By Carolyn Kellogg
6:15 PM EST, November 8, 2012
There are people, apparently, who just can't get enough of the idea of Edward Cullen and Bella Swan having adult relations. "50 Shades of Grey" was a huge hit that went from small electronic publication to big bestseller status. E.L. James' series marked the beginning, not the end, of a full flow of fan fiction that started where Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" series would not go.
The latest being swept into the mainstream is "Beautiful Bastard" by Christina Lauren, a pseudonym for co-writers Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. The book will be published by Gallery Books, part of Simon & Schuster, in February 2013, followed in May by a sequel, "Beautiful Stranger."
The Christina Lauren book came before E.L. James' "50 Shades" series, but fans of fan fiction won't recognize the name. That's because it was originally titled "The Office." (The change is probably for the best).
Not to be confused with the American and British television shows called "The Office," the story by Christina Lauren reimagined Edward and Bella as a boss and an intern. There are a lot of closed-door meetings -- wink wink.
"'The Office' paved the way for 'Fifty Shades' and a thousand other imitators. It turned fan-fiction's 'porn without plot' into 'porn as plot,'" Anne Jamison, a professor at the University of Utah, told the Hollywood Reporter. She describes its characters as "sexually voracious, assertive and snarky adults."
In order to shake off the "Twilight" legacy -- and possible copyright issues -- Hobbs and Billings have substantially reworked "The Office." Its new iteration contains only about 20% of the original, its authors say.
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