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gender-flipped "twilight"

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#1 - October 06, 2015, 04:19 PM
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I hadn't heard of this, either...will Beau be as vapid and insipid as Bella? (As you can see my biases here, ha, I probably won't read to find out!)
#2 - October 06, 2015, 04:22 PM
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I hadn't heard of this, either...will Beau be as vapid and insipid as Bella? (As you can see my biases here, ha, I probably won't read to find out!)

Well, gee, Robin. I was hoping you'd read it so I wouldn't have to!!!! Crap. Any other takers? 

 :witch <----- so is she going to fly into Edward's room (or whatever his name is now) and sing to him?

I don't the get "why" of it. On the other hand, instant best-seller, no?  :blackcat
#3 - October 06, 2015, 04:26 PM
« Last Edit: October 06, 2015, 04:55 PM by CC »
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Like CC I'm hoping someone else will read it and report back  ::-)
#4 - October 06, 2015, 05:19 PM
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I agree. I loved the original version, but I just can't wrap my mind around the reversal. Anyone?
#5 - October 06, 2015, 09:07 PM

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Is it cynical to think it was easier than coming up with new material? As an author, how do you follow something that became so big your first time out? The pressure to perform must be immense.

(I haven't actually read any of the Twilight books, but did see the first movie)
#6 - October 07, 2015, 12:19 AM
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Is it cynical to think it was easier than coming up with new material? As an author, how do you follow something that became so big your first time out? The pressure to perform must be immense.

This.

I did read the books, but didn't see the movies. Was not a fan.

What I found interesting was something in a piece about it (on EW, maybe, I don't know, someone linked on Facebook), that indicated SM was happy to have a chance to correct some grammar and editing errors, as well as some issues with the myths she drew from. Which made me  :eek5
#7 - October 07, 2015, 03:19 AM

I think this was both a fun exercise for her and a way to respond to criticisms of her characters, writing, and politics. And hey, others have made millions on Twilight fanfic. Why not her?
#8 - October 07, 2015, 04:56 AM
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That was actually one of the best tweets I saw yesterday about it.

"So, Stephanie Meyers is writing Twilight fanfic now?" followed by, "Looks like we know what E.L. James's next book will be about."

All the  :poke fun aside, I agree, Kell. I also think it must be hard to leave a franchise like that behind regardless of the money.
#9 - October 07, 2015, 05:13 AM

I remember reading an interview she gave after the Twilight saga was over that she was working on five new books -- not related to Twilight.

I don't know what happened to any of those, but I think you all are right. The pressure. For everything you do to somehow be equal to Twilight in sales or scope, or trying to create something that becomes part of the bedrock of literary sales, even. Ugh. Because you know everything she does is going to be analyzed to death/criticized. I wonder how that would stymie you in this age of Twitter/media saturation, which she didn't really face ten years ago. 

I imagine it would be easier or at least more comfortable to go back to what you know and tinker around with that.

"Looks like we know what E.L. James's next book will be about."

Too true.  :whip
#10 - October 07, 2015, 06:36 AM
« Last Edit: October 07, 2015, 06:40 AM by CC »
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Have I been living under a rock?

Well... MAYBE you've been living under a rock, but the reason you've never heard of it before yesterday is because nobody KNEW about it until yesterday. Even the booksellers who stocked it had to sign non-disclosure agreements and were only told it was "something in the twilight universe" in conjunction with the 10th anniversary. So you got the news just at the same time the world did! :-)
#11 - October 07, 2015, 06:51 AM
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Well... MAYBE you've been living under a rock, but the reason you've never heard of it before yesterday is because nobody KNEW about it until yesterday. Even the booksellers who stocked it had to sign non-disclosure agreements and were only told it was "something in the twilight universe" in conjunction with the 10th anniversary. So you got the news just at the same time the world did! :-)

Ah... you can do that when you are SM, I guess -- have your own universe with surprise books. 

(Hey, Lit, good to see you. I'm not here that much. Hope you've been well...)
#12 - October 07, 2015, 07:52 AM
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Disclaimer: I haven't read any of Stephanie Meyer's books and I probably won't, but on a purely philosophical level, I love that she's doing this. I think we can all understand the impulse (advised or ill-advised) to respond to our critics, and it's fantastic that she's responding by writing a book, not talking trash in the media, taking down other authors, or doing stuff that's, you know, NOT writing a book. I also think it's fascinating as a thought experiment, and I'm very, very curious to see if/how the gender-flipped characters are criticized.
#13 - October 07, 2015, 08:24 AM

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I agree, Mike. Well said. I read the first in the series and couldn't get past the first few chapters of book two, but this one I might have to read.  :yup
#14 - October 07, 2015, 08:43 AM

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I thought it was just me/my new location that is curiously low on books. I heard her talking about it on NPR yesterday, and was like, what? There's been nothing on this, and now it comes out tomorrow?? Maybe the quiet on marketing is so that people who want to just read it will read it, without weeks and months of people jumping all over her before the book is even out. Mike's got a point. She's taken an incredible amount of flak from people who don't like her books and don't want anyone to forget that fact, and instead of starting a war on Goodreads or whatever, she's done some writing, instead. Who knows? Maybe it will open the way for her to write new and different things in the future.
#15 - October 07, 2015, 08:54 AM

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Is it the exact same story with flipped characters, or is it just the same world but significantly different story? Does anybody know?

