Fifty Shades of Grey has been the biggest story in the literary world for months. It all started when E.L. James writing was writing Twilight fan fiction to cope with the sexual frustration that can come with a mid-life crisis. Because of its erotic nature, Fifty Shades got spread around and popular, particularly with women over thirty. E.L. James basically is the only person to succeed in making “Mommy Porn”. That’s porn made for moms, not porn featuring moms.
The series, which includes Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, has sold thirty-one million copies worldwide. It even broke Harry Potter’s record for fastest selling paperback. Not bad for a story that started as fan fiction and features BDSM. Those are traditionally thought of as niche markets. A movie and a porn-parody are not far off.
Its success has publishers trying to capitalize by putting out an almost carbon copy of the series. Penguin Publishing’s imprint Berkley Books has picked up series Gabriel’s Inferno. The rumor is that Berkley paid author Sylvain Reynard somewhere in the seven figures for the rights.
So what’s this all about? Here’s what the book’s website has to say about it:
“Enigmatic and sexy, Professor Gabriel Emerson is a well respected Dante specialist by day, but by night he devotes himself to an uninhibited life of pleasure. He uses his notorious good looks and sophisticated charm to gratify his every whim, but is secretly tortured by his dark past and consumed by the profound belief that he is beyond all hope of redemption.
“When the sweet and innocent Julia Mitchell enrolls as his graduate student, his attraction and mysterious connection to her not only jeopardizes his career, but sends him on a journey in which his past and his present collide.”
Based on that description you have to be really vanilla to be turned on by that. Some readers have claimed that unlike 50 Shades , Gabriel’s Inferno is not “Mommy Porn” but actually “Thinking Woman’s Porn”. Obviously, because it is set in a University and Reynard drops Dante’s name every now and then. Very intellectual.
With that feeble argument that it’s infinitely different from 50 Shades, the two series are laughably similar because they both started as Twilight fan fiction. That’s right, Gabriel’s Inferno was first serialized as The University of Edward Masen. The original website has been taken down but it’s nothing the Wayback Machine can’t handle.
What aspiring writers can learn from this story is that the only way to make a living anymore is to write Twilight fan fiction. It will be interesting to see if Gabriel’s Inferno can even come close to the success of Fifty Shades of Grey. Hopefully it is clear to you as it is to me that the Penguin Publishing is desperately counting on being able to duplicate the success.
In a way, it’s nice that Gore Vidal died yesterday. Had he been alive to see this deal, I’m sure he would have just lost all hope for Western Civilization. Or whatever hope he had left.
Also, if your mom is not satisfied after reading Fifty Shades of Grey or Gabriel’s Inferno, please refer her to Sex.com.