What is monster mashup?

You might have heard of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, and maybe even enjoyed reading it. You might also like novels featuring zombies and vampires and mummies. So, what would you do if these two of your favorite genres were combined together in a monster mashup?

A monster mashup

Monster mashup, or simply mashup is a relatively new type of literature. As the name suggests, this type of literature is usually a work of fiction which combines a pre-existing literature text, mostly a classic, with another genre, mostly horror. Usually, somewhere between 60 to 85 percent of the original text is retained with new plot twists added to it.

The term mashup originated from the music industry where a new song is created by blending two or more pre-recorded songs.

The Jane Austen link

Jane Austen seems to have been the first classic author whose work became a monster mashup Her 1813 novel Pride and Prejudice was mashed up with zombies by author Seth Grahame-Smith in his 2009 novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies The book became popular instantly, giving rise to several other such books, creating the monster mashup genre. While Austen has been credited as co-author in this book, not all monster mashup novels credit the original creator as the co-author.

This isn't the only Austen classic that has been turned into a Monster Mashup. Her other popular classic  Sense and Sensibility, published in 1811, too was made a parody and released as Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monster by Ben H Winters. He too credited Jane Austen as co-author. Today, one can find many monster mashup books on the shelves, with some, including pride and Prejudice and Zombies being adapted into movies.

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Which are the group games that are sure to make everyone laugh?

The celebration game

Would you like to make someone's year end special by gifting them something? And in return get gifts? Then this game is for you. In the process, you can have some fun too.

Prep work

Gather your friends and family together virtually for this game that requires pretty much nothing but paper and pen to start with. Before you start the game, make a list of the names of participants and assign numbers to each one of them, say between one and ten based on the number of participants. Tell them that this is a week-long game, and collect their home address.

Rules of the game

Keep the list of friends ready with you. If you are the person in charge of the names and addresses, you have to sit out of the game and be the referee. Now, each person takes their turn and calls out a number between one and ten. The referee secretly tells them the name of the person they have picked as well as their address. Once everyone has called out their numbers, explain the rules to them. The person each one has picked is the one they will have to gift something to. This is their child, and they are the 'Mother. Each day, the mother will secretly assign a fun task such as crying like a baby or snorting like a pig, or dancing like a robot, to the child through the referee. And the child has to perform the task, record the same and send it back to the referee, who will then play it for the group at a particular time each day. The tasks are sure to bring tears of laughter to the participants. Mothers have to ensure their gifts reach their respective children by the end of the week. At the end of the week, everyone gathers together virtually and each child takes a guess as to who their mother is based on the tasks they were assigned and the gift they were sent. The referee can get gifts too for his or her efforts.

Let's share stories

Use your imagination and bring out the storyteller in you with this fun game that can be played by two people, but the more the merrier. A little prep work is required before starting the game.

Prep work

Write down random words in chits of paper. Try and make as many chits as you can to make the game interesting. You could also repeat some of the words if you like.

Rules of the game

If there are more than two players, divide yourselves into as many teams as you like. Next, shuffle the chits and put them on the floor. Each team has to pick up ten chits (change the number based on the number of players and teams). Once everyone has picked the chits, set the timer to five minutes. In these five minutes, each team will have to come up with a story that uses all the words in the chits they have picked up. Sit back and enjoy listening to some funny stories.

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Which are the children’s favourite translated works they have read?

Russian literature

Here is my list of translated works. Written in the Dutch language, "The Diary of a Young Girl" by Anne Frank has been translated in more than 70 languages and needs no introduction. This beautifully written memoir showcases how difficult life was during the Holocaust. Anne's life in seclusion seems hopeless. Despite this, she always stays cheerful and happy. Unfortunately, this story doesn't have a happy ending, but teaches me to always stay cheerful against the adversities in life. The Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy, is best known for his two longest works ("War & Peace" and "Anna Karenina') which are regarded among the finest novels ever written. His stories are extremely powerful. They convey human values and morals in simple words. "War & Peace" is a literary work mixed with chapters on history and philosophy, while "Anna Karenina" is an account of the doomed love affair between Anna and Count Vronsky.

