"Pug" is a short story by Theodora Goss, published in the July 2011 edition of Asimovs Science Fiction
. It is described as a "gentle SF story about a group of Victorian girls." No mention is made of the fact that it is a continuation
of Jane Austen's famous sophomore work, Pride and Prejudice
The protagonist is Miss Anne de Bourgh, and the setting is the great house and grounds of Rosings. In the original novel she gets no characterization beyond being pale and sickly
In "Pug," Anne is led by the titular dog to a mystical door, which can transport her to other places instantaneously. Along the way, she meets other characters who are similarly overlooked, or whose lives lack drama of any kind. Anne's backstory is also explained in more detail, and though it's a radically different genre than the original, nothing in the short story actually contradicts canon, and may actually unify Austen's first
and second works in an Expanded Universe
This work contains examples of:
- Blue Blood: Anne is the daughter and heiress of Lady Catherine, terror of the parrish.
- Big Screwed-Up Family: Following the spirit of Austen's subverting social stereotypes, the opening narration reveals the "d'Arcys" and and de Bourghs have been "murdering and marrying each other since forever."
- Death by Childbirth: Dr. Galt tells Anne in no uncertain terms that she should never get married, because her first child will kill her. This is also a rather Victorian way of saying she Can't Have Sex, Ever.
- Enemy Of My Enemy: Anne uses the enmity between Jenkinson and Cook to her advantage.
- Hero of Another Story: Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet make an appearance.
- Hidden Depths: Telling anything about Anne would have given her more depth than she had, but the story paints her as a remarkably complex woman who happens to lead an utterly uneventful life.
- Ill Girl: Anne
- My Beloved Smother: It's no surprise, but Catherine de Bourgh is no less overbearing, opinionated and foolish with her daughter than with anyone else.
- No Woman's Land: It's bad enough for a healthy and beautiful a woman in the Regency Era; it reaches epic levels of suck for a woman with a chronic heart condition.
- Old Maid: It's where Anne is headed; her mother is in total denial, naturally.
- Static Character: The protagonists of this story are flatter than the scenery in their original novels. The girls theorize that that's the reason they were chosen by the door.
- Take That: Anne thinks only a man in love could think Lizzy plays the pianoforte well.
- Unlucky Childhood Friend: To Darcy.