When I hear new bits of Potteriana from J.K. Rowling, I roll my eyes. (I’ve already written about Rowling’s tendency to pop up and color in the lines of the Potter canon a little more.) Then I heard about Grey and have been heaving sad sighs ever since. This week’s episode of the Book Riot Podcast and got the news that Stephanie Meyer is publishing a gender-swapped version of Twilight.
I groaned so loudly my cats went running.
I listened to Rebecca Schinsky and Jeff O’Neal chat about the criticism Twilight received for its portrayal of gender and what Meyer might be trying to accomplish with her rewrite. One thing that didn’t really come up in that discussion was the fact that Rowling, E.L. James, and Meyer are still spinning gold from their breakthrough bestsellers with these new projects. Rowling has moved on, more or less, with The Casual Vacancy and her Cormoran Strike novels. James and Meyer, however, have not. Meyer’s The Host didn’t make enough of a splash to be counted as a success. Meyer and James just keep going back to the money-spinners, because it’s safer than moving on to a new project. After all, anything they write now will be compared to their debuts.
Schinsky did make the comment on the Book Riot Podcast that Meyer may have gotten lost in Tumblr fan fic. She was kidding, but my first thoughts about Grey and the gender-swapped Twilight (after I got done making angry, unhappy noises) was that they sound an awful lot like fan fiction. (This isn’t an insult. Fan fiction is wonderfully creative, especially when fan writers tackle problems in the original story.)
My second thought about Meyer and James’ “new” projects was that they and their publishers are using movie studio logic for making money. Why take a chance on something new that might bomb when they can at least make some money by making a slightly different version or a continuation or a prequel of something that did work? I just want more universes and characters and plots, not rehashes of something I’ve already seen. If I ever do want a variation, there are millions of fan fiction stories out on the internet.