cultural appropriation of the worst kind.
We’ve sent a message to Mars requesting an authentic Martian voice telling their side of the story. Thankfully, they have sent a selection of their finest artists to help humans understand the suffering they’ve endured all these years through our wholly misguided depictions of them as “other” and “little green beings.” We await the message to be delivered directly from the Martian spaceships, which are currently assembling near to the Moon.
A 21st-century fable about how faith can conquer all bad things. The life of Ben Sheherhers intersects with that of the modern-day prophet, Jay-C, a popular rap star who uses their fame to preach about peace and love.
We follow Ben through a series of adventures and misadventures – some of them including Ben’s sometime friend, Messala, who turns to the dark side and becomes a right-wing shock jock. Messala accuses Ben of being part of a group of government insiders who want to control the world as well as running an underground pedophile ring from a pizza restaurant.
Ben is sacked from their job and eventually becomes an Uber driver, gaining a great reputation among customers for the speed and skill of their driving, and thus earning extremely generous tips and multiple five star reviews. Eventually, Ben finds themself at traffic lights alongside their old friend and they have a race off the line. Messala’s outdated gas guzzler is no match for Ben’s high-powered electric vehicle, so when Ben inevitably wins the race, Messala is forced to give up his car and his right-wing notions.
Ben also has an epiphany and donates all their savings to set up a sanctuary for furloughed workers, then spends the remainder of their days following Jay-C on tour around the world.