Everyone else is talking about it, so I thought I’d give Fifty Shades of Grey a chance. Just the free sample you can download to your Kindle, mind, not the whole thing. I wasn’t allowed far enough in to get to the naughty bits, so I can’t judge those*.
The fan fiction roots show- there is a tendency to list what the characters are doing, action by action, and to give location descriptions that don’t conjure up much sense of location- but I’ve read “proper” books that have been worse**.
FSoG is a romance, I guess, though most people are going to work their way through the clunky seduction hoping to get worked up by the kinky rope play. It’s the erotic elements, after all, that have got it all the attention. Because it’s erotica aimed at women it’s earned the description of “Mommy porn” and because it’s been so successful it has attracted a lot of- mostly negative- attention. Some of the bad mouthing has to be down to jealousy (the three book series has sold 20 million copies sfter all) or snobbery, but, as Laurie Penny has pointed out, some of it is because it’s a dirty book aimed at women.
Penny also argues that it doesn’t matter that the Grey books are badly written, because they can be considered porn and it’s okay if porn is a bit crappy. On this I have to disagree with her. There’s no reason why dirty books should have to be bad. We need material we can hold up as high quality smut, and it needs to be supported.
I’m sure there’s a market for naughty tales with interesting stories- I am, after all, writing a sexy ghost story, so I’d best be right. Probably not anything that wants to be called literary erotica- too pretentious to be exciting- but something with the energy and joy of genre fiction, punctuated with sex as often as chases or fights. If you know of any that already exists then please do let me know about it.
*Is it bad that I want to read the naughty bits and see how good/bad/indifferent they really are.
**I’ve made a habit of it, in fact. I forced myself through to the end of The Da Vinci Code because that particular copy had already defeated two other people. And I used to have a bad technothriller habit, though it did provide the inspiration for Sounds of Soldiers.
I followed John Redwood’s blog before the last election and found his arguments repetetive and dumb. I haven’t visited much since then, but thought I’d go back and have a look again. He’s still making dumb arguments.
In a post titled Rebalancing the Economy Redwood laments the lack of growth of UK industry. Amongst the reasons he cites for this happening is
Industry needs cheap energy in abundance. The UK is taxing and testing high energy using industries by its dear energy policies, partly required by its consent to EU carbon dioxide policies.
Because Europe’s industrial powerhouse, Germany, didn’t get where it is today by consenting to EU carbon dioxide policies. It did it by exceeding the targets, and building a world leading renewable energy industry to do it.
The Vulcan grinds out his climate change denial nonsense in Open Letter to the new DG of the BBC, pretending to be all high minded and scientific with the non-argument that science is always finding out new stuff so we shouldn’t act on what we already know in case we know other stuff in the future. He also whines that deniers don’t get as much time on air as people who know what they’re talking about. In reality, the “skeptics” probably get more time- relative to their credibility- than they deserve.
If Redwood really cares as much as he claims about energy poverty and rebuilding the country’s industrial base he should put aside the denial dogma and take a leaf out of Germany’s book, or give some support to his deputy leader’s old idea of rejuvenating old shipyards to build wind turbines.
But he won’t do that, will he.
Update And just when I thought Redwood couldn’t make himself look any dumber I found his reply to a comment
There are also problems with Darwin’s theory that need further work. If life came from the primeval slime, why can’t we make it from slime ourselves?
It would appear the Vulcan is a Creationist too, or so stupid he’s swallowed their nonsense. I admit I didn’t have much respect for him before, but if this guy was once held up as the great intellectual of the Tory party you can see how we got this deep in the shit.
I just remembered something I posted in April 2006–
In January I was working on a few ideas I had about funding my webcomics and writing. It would be nice to have someone turn up and say “Here’s twenty grand, take a year out to write a novel and learn to paint.” but it’s not going to happen. So how about getting lots of people to give a few pounds each?
Web Patron would be a scheme to support art that was intended to appear initially or exclusively on the Internet, funded by Internet users. The decision on which projects would get funding would be taken by the people supplying the money.
The basic funding model
There would be a pool of projects requiring funding. Applicants would be expected to put up details of their proposal and links to their portfolio for prospective funders to browse.
Every month ten of these would be put onto the shortlist for funding. Each would have to expand on their case on a page on their own site. Here they could convince voters of the artistic merit of their endeavour.
Voting would be a simple enough process. A donation buys the right to choose three of the ten nominees. The minimum is a pound and the maximum is unlimited, but if you want to give a lot you’d be better checking the systems for sponsorship and full blown patronage. Votes might be weighted based upon the amount given, there would have to be some investigation of the effect this had on amounts donated. Unlike other sites where people vote, there will be no Top Scores list. I’ve been reading The Wisdom of Crowds and want each voter to make independent decisions.
At the end of the month votes are tallied and the top five projects get a share of the funding. The losers are free to rejoin the pool at the back of the queue or pull out. The winners, obviously, are removed from the pool, but can apply for funding of other projects in the future. There would, of course, be a section of Web Patron dedicated to succesful projects and press coverage.
Other funding methods
As mentioned, there would be other ways to fund projects. Prospective sponsors or patrons could search through the pool of applicants. When they found a project they wanted to be associated with, they could ask for an introduction. The sponsorship or patronage deal would be between the two parties, with no input from Web Patron, but on agreement the applicant would be removed from the pool.
A sponsorshop variation would see applicants opting in to an ad market, rather than the pool, where sponsors could bidto have their banners seen on the sites they choose. Web Patron would adminiater this and take a cut of the proceeds.
Paying the way
Web Patron isn’t intended to be run just for profit, but there’s no reason it shouldn’t benefit from its actions. And it will have to cover its running costs.
Initially the site will take a cut from the donations to cover expenses. As it grows there will be opportunities for merchandise and a shop selling recipients’ work. Undoubtedly as the brand grew other income streams would present themselves.
There’s no way I could ever do this at the moment. I have neither the time nor the money. However, I have several pages of notes on the idea if someone would like to take me on as a consultant on the project.
That sounds like the sort of idea that Kickstarter could have grown from. I don’t think they stole my idea, but it’s nice to pretend. And shows that I should follow up some of these silly ideas I have, rather than giving them away through the Department of Free Ideas, because you never know.