When the news hit the interwebs, the 'net went wild.
Mostly, as in true internet fashion, in a not-so-good way.
The general consensus on the internet is along the lines of "The first time it was crap, now it's even bigger crap the second time around," or "Gender-swapping does not imply a strong, female role - the role was poorly written anyway."
But, the writing community seems to have reacted in the biggest way. The community is abuzz with complaints, worries, and resentment. As someone who is both a writer and a publisher, I feel their pain.
I suppose it's time for me to weigh in on the latest catastrophe to wash up on the shores of the literary industry.
What we see, as a community, is a dangerous trend. It is hard enough as an indie author/publisher to get your books seen and into the hands of the public. But now, the big guns are loading the bookshelves at the few remaining bookstores with retellings and reimaginings of the same story.
This isn't the first retelling to set fire to the internet. Earlier in 2015, E L James, the author of the Twilight fan-fiction for disturbed housewives "Fifty Shades of Grey", released "Gray." This was a retelling of the exact same story, but from the eyes of the domestic-abuse-loving sociopath that was featured as her male lead in the original manuscript.
As with Twilight, most readers and other authors agreed that both of these books had a weak plotline at best and weren't spectacular works of fiction the first time around.
Of course, someone loved them - they made millions. Enough for the publisher, who is supposed to be a leader in great literary trends, to agree to push out the same exact book - twice.
Not only is this trend exceptionally lazy on the author's part, but it is dangerous. The literary world has been fighting a battle against TV, movies, and social media for decades Readers have dwindled, sales are struggling (not always, the industry has its ups and downs), and thanks to the self publishing trend (which is not always a bad thing, I must say. There are some gems out there.) the market is flooded with sub-par manuscripts for readers to muddle through when searching for a book.
And now... now there is this. Retellings, gender-swaps, and other POVs.
Now that E L James and Stephanie Meyer have successfully accomplished this task, you can bet there will be more authors jumping on the bandwagon. Authors now have an excuse to be lazy, to pump out books faster, and to write even when they have the dreaded writers block - because it doesn't take imagination to rewrite the same story. This trend, which I do hope dies quickly, allows writers to write more and think less.
Do I think that any of us smaller authors/publishers complaining about it will make any difference? No. Realistically, it doesn't matter what the literary community says about the situation: there are still hundreds of Twilight and Fifty Shades fans out there that will flock to stores to purchase these pathetic pieces of literature, and I suppose that's fine. After all, if the objective is to get people reading more, James & Meyer have definitely succeeded and I suppose we should be grateful for that fact. They're winning one of the battles in the war for the remainder of the literary community.
But like the atom bomb in a world war... is the aftermath really worth it?
I suppose we'll find out.