I guess there’s so much written about the novel by E L James that there shouldn’t be much more to write, but since the milieu from which she comes from isn’t that dissimilar from the one that I contribute to I thought I’d make a few observations.
As we all know by now the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy originates from the genre of fiction known as “fanfic” and especially from that flavour which takes a famous novel or film (in this case the Twilight series) and eroticises it. E L James then changed her pseudonym and cleaned up the references to Stephenie Meyer‘s characters, to produce the best-selling novel in a number of categories, which are:
- The best selling novel by a British writer
- The best selling novel to have come from the self-publication world of the internet.
- Best selling erotic novel ever.
All these are huge achievements and cannot be taken from her.
However, I have to confess that I’ve not read any of her books and, to be honest, I’m not likely to. I’m not a huge fan of BDSM; I’ve not been drawn by her prose style; the reviews haven’t been very good ; the synopsis of the story is too much like supposedly better novels about erotic adventures such as The Story of O that I have read and still didn’t enjoy that much; and I’m afraid that its origins in the world of on-line erotic fiction is actually a turn-off for me given the quality of the majority of stuff you find there.
I suppose the last assertion makes me some kind of a hypocrite, even as I wonder whether this might actually herald a new golden age from which my fiction might even benefit.
Well, whatever you think about Fifty Shades of Grey might well be irrelevant. There are lots of reasons why people might hunt out erotic literature on-line and in the age of e-book readers, easy downloads and (in the context of ASSTR and Stories OnLine) almost totally unedited for content, there must be many who’ve now been alerted to the presence of easily available and even free fiction with a sex element.
And it’s just possible that some of them might quite like some of the stuff I’ve written. I’m aware that I write for a relatively small niche of such readers, but I’m also aware that a small proportion of a very large number is itself a large number.
And with that thought, here’s a dirty picture by Stefan Gessel: