Melanie Abrams
Julius Addlesee
Shelley Aikens
A. Aimee
Jeanne Ainslie
Fredrica Alleyn
Rebecca Ambrose
Diane Anderson-Minshall
Laura Antoniou
Janine Ashbless
Lisette Ashton
Gavin Atlas
Danielle Austen
J. P. Beausejour
P.K. Belden
Tina Bell
Jove Belle
Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore
Ronica Black
Candace Blevins
Primula Bond
Lionel Bramble
A. J. Bray
Samantha Brook
Matt Brooks
Zetta Brown
James Buchanan
Louisa Burton
Angela Campion
Angela Caperton
Annabeth Carew
Julia Chambers
Dale Chase
M. Christian
Greta Christina
Valentina Cilescu
Rae Clark
NJ Cole
Christina Crooks
Julius Culdrose
Portia da Costa
Alan Daniels
Angraecus Daniels
Dena De Paulo
Vincent Diamond
Susan DiPlacido
Noelle Douglas-Brown
Hypnotic Dreams
Amanda Earl
Hank Edwards
Jeremy Edwards
Stephen Elliott
Madelynne Ellis
Justine Elyot
Aurelia T. Evans
Lucy Felthouse
Jesse Fox
I. G. Frederick
Simone Freier
Louis Friend
Polly Frost
William Gaius
Bob Genz
Shanna Germain
J. J. Giles
Lesley Gowan
K D Grace
K. D. Grace
Sacchi Green
Ernest Greene
Tamzin Hall
R. E. Hargrave
P. S. Haven
Trebor Healey
Vicki Hendricks
Scott Alexander Hess
Richard Higgins
Julie Hilden
E. M. Hillwood
Amber Hipple
William Holden
Senta Holland
David Holly
Michelle Houston
Debra Hyde
M. E. Hydra
Vina Jackson
Anneke Jacob
Maxim Jakubowski
Kay Jaybee
Ronan Jefferson
Amanda Jilling
SM Johnson
Raven Kaldera
J. P. Kansas
Kevin Killian
D. L. King
Catt Kingsgrave
Kate Kinsey
Geoffrey Knight
Varian Krylov
Vivienne LaFay
Teresa Lamai
Lisa Lane
Randall Lang
James Lear
Amber Lee
Nikko Lee
Tanith Lee
Annabeth Leong
James W. Lewis
Marilyn Jaye Lewis
Ashley Lister
Fiona Locke
Clare London
Scottie Lowe
Simon Lowrie
Catherine Lundoff
Michael T. Luongo
Jay Lygon
Helen E. H. Madden
Nancy Madore
Jodi Malpas
Jeff Mann
Alma Marceau
Sommer Marsden
Gwen Masters
Sean Meriwether
Bridget Midway
I. J. Miller
Madeline Moore
Lucy V. Morgan
Julia Morizawa
David C. Morrow
Walter Mosley
Peggy Munson
Zoe Myonas
Alicia Night Orchid
Craig Odanovich
Cassandra Park
Michael Perkins
Christopher Pierce
Lance Porter
Jack L. Pyke
Devyn Quinn
Cameron Quitain
R. V. Raiment
Shakir Rashaan
Jean Roberta
Paige Roberts
Sam Rosenthal
D. V. Sadero
C Sanchez-Garcia
Lisabet Sarai
R Paul Sardanas
R. Paul Sardanas
Elizabeth Schechter
Erica Scott
Kemble Scott
Mele Shaw
Simon Sheppard
Tom Simple
Talia Skye
Susan St. Aubin
Charlotte Stein
C. Stetson
Chancery Stone
Donna George Storey
Darcy Sweet
Rebecca Symmons
Mitzi Szereto
Cecilia Tan
Lily Temperley
Vinnie Tesla
Claire Thompson
Alexis Trevelyan
Alison Tyler
Gloria Vanderbilt
Vanessa Vaughn
Elissa Wald
Saskia Walker
Kimberly Warner-Cohen
Brian Whitney
Carrie Williams
Peter Wolkoff
T. Martin Woody
Beth Wylde
Daddy X
Lux Zakari
Fiona Zedde
This ManThis Man
By: Jodi Malpas
ISBN: 1455578312
October 2013

Reviewed By: Ashley Lister

In the future, the distant future that was promised to us long ago, where we ride hoverboards and commute via flying cars, researchers will have specific names for our time period. In particular I think researchers will divide the eras of erotic literature into Pre-50SOG (Prior to the publication of Fifty Shades of Grey) and Post-50SOG (In the period following the publication of Fifty Shades of Grey).