And, as always, Mike makes excellent points.
#16 - October 07, 2015, 09:17 AM
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I was in the bookstore this morning and saw it face-out. I think it's supposed to be the same story, only with the genders flipped. Looks like it comes bound with a copy of the original, where you flip the book over to read the other version.
#17 - October 07, 2015, 09:22 AM

Sounds like a fascinating experiment to me. I'm interested to see how readers respond.
#18 - October 07, 2015, 09:36 AM
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I was in the bookstore this morning and saw it face-out. I think it's supposed to be the same story, only with the genders flipped. Looks like it comes bound with a copy of the original, where you flip the book over to read the other version.

Really?? Still, it's definitely an interesting experiment, and I'm curious to hear the responses from readers of all types.

xposted with Whizbee -- :lol -- great minds and all.
#19 - October 07, 2015, 09:37 AM
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I suppose you could also see it as an interesting way of advertising the first book. More interesting than an ad in a magazine, anyway!
#20 - October 07, 2015, 10:20 AM

I also think it's fascinating as a thought experiment, and I'm very, very curious to see if/how the gender-flipped characters are criticized.

The criticism so far is not about the book she did release, but that fans wanted her to release Midnight Sun, which was the same book as Twilight, except told from Edward's POV. She shelved that one many years ago when parts of it leaked online.

I feel it's a bit sad that she feels she has to answer for editing/grammar issues -- no one can catch everything, including the editor.
#21 - October 07, 2015, 10:28 AM
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The criticism so far is not about the book she did release, but that fans wanted her to release Midnight Sun, which was the same book as Twilight, except told from Edward's POV. She shelved that one many years ago when parts of it leaked online.

This seems to explain the curious marketing for the current book - the last time she tried to add a new book to the series, it was basically ripped apart before it ever actually reached publication. Which seems wildly unfair. This way, there's no chance for negative responses before the book is even available.
#22 - October 07, 2015, 01:19 PM

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I have to confess to a high level of curiosity. I liked the original book for what it was... Just a fun story as long as you didn't take it too literally or read too much into it. But 10 years ago, I was in a very different place in my life (and I'm sure most of the people who were kids when they first read it are grown up by now and who knows whether they'll come back to it). I'm not sure how I'll react to this one. I think it's either be like or hate; I doubt I'll love it beyond all reason.

As an author, I think it's a neat exercise, but I'm not sure that it wouldn't be have been better left unpublished. It sounds like fanfic and I'm sure there are already some of those with this exact "twist" out there. She'll make a ton of money, but if it tanks will she ever be able to go forward? I think she's already struggling to leave it all behind and find the courage to try something new. If this gets made fun of, we'll never hear any more from her.  I'm still waiting on the sequels to The Host that were promised.

Maybe she needs to take the JK Rowling approach and do some things under a pen name in a different genre and then have it "slip" that she wrote it.
#23 - October 07, 2015, 02:42 PM
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I don't know anything about SM's inner life, so I won't speculate on what she's thinking or feeling, but people have been publicly making fun of her and her work for a pretty long time now. I don't intend to dismiss all of the potential criticism - I'm already seeing some things about racial and ethnic representation that merits real consideration - but fanfic is, by definition, written by fans. She's actually the author, you know? Whatever the public perceptions of quality (or lack thereof) end up being (and I imagine there'll be a lot of validity among those too), she's the legit, original creator.
#24 - October 07, 2015, 03:00 PM

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I don't know anything about SM's inner life, so I won't speculate on what she's thinking or feeling, but people have been publicly making fun of her and her work for a pretty long time now. I don't intend to dismiss all of the potential criticism - I'm already seeing some things about racial and ethnic representation that merits real consideration - but fanfic is, by definition, written by fans. She's actually the author, you know? Whatever the public perceptions of quality (or lack thereof) end up being (and I imagine there'll be a lot of validity among those too), she's the legit, original creator.

