To be brutally honest, Fifty Shades of Grey is one of those books that ranked pretty high on my personal list of books to avoided like the plague even before I discovered that it had started life as a bit of dodgy BSDM fan-fiction using characters from the Twilight books. Euugh!
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I have a problem with erotica as a literary genre, I just prefer my books to be well-written, which I’m reliably assured isn’t the case with the ‘Fifty Shades’ books, not to mention that the overriding impression I’ve been given is that, despite their fetish elements, the books are otherwise desperately conventional by comparison to the works of Anais Nin and Emmanuelle Arsan*.
*There’s an easy way to distinguish between people who’ve actually read Arsan’s novel ‘Emmanuelle’ and those who’ve merely seen the 1974 film version, which starred the late Sylvia Kristel. Ask them why the final erotic scene in the novel is near enough unfilmable for certificated theatrical release – if they’ve actually read the book they’ll be able to tell you.
Still, the books have sold by the shitload and that, unfortunately, means an inevitable rush to try and cash in on the sudden popularity of ‘Mommy Porn’ before the current bubble bursts:
Sphere has won rights in a “choose your own adventure” erotica series following a fast-moving auction, with the books written by three South African authors under the pseudonym Helena S Paige…
The first title, A Girl Walks Into a Bar . . ., will be published in the UK in e-book in summer 2013 with physical publication in November. Translation rights have been sold in 10 countries after auction or pre-empt with the German auction entering its fifth round. Morrow won the US auction, and Jonathan Ball will publish in South Africa.
Grewal said: “The A Girl Walks In… series is inspired. To allow a woman to be in charge of her own erotic destiny, to relinquish control to her completely, is uniquely empowering and made these books stand out for all the right reasons. The concept is completely addictive, the storytelling gripping.
“The entire team is behind this and it’s going to be an utter pleasure to publish this series on the Sphere list.”
WTF? Dogging on Firetop Mountain?
Even allowing for the fact that role-play is central feature of BDSM, the idea of reworking Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone’s ‘Fighting Fantasy’ books as a masturbation aid for middle-aged women seems rather bizarre although it does strike me as an idea with a few comedic possibilities…
4. You enter the hotel bar and see a really hot-looking guy talking to the barman. What do you do?
a) Ignore him and look around to see who else might be available. (go to 47)
b) Walk over and offer to buy him a drink. (go to 71)
c) Walk over, introduce yourself and invite him up to your room. (go to 24)
Mmm.. okay let’s keep this as casual as possible – where’s section 24?
24. Roll 2D6. If you roll less than 5, go to 19, otherwise go to 52.
Okay, let’s roll the dice… Three. Is that good or bad? I guess I’ll have to find out by turning to section 19.
19. He smiles politely, declines your offer and explains that he’s waiting for his boyfriend to arrive.
Awww shit, he’s gay. Why is it always the good looking guys that turn out to be gay?
Oh, hang on a second, looks like I’ve got a couple of options here?
a) Look around for someone else to talk to? (go to 36)
b) Offer to buy him a drink and flirt with him? (go to 115)
So I can carry on flirting with him? Does that mean he’s bi rather than gay? Mmm… this could have some interesting possibilities.
Okay, let’s carry on flirting and see what happens.
115. Roll 1D20.
A D20. Oh right, that’s the one that looks like a knobbly football… and what’s this say underneath? I can use a special item, if I have one, to improve my dice roll?
Ahhhh, now I get it. *That’s* what a +3 Strap-on of Turning is for. It’s a good job I picked it up and put it in my handbag before I came down to the bar.
Okay, so let’s roll the dice… seventeen. Add on another three for the strap-on and that makes twenty. That’s got to be good.
If you rolled:
a) 6 or less, go to 51.
b) between 7 and 18, go to 25.
c) 19 or better, go to 85.
Right, let’s skip through to section 85 and see what the book has in store for me.
85. Just as you start to speak to the guy, his boyfriend arrives and walks up to the bar. They share a slow lingering kiss and then walk off together toward the hotel’s restaurant.
Oh FFS, what a complete and utter let down… oh well, what do I have to roll to get batteries?
Will this kind of thing really catch-on or will Fifty Shades fever have passed by the time these books hit the market?
Who knows… and, frankly, who cares?