I riffle through the piles and piles of paraphernalia sprawled all over my bedroom floor. I’m going to be late. “Kate!” I yell frantically. Where the hell are they? I run out onto the landing and throw myself over the banister. “Kate!”

I hear the familiar sound of a wooden spoon bashing the edges of a ceramic bowl as Kate appears at the bottom of the stairs, her red hair piled high in a mass of curls. She looks up at me with a tired expression. It’s an expression that I’ve become used to recently.

“Keys!” Have you seen my car keys?”” I puff at her.

“They’re on the table under the mirror where you left them last night.” She rolls her eyes, taking herself and her cake mixture back to her workshop.

These are the opening lines to This Man, the first of a trilogy of books that tells the story of Ava O’Shea and her relationship with Jesse Ward. As you read the above, about Ava and Kate, in the first of a trilogy, presented in paperback as a black bound book with silver/white iconic imagery on the cover, it’s easy to acknowledge we’re living in a Post-50SOG society.

I’m not trying to suggest that a Post-50SOG world is indicative of a dystopian society (although the absence of hoverboards and flying cars does seem to lend itself to an idea of dystopia, There were no hoverboards or flying cars in Orwell’s 1984 and that was pretty shit). Fifty Shades sold an enormous amount copies and I’ve always maintained that 70,000,000 lemmings can’t be wrong. I’m simply trying to point out that it’s impossible to read This Man without realising the book, characters, packaging and concept do appear to have been shaped by the fact that we live in a Post-50SOG community.

Perhaps it would be easier to illustrate my point with some sex.

“Don’t stop!” I scream, flinging my hands up to grab his slippery biceps. I dig my nails in to try and find some grip, prompting him to yell more and pound harder. I throw my head back in despair. The power and control he has is beyond comprehension.

“Damn it, Ava. Look at me!”

My head falls back down and our eyes meet. His pupils are huge and glazed, nearly cancelling out the greenness of his stare, and I notice his frown deepening and sweat dripping down his temples. Shifting my hands to the back of his head I fist my hands in his saturated hair, pulling his head down so our lips collide and our tongues clash, while he continues his punishing blows.

I can’t hold back any more. “Jesse, I’m going.” I pant against his lips. The tops of my fingers are numb from my stupidly fierce grasp of him.

“Fuck! Together, okay?” he strains through his clenched teeth, driving harder a few more body-blowing, mind-numbing times, before yelling., “Now!”

I let it go – all of the pent-up heaviness in my groin, the weight in my lungs and the fire in my belly – it all comes out on a massive rush of pressure and a very loud scream.

“Jesus Christ!” he cries, thrusting one last, powerful time before stilling over me.

In the Pre-50SOG world, erotic fiction was identified by the fact that it provided innovative titillation. Books would be discussed for their inventive approach to coitus, their cruel approach to BDSM or the appeal of unfamiliar, unusual and possibly illegal practices being described. Character, as always, was consistent with the milieu of the story. In the Post-50SOG the world is filled with trilogies that are packaged to look identical, and filled with characters and sex that don’t give us anything we haven’t seen fifty times before.

I’m going to point out here that I’m not having a go at This Man. If you want to rub one out to a book, as the passage above shows, This Man is more than suitable for those purposes. This Man also contains the plot.

But the book didn’t strike me as anything particularly new. As the aforementioned sex scene demonstrates, the intercourse is presented with an inoffensive vocabulary and illustrates intimacy with anodyne terms, adjectival phrases and a text message’s worth of exclamation points. The majority of anatomical descriptions relate to aspects of the body that are not conventionally associated with sex (head, teeth, biceps and lungs) and there are some lesser suggestions of more sexually familiar component parts such as a groin and tongues. I’m not saying this is the wrong way to write erotic fiction. I’m just pointing out that, in the Post-50SOG world where we reside, this is standard.

This Man is good, but it’s no better than fifty other trilogies that are currently sitting on the shelves.

What I’m trying to say is: the worst thing about the consumerist future in which we currently reside is that we’re too often treated like consumers. This book, rather than being produced for entertainment or edification, is simply produced for consumption.