Not lost in translation

I enjoy reading books. The best translated works I have read till now are "The Little Prince", "The Dragon Rider", "The Rainbow Fish", "The Pied Piper of Hamelin", and "The Little Red Riding Hood". "The Rainbow Fish" is really good. It is a fiction translated from German into English by J Ellison James. The book is best known for its message on selfishness and sharing. The characters in this book help each other through thick and thin. The moral of this story is we should always be helpful. I enjoy reading this story because it has a good moral and reading this book also improves my vocabulary.

The Tin Soldier

Originally written by Hans Christian Andersen and retold by Russell Punter. "The Steadfast Tin Soldier' is a beautiful story about a one-legged tin soldier who comes alive at night and falls in love with a paper ballerina. But the jack in the box is jealous and pushes the tin soldier out of the window. He is found by a group of children who make a paper boat and place him on the river. He has to go through a sewage area and even gets eaten up by a fish! But he doesn't give up, and luck comes on his side. The original version had an unfortunate ending: the tin soldier and ballerina melted in a fireplace, but in the retold story, they lived happily ever after, which makes me like the latter one more than the original. The story's moral is whatever happens. if your intentions are good, you will succeed.

Pippi Longstocking

Astrid Lindgren's most famous and loved book, "Pippi Longstocking" was translated to English from Swedish. I enjoyed reading the book. Pippi is the strongest girl in the world. She stays alone with no grown-ups around. She has two pets, a monkey and a horse. Pippi is funny. She eats caramel candy instead of taking vitamins. She cleverly covers her mistakes as facts that others don't know. I like the thing finder game they play as it is similar to my favourite game treasure hunt.

A translation by Satyajit Ray

The best translated work I have ever read is "Braziler Kalo Bagh (The Brazilian Black Tiger), which is a Bengali translation by Satyajit Ray of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's story "The Brazilian Cat". It is a great crime adventure story with some interesting plot twists. The protagonist here is Marshall King, nearly bankrupt and the only successor of his uncle Lord Southerton. Due to his financial problems and an invitation from his long lost cousin Everard King, who has returned to England after a long stay in South America, Marshall he goes to his house. There after some days of leisure he falls into a great trap set up by his cousin. Everard has called his cousin to his home and made arrangements to kill him in way that looks like an accident. Everard does this because he finds out that if Marshall dies he will become the next Lord Southerton. Luckily our protagonist escapes and Everard dies in the paws of his pet Tommy, a ferocious Brazilian tiger. The story is a great example of a crime adventure story. And also I have to admit that the great writer Ray has translated the story in his unqine writing style. This is truly the best translated work I have ever read.

A spiritual guide

The best translated work I ever read is "The Alchemist" originally written in Portuguese and later beautifully rewritten in English by Paulo Coelho. Santiago, a shepherd boy, wants to travel the world to collect wonderful treasures. On his way, he meets an alchemist in a life-changing encounter.

Coelho mixes spiritualistic views and magic in his book, which I found was pretty distinctive from all the other books I have read so far. His books will surely have a strong impact on everyone's lives.

This book stimulates and enhances the positive energy in me. I wish to read many similar books.

Scandinavian fiction

These are the best translated works I have ever read - The Martin Beck" series by Maj sjowall and Per Wahloo and The Crow Girl" by Erik Axl Sund. They are both Swedish novels. "Martin Beck" is a series of books collectively titled "The Story of a Crime". I recently started reading translated books and this is the first book I fell in love with. Martin Beck, the protagonist of series, is a fictional Swedish detective. He solves crimes and mysteries. I have read lots of detective and crime novels but this series is my personal favourite. Although it's a bit gory, it has lots of mysteries. Each book has a different storyline which makes it really good.

"The Crow Girl" is a crime and psychological horror novel. It is the Everest of Scandinavian crime fiction. This was my first time reading a psychological thriller and it actually scared me a little. It follows Detective Jeanette Kihlberg as tries to find the answers for the murder of a young boy.

The adventures of Amir Hamza

My favourite translated work is "The Adventures of Amir Hamza". It was originally written in Persian, by Ghalib Lakhnavi and Abdullah Bilgrami and translated in English by Musharraf Ali Farooqi. This is a major Indo-Persian epic. The book. falls under adventure and fairy tale genre. It follows an adventurer, Amir Hamza, who is under the Persian king and fights many campaigns. He goes to the supernatural

"The Pied Piper of Hamelin”

The "Pied Piper of Hamelin" is a book written by Robert Browning in the German language in 1248. The story was later translated into English. This is a superb story and it tells us that we should always keep our promises and never go back on our word and cheat anyone.

In this story, there is a town named Hamelin which ir infested by rats. So, the realm and fights enemies even there, and dies heroically. I love this book because it has a great deal of imagination and we can easily pass our time as this book is highly engrossing. It is like an odyssey of the Middle East. This book involves sages, prophets, spies, demons, mad emperors and so on. This novel reminds me of the story of King Arthur.

A French fairytale

One of the best translated works I have read is "Little Red Riding Hood". The story, a fairytale for children, has been translated from French to English by Sarah Ardizzone. The book has been short listed for UKLA children's book. In the story, Little Red Riding Hood is a girl, who lives with her mother. Once she leaves her house to visit her grandmother. On the way, she meets a big, bad wolf in the forest. She continues walking and reaches the house. Once she is there, she realises that something is different. She sees the wolf, who has dressed up as her grandmother. He tells her has eaten her grandma and now she is scared because she thinks he would eat her, too. In the end, the neighbours come and help her. The moral of the story is we should never talk to strangers. I enjoyed this story because it has good lessons.

"Old Arthur and "The Chess Players"

My most favourite translated works are "Old Arthur (written in English by Liesel Moak Skorpen, and translated to Tamil by Siragini and Athithan), and "The Chess Players (originally written in Hindi by Munshi Premchand and translated by T.C Ghai), "Old Arthur is a story about an old dog named Arthur, who works for a farmer. He helps the farmer, and does all his work skillfully. But as Arthur grows old, he can't work as efficiently as before. The farmer becomes angry with him day by day, and one day, decides to shoot the old dog. He somehow escapes and one day, a boy named William buys Arthur. He washes Arthur, gives him good food, and they soon become friends. The story couls with, "William and Arthur lived happily ever after. I read the translated Tamil version first. Though I later also read the original work in English, I'll never forget the Tamil version.

"The Chess Players is about two best friends Mir Sahib and Mirza, who play chess every day. The English East India Company invades Lucknow. But the friends are not worried. They are interested only in chess, and continue playing, hiding in an old mosque. One day. Mirza loses two consecutive matches and the two friends start arguing. The argument soon turns into a swordfight killing both the men, I like this story very much, and it has deep thoughts, and philosophical ideas.

A little girl with a free mind

The translated works I loved the most are "Totto Chan: The Little Girl at the Window and "Where the Mind is Without Fear.

"Totto Chan" originally written in Japanese by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, has been translated into more than 30 languages. As the title suggests, it is the story of a little girl named Totto Chan. It takes place during WWII. Totto is a really curious girl and is always asking questions, which results in her getting expelled from her school. She has an extremely active mind. For instance, one moment she is thinking of becoming a teacher and just ten minutes later she starts thinking of becoming a musician. This book describes her life and her journey in her new and extraordinary school.

"Where the Mind is Without Fear is a poem written by Rabindranath Tagore. Originally written in Bengali, it was translated into English by Tagore himself. This poem is masterpiece. This poem was written by Tagore during the Indian freedom struggle. It is an indication of what free India should look like.

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What is Metaverse?

The term, first coined by science fiction writer Neal Stephenson in 1992 for his novel 'Snow Crash', is a virtual environment that one can go inside of instead of looking at something on the screen. It is the Internet brought to life. If and when the metaverse becomes a reality, it will be a space where endless interactions can take place between people for meetings, work and play using gadgets such as virtual reality headsets, smartphone apps and augmented reality glasses.

It could also include other aspects of online life such as e-commerce shopping and social media.

What can you do there?

The possibilities are endless as the technology comes to life and evolves. But for starters, you could attend a virtual concert, try on digital clothing, go on a trip with friends and visit the zoo. The metaverse will also take video call interactions to the next level. Instead of meeting each other on the laptop screen, you can meet and interact with each other in a virtual house. It would be like you are all there together, except not physically. The metaverse is the evolution of the Internet. But for it to work, technology giants will have to collaborate to create one giant metaverse.

Which companies are going all in?

We know Facebook, now Meta, is giving everything it has to make this metaverse a reality. But is it the only company making strides? Not really. Nvidia, the chipmaker company, Epic Games, the company behind Fortnite, and Microsoft are some of the other companies working towards making the metaverse a reality.

The pros and cons

The idea of a metaverse seems exciting. It could bring people separated by borders together in one virtual space and give them the feeling of being together almost physically. The Metaverse might also aid education and learning as students get to experience abstract concepts, making it easier for them to understand and process such concepts. However, it has its own demerits. With hate on social media getting worse every day, imagine the impact it would have if it is delivered in a virtual room which is meant to feel real?

Similarly, the metaverse might make youngsters lead a second life. very different from who they are in reality. It could entice them into thinking they are more likable in the virtual world, making them get addicted and slowly disconnecting them from the real world happenings.

Over everything else, while the Internet in itself hasn't penetrated into several parts of the world due to high costs of connection, upgrading to the metaverse might be difficult to impossible for a few due to the need for a high-end connection and investment in gadgets such as virtual reality glasses. It could actually further the digital divide.

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What is the JCB Literature Prize?

Literary awards seek to bestow honour and recognition on outstanding pieces of literature. Over the years, Booker and Nobel have emerged as prestigious prizes internationally.

India too has its own brand of literary awards, which have gained international fame and recognition such as the Jnanpith, Sahitya Akademi, and the JCB Prize for Literature. Earlier this month, the long list of the 2021 JCB Prize for Literature was announced. The 10 novels on the long list were selected by a jury comprising author and literary translator Sara Rai, designer and art historian Annapuma Garimella, author and translator Shahnaz Habib, writer podcaster Amit Varma and journalist-editor Prem Panicker.

What is the JCB Prize?

India's richest literary prize, it was established in 2018 by the JCB Literature Foundation, which is run by the global manufacturer of earthmoving and construction equipment. The winner of the coveted award will receive Rs 25 lakh, and if it happens to be a translated work, the translator will get 10 lakh. The shortlisted authors also get Rs 1 lakh each and translators Rs 50,000.

Beginner's luck

This year’s long list consists majorly of debutant works such as "What We Know About Her by Krupa Ge and "Anti-Clock" by VI James. Malayalam writer S Hareesh had won the prize in 2020 for the translation of his novel "Moustache". In 2019, author Madhuri Vijay won for her debut novel The Far Field", while in 2018 the award went to Benyamin for his "Jasmine Days", a novel translated from Malayalam to English.

What's next?

The shortlist of the JCB Prize will be announced on October 4, while the winner will be declared on November 13.


  • What We Know About Her by Krupa Ge
  • "Anti-Clock" by VJ James (English translation by Ministry S)
  • "Name Place Animal Thing" by Daribha Lyndem
  • "A Death in Sonagachhi" by Rijula Das
  • The Plague Upon Us" by Shabir Ahmed Mir
  • "Gods and Ends" by Lindsay Pereira
  • The Dharma Forest" by Keerthik Sasidharan
  • "Asoca" by Invin Allan Sealy
  • "A Soliloquy" by M Mukunda  translated from Malayalam by Fathima EV and Nandakumar K)
  • “The Man Who Learnt to Fly but Could Not Land" by Thachom Poyil Rajeevan (translated from Malayalam by PJ Mathew).

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