I'm fully aware that she's the creator, and I did not mean to imply otherwise. My point was that this seems more like the kind of work that someone writing fanfiction would do (take an existing universe and "flip" or "twist" it in some way -- and I'm sure that some of her fans have already done exactly this same story idea), or that someone would do as a writing exercise. I'm not sure it's something that needed to be traditionally published.
#25 - October 07, 2015, 03:15 PM
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Robin McKinley did something similar. She wrote Beauty, and then 20 years later wrote Rose Daughter. Same story, different treatment. I don't think it happens often, but it does sometimes. Lisa Yee wrote the same story three times, from three different characters' viewpoints. I don't think I've seen a gender swap of the same story very often, but there's a precedent for authors reenvisioning their stories after the first iteration.

I guess the only way to know what this particular iteration is like is to read it. :)
#26 - October 07, 2015, 04:42 PM

... but people have been publicly making fun of her and her work for a pretty long time now. 

Mike -- they've also been buying it by the bucket loads, too. She's got 155 million copies in print, I believe. Plus four very successful movies.   

The downside to that is that people do expect a lot from successful authors. Is that fair? I don't know. Maybe readers shouldn't be more skeptical, but do they need to be less skeptical? Of a book where genders -- but not much else -- has changed?
#27 - October 07, 2015, 04:50 PM
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Readers absolutely have the right to be as skeptical as they want to be. No argument there. And I truly don't object to criticism of her work - I don't think people making fun of her work is the greatest thing in the world, but even that's something readers have the right to do. I suspect even the most mean-spirited gibes about Bella Swan as a character have a spicule of validity at their core.

I'm fascinated by this because the criticism of the TWILIGHT books that's caught my attention most strongly is rooted in feminist ideals - Bella's passive, she's complicit, she's subservient, she's an exemplar of destructive tropes about girls and women, she's a weak character who flies in the face of efforts to create female characters who are fully dimensional and real, she surrenders agency in a way that patriarchal forces want girls and women to surrender, etc. - and that by flipping the gender of the characters, Meyer's taking that perception of the female character and inverting it. I don't see that as a minor detail; it feels HUGE to me. Now, I probably won't read the book, as I said, so my perspective on whatever's said about the new book will be limited. Still, I'm curious to see it.
#28 - October 07, 2015, 05:44 PM

... and that by flipping the gender of the characters, Meyer's taking that perception of the female character and inverting it. I don't see that as a minor detail; it feels HUGE to me....

Okay -- now we are talking. Now I get where you are coming from.

I think in reading many reactions in this last hour online from people who have read at least parts of the new book (including talking to someone I know personally who is a big fan of the series) the issue is that not much new "writing" was done. Beaufort is basically just Bella -- shy, clumsy, and passive. So what you have now is a dominant female vampire and a somewhat submissive boy who is in love with her. It turns nothing on its head. If you didn't like those attributes before -- you won't like them now either. Because the "issues" that readers had (such as stalking...) with the series are still present, it's just that they've been transferred onto Beaufort.

(I did read all four books originally. They were readable. Had great pacing. Were sometimes eye rolling. Very fun for lively discussions. I don't plan on reading this one. Not passing judgment on anyone who does or who winds up loving it.)   
#29 - October 07, 2015, 05:58 PM
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I'm fascinated by this because the criticism of the TWILIGHT books that's caught my attention most strongly is rooted in feminist ideals - Bella's passive, she's complicit, she's subservient, she's an exemplar of destructive tropes about girls and women, she's a weak character who flies in the face of efforts to create female characters who are fully dimensional and real, she surrenders agency in a way that patriarchal forces want girls and women to surrender, etc. - and that by flipping the gender of the characters, Meyer's taking that perception of the female character and inverting it. I don't see that as a minor detail; it feels HUGE to me. Now, I probably won't read the book, as I said, so my perspective on whatever's said about the new book will be limited. Still, I'm curious to see it.

This is my biggest curiosity, because it was one of my biggest criticisms of the books. Not so much THAT the author is swapping roles -- but what happens when she does.  I wonder if the male-Bella will have these same characteristics of the original female-Bella, and if so, what will the criticism be of that character, if any? And how will critics view the new female-Edward, the strong, powerful, in-control character? Also, by gender-flipping, is there anything about the books and plot that HAVE to change, and have changed? I don't know. But it's curious. I'm curious. (But probably not enough to read for myself.)

And yes, people expect a lot from successful authors. JK endured a fair share of criticism in her first post-HP attempt. Speaking of JK, I, for one, would totally read a series in which Neville Longbottom gets marked by Voldemort as the Chosen One. Or the series written in Hermione's POV. Or Snape's! A prequel! A sequel! I'm sure fanfic exists for these. But if JK wrote it? I'm pre-purchasing today.

I don't know what motivation an author would have for writing stories that rework original tales, especially popular ones. For themselves, for fans, for money? It's different for each author who does this. After that, it's up to the readers to decide, discuss, and dismiss -- or embrace.

It will be interesting to hear what those (of you) who read it have to say!



#30 - October 07, 2015, 05:59 PM

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