If you’re looking for proof that the line between pleasure and pain can be a thin one, here is some additional evidence: There’s going to be another Fifty Shades of Grey book. It will be titled, simply, Grey, and it will be published in paperback and as an eBook by Vintage Books later this month. E.L. James, author of the Fifty Shades trilogy, broke the news of Grey’s imminent release on social media Monday morning. As she did so, she made clear to note that the book will be told from the point of view of the series’ protagonist—who is also, of course, the guy who has also doubled as the series’ villain: Christian Grey.
“Christian is a complex character, and readers have always been fascinated by his desires and motivations and his troubled past,” James explained. She added: “This book is dedicated to those readers who asked … and asked ... and asked ... and asked for this.”
The book will be released on June 18. Which is, the press release is happy to point out, Christian Grey's birthday.
If that all seems pretty craven, that's because it is. Grey, on the one hand, represents the reboot industrial complex at its logical extreme: Fifty Shades of Grey was inspired by a hugely successful book that begat more hugely successful books that begat a hugely successful movie that begat more hugely successful movies. ("Successful," to be clear, in the purely financial sense of the word.) Fifty Shades itself was a hugely successful book that begat another hugely successful book that begat another hugely successful book, and those, in turn, begat a hugely successful movie that will, in 2017, begat what will likely be another hugely successful movie. That the corporations behind these behemoths, among them Penguin Random House, owner of Vintage Books, and Universal Pictures, would want more stories to publicize and franchise and otherwise monetize is entirely unsurprising.