Do you read prologues and epilogues in stories, or do you skip over them to get to the meat of the story?
I'm the kind of person that would normally skip the prologue, or not buy the book if I open the first few pages to find a prologue, but what about you?
In general, a prologue is a short introduction before the first chapter of a book to explain some history or detailed background that absolutely cannot be shown any other way throughout the book. The same thing applies with an epilogue. An epilogue would normally find good usage after the last chapter of a lengthy novel to help explain the fate of certain characters when any other form would prove boring to the reader.
I ask this question because I will soon publish a short story with both a prologue and epilogue. The story is told through the point of view of a scribe in fifteenth-century china. It is a bit of alternate history, I suppose, and that's where the prologue comes into play. The story will be titled "The Fifth Beauty" and features my main character, Azra, from my paranormal novel "Lovestruck Succubus." In this story, the actions of Azra, and the scribe, bring about the discovery and development of Lapsang Souchong tea, a highly sought-after black tea dried over pinewood fires.
Anyway, the prologue gives a brief history of the four ancient beauties of China. I suppose my story is a kind of erotic alternate history. Hey don't laugh. Just wait and see what Azra, my demon succubus character, does to James Morrison of the Doors to help bring about his demise! The epilogue in my story will also contain a brief history, but will tell about how the scribe became famous and rich, and his new tea became an expensive commodity.
Tell me what you think. Would you ever read a short erotic story that contains both a prologue AND an epilogue?