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Old 07-29-2021, 01:56 PM   #286
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Vlad the Impaler as a romantic figure is too hard for me to swallow.
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Old 07-29-2021, 02:16 PM   #287
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So I assume you don't read a series of books until the entire series is "complete"?
This is different. This is waiting for one book to be finished after reading part of it. What happens if the author needs to go back and change some things because of what was written that was not yet released? It just does not seem like a workable solution.
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Old 07-29-2021, 02:21 PM   #288
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Old 07-30-2021, 10:22 AM   #289
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There was a time when every first person shooter (even legendary ones like Star Wars: Dark Forces) was labelled a 'Doom clone' (nevermind the fact that Doom built on Wolfenstein 3D). Over time first person shooters became their own genre.

Same thing with Jim Dresden and Laurell K. Hamilton. I remember thinking Kim Harrison's books were clearly copycats. But now, urban fantasy is a whole thing. Not my cup of tea, but it is a popular genre.
I seem to recall the original AB's (Anita Blake, by LKH) as being pretty new and different. Perhaps I missed someone before her--entirely possible--but I "discovered" her with her first AB, as I'd found her with a book prior to that, a fantasy set in some alternative magical world, which I'd hoped she'd continue and never did. I read the first AB (paperback) when it first came out (yowza, bought it at Broders, in person!) and I thought it was pretty fresh, conceptually. At the time (oh, the irony, she burns!) I was pretty pleased with it, as we'd been inundated with all that Interview With A Vampire cruft, the "romantic" Lestat, yadda. Personally, I've always thought that Vamps are monsters--better-talking zombies, really--not romantic figures. So, a female heroine, ass-kicking, that murdered Vamps? Great. (And then, of course, well...sadly, we all know what happened. I guess I'm in the minority, though, as her books went on to hardcovers [!!!!] and bestselling lists. Only God knows why, though! Why in the name of Odin is poorly-written half-assed porn a good replacement for actual PLOT?)

Dresden was clearly post-HP, as I think I recall Harry (the Dresden character) commenting, in his first book that he wasn't that Harry the Wizard, amirite? Or am I imagining that? I know Butcher was encouraged by LKH, in fact, AND Deborah Chester (whom I believe was his teacher? I recently read a Chester non-fiction work and that sticks in my brain.). I think that Dresden was about a decade after the HP phenom? (nb.: I haven't looked this up. I'm getting old and senile, so if I screwed up, be kind when correcting me.)

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Every superhero stems from Superman's popularity.
Sure. If you really want to see the evolution of Superman, watch the very original animated movies/theater clips, and then watch him become more for little kids, then back to an older audience (WWII), back to less scary (Superman on TV) and all that. Fascinating stuff, really.

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Bandwagon jumping is irritating at first, but it's part of the creative process.
We've all seen outright admissions that book A started out as fanfic for Book B, or the like. I do think it IS part of the creative process.

I had a book in production, a million years ago, with a part-fae character who worked with a bunch of other fae characters, located in a de-sanctified church. The first Kim Hamilton came out when it was about 75% completed, and the entire novel was tossed. A friend of mine, Tim Hallinan, always says "if you get an idea, write it immediately. There are only so many ideas floating around and if you don't, someone else will."

I've seen it more than once. Whilst in Hollywood, you see clear plagiarism of concepts/ideas (White House Down, Olympus Has Fallen, as just two examples; we've all seen the others like the Bruce Willis Asteroid movie the same year as the other one, yadda), in books it really DOES seem to happen, that something else, somewhere, promulgates some ideas and then two or more people are both/all independently working on a very similar book at the same time. I don't know how or why, but I've seen it with my own (independent) eyes.

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Old 07-30-2021, 01:54 PM   #290
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I seem to recall the original AB's (Anita Blake, by LKH) as being pretty new and different. Perhaps I missed someone before her--entirely possible--but I "discovered" her with her first AB, as I'd found her with a book prior to that, a fantasy set in some alternative magical world, which I'd hoped she'd continue and never did. I read the first AB (paperback) when it first came out (yowza, bought it at Broders, in person!) and I thought it was pretty fresh, conceptually.
There was Kolchak the Night Stalker (1972) and Marvel Comics' Blade (1973). There's also Shadowrun (though with its science fiction elements, maybe urban fantasy fans don't consider it to be the same).

But there's no doubt that the Anita Blake books are what really started the urban fantasy boom.

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I had a book in production, a million years ago, with a part-fae character who worked with a bunch of other fae characters, located in a de-sanctified church. The first Kim Hamilton came out when it was about 75% completed, and the entire novel was tossed. A friend of mine, Tim Hallinan, always says "if you get an idea, write it immediately. There are only so many ideas floating around and if you don't, someone else will."
You could wait and if it becomes an established market then that's good news for you.

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I've seen it more than once. Whilst in Hollywood, you see clear plagiarism of concepts/ideas (White House Down, Olympus Has Fallen, as just two examples; we've all seen the others like the Bruce Willis Asteroid movie the same year as the other one, yadda), in books it really DOES seem to happen, that something else, somewhere, promulgates some ideas and then two or more people are both/all independently working on a very similar book at the same time. I don't know how or why, but I've seen it with my own (independent) eyes.
Cases of extremely similar moves aren't always plagiarism. In the '70's, one studio was working on a movie about a high rise on fire adapted from the novel The Tower. Another studio was working on a movie about a high rise on fire based on the book The Glass Inferno. Just a coincidence. In their case, they combined their movies into The Towering Inferno.
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Old 07-31-2021, 04:18 AM   #291
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There was Kolchak the Night Stalker (1972) and Marvel Comics' Blade (1973). There's also Shadowrun (though with its science fiction elements, maybe urban fantasy fans don't consider it to be the same).
Oh, I was a big Kolchak fan, (not that abysmal "remake") but I would never put that in the same arena as AB. Kolchak was a laughingstock at his newspaper, always chasing that elusive proof, etc. And half the time he was running in terror for his life. His "alternative universe" was our universe, with secrets--AB's alternative universe was a completely different world--a world in which a supernatural detective agency took on jobs publicly, populated by a mystery guy, an elf, etc. The AB character was licensed to take out Vamps. AND, let's not forget, the Vampire Executioner (the irony, again, it BURNS) was a petite woman who carried arms (rah!) and other weapons. Unique at the time. I'm pretty sure that I hadn't read a female character--certainly not in fantasy--that knew what an Uncle Mike's Inner-Pants Holster was!

Blade...again, that's mostly "our world with secrets," rather than an alternative universe in which the supernatural is everyday.

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But there's no doubt that the Anita Blake books are what really started the urban fantasy boom.
Oh, yeah. As eternally irritated with her as I am, over her throwing over her kickass female character to turn her into a supernatural-frat-boy blow-up F*ck Doll, I'll give her that. She definitely kickstarted the Dresdens etc. of the world. In Butcher's case, literally.

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You could wait and if it becomes an established market then that's good news for you.
Nah. When two plotlines are too similar, it's best to just toss the ms.

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Cases of extremely similar moves aren't always plagiarism. In the '70's, one studio was working on a movie about a high rise on fire adapted from the novel The Tower. Another studio was working on a movie about a high rise on fire based on the book The Glass Inferno. Just a coincidence. In their case, they combined their movies into The Towering Inferno.
I'm not saying that they're plagiarism at all. I'm saying that Joe Bloggs starts schlepping around Hollywood with his script, or his script idea, gives the High Concept (pitch line) and Jane Doe producer mentions it to John Smith actor who mentions it to...it's the telephone game and the next thing you know, Joe Bloggs is screwed and at least two studios are making some variant on it. (Kung Fu and Bruce Lee, anybody?) Those involved may very innocently think that they came up with the ideas themselves. {shrug}.

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Old 07-31-2021, 06:46 AM   #292
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Nah. When two plotlines are too similar, it's best to just toss the ms.
Yup.

I’m always reminded of the Nicholas Blake mystery, A Penknife in My Heart (1958) which ripped off the plotline of Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train (1950). He claimed ignorance which I think is suspect because there was also the Hitchcock film of 1951 and in any case, it’s the business of a serious author, even a serious mystery author, to keep abreast of the seminal. Certainly his editor/publisher should have saved him from himself.

Not a good look for the future poet laureate Cecil Day-Lewis.
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Old 07-31-2021, 07:31 AM   #293
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I'm not saying that they're plagiarism at all. I'm saying that Joe Bloggs starts schlepping around Hollywood with his script, or his script idea, gives the High Concept (pitch line)
The folks that make Star Trek were offered (and refused) Babylon 5. Then they did DS9. It's not a rip-off or copy, but certainly they might not have thought of it without B5.

Also two authors can be inspired by books or films ages ago, which they may even have forgotten.

And you need to connect with the culture of the reader. A certain amount of stereotypical to trope content is inevitable. There any number of stories and settings, but not many distinct plots.
The Greek legend of Orpheus was in some cases deliberately copied by European writers in the Middle Ages. Other Celtic and Norse tales may simply have similar elements because they are close to universal ideas.
Note that I'm pretty ignorant of folk stories of the Americas and Africa, know hardly any Indian and only a few famous Chinese. Some Persian, Egyptian, Greek and Roman. Our Norse stuff is mostly from a couple of Icelandic sources.
https://tvtropes.org/
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Old 07-31-2021, 11:15 AM   #294
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Also two authors can be inspired by books or films ages ago, which they may even have forgotten.
I think it's unavoidable. We take in all kinds of ideas, and tell ourselves stories, and we're influenced by what we've heard before. We're sponges, and we share our stories, which someone else then soaks in.

And there are only so many basic stories to tell, it's really sometimes just the minor details that differ. There are only so many plots that can apply to the human character. We just fiddle with different details and play with those.

I've read a lot of fanfic, and have even written some. There's just too much out there to have read it all and be sure that any plot I've come up with is 100% my own creation. And even if I did, the main advice about that kind of fear is to 'make it your own'. Don't take someone else's specifics, (even though it is fanfic after all, where following source canon can be very important. Or important *not* to follow it) and don't worry if it's been done before. Readers *like* certain tropes, and you can't say that yours won't be the very FIRST they ever read in it.

I love Jim Butcher's "Dresden Files" books, enjoy Urban Fantasy, and go looking for more of that. There's not always a lot of original plot-lines in the new stuff, but my enjoyment is all in the details. And when I like it, it just makes me look harder for the same thing.
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Old 07-31-2021, 11:25 AM   #295
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Yup.
Yes, if the core of the book, the central characters, the entire plot idea, etc. is too similar to something else, even if that something else is new (hell, particularly if it's new), sometimes it's best