Arts, Books, Venue

When eroticism comes across as comedic

A couple of days ago, my friends and I were sitting in our living room paying ‘Catan’, and the conversation got onto what we wanted to do after uni. My friend James Ward said that he wanted ideally to be a writer, but that his chosen writerly name, J. R. Ward, had already been taken, by a writer of erotica, of all things.

This piqued my interest – erotica and sex has never really been my thing, but I decided, out of sheer curiosity, to check out the work of J. R. Ward, and, Jesus fucking Christ, I was not disappointed.

J. R. Ward writes homoerotic vampire fiction, and has over forty published titles, such as Dark Lover, Lover Awakened, Lover Reborn, Lover Eternal, Lover at Last, Lover Unbound, and various other works beginning with the title “Lover.” She’s also a New York Times Bestseller. Now, usually I’m not bothered by these things – people are free to like whatever they want, and some erotica is objectively well-written, such as Venus in Furs. However, J. R. Ward’s titles are not, and the fact she’s a bestseller baffles me. Here are a couple of quotes from her more acclaimed novels: 

“Hey, I know you’ve never seen me before, but I’m your dad. Oh, and guess what? You’ve won the evolutionary lottery: You’re a vampire. Let’s go to Disneyland!” (Dark Lover)

“I liked you, cop. From the moment I met you. No… not the first moment. I wanted to kill you when I first met you. But then I liked you. A lot.” (Lover Revealed)

This woman is a NYT bestseller. Let that sink in; she’s sold as many copies as The Satanic Verses and books in the Harry Potter series. 

That, to me, is laughable. Reading J. R. Ward is like watching a bootleg version of The Room, and that is why she is my favourite author to write about love and sex. I guarantee you’ll be comically satisfied if you give her work a read.

Furthermore, the tragic irony of her being called “J. R. Ward” is only intensified when you realise her real name is Jessica Bird – ironically she’d ended up stealing  James’ ideal fictional name to spiel out her vampiric trash.


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Alex Grenfell

May 2021
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