After Fifty Shades of Meh, Richardson-Reared Anne Rice is Putting the Bang in BDSM
I won't claim to understand much about the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon, though not because I have moral or personal objections to the subject matter. In fact, I'd posit that the key to world peace lies not in economic policy or cultural diplomacy so much as a few good (healthy, consensual) shags for all.
New covers keep the bodice ripping under wraps.
But, I do find offensive the idea of repackaged Twilight fan-fiction, sold as kink and featuring a female character who identifies as "submissive" based on rote gender stereotypes that are one-dimensional and contain little nuance. Not to mention that its author, E.L. James, is pulling down $1.34 million per-fucking-week, thanks to a protagonist whose most distinct personal identifier is the eloquent catch phrase, "Holy crap."
So, prompted by a friend's recent email regarding as much, I took to the intertubes where I quickly learned women have been commenting, blogging, raving about and re-discussing Anne Rice's Sleeping Beauty trilogy, a trifecta of kink written under a pen-name and initially published between '83 and '85.
Rice is, of course, best known as the original vampire lady (team Lestat, y'all!) who spent her formative years in North Texas at Richardson High before marrying her high school sweetheart in Denton.
As it turns out, Rice's camp just relaunched the series with a new preface and what publicist Liz Keenan calls updated jackets that speak "more to the new generation of erotica readers." In other words, you can read them without the risk of being kicked off a Southwest flight.
Rice's trilogy was written and thrived -- underground -- during the notoriously conservative 1980s, and the relaunch seems shrewd in its timeliness. Rolling off of James' success, but in bolder tones, Rice's erotica -- originally published under the pseudonym A.N. Roquelaure -- hits a scene where women are reminded daily that frank and honest expressions of sexuality amount to moral turpitude of the basest degree. With regard to Fifty Shades of Grey, my friend - who is, in fact, a "mommy" - says that the "love story is sweet," but that she kept reading the "juicy" parts thinking, "been there, done that." If the relatively tame Fifty Shades of Grey series can be considered kink in this climate, the Roquelaure books are poised to foment revolution.