Seth Grahame-Smith, author of ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’, was sued by his publisher, Hachette on charges of ‘appropriating a 120-year old work of public domain.’
Smith, also the author of ‘Abraham Lincoln – Vampire Hunter’, is being taken to court for breach of contract. The dispute, which was posted online on Publishers Marketplace, stated that the author and publisher made a $4m (£3m) deal in 2010 for Grahame-Smith to deliver two new works, with an initial instalment of $1m paid to the author.
Grahame-Smith delivered the first book, The Last American Vampire, a sequel to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter that was published in January 2015. But according to Hachette, the deadline for delivery of the second was extended from June 2013 to April 2016.
The complaint says the Grahame-Smith delivered the second manuscript in June 2016, but alleges that the work was “not original to Smith, but instead is in large part an appropriation of a 120-year-old public-domain work”, that it “materially varies from the 80,000-100,000 word limit” agreed on, and that it “is not comparable in style and quality to Smith’s wholly original bestseller Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”.
Hachette is suing Grahame-Smith and his company Baby Gorilla for at least $500,000 – half of the advance it paid him six years ago, plus interest – saying that “by delivering a manuscript that varied so materially and substantially from that described in the agreement”, he is in breach of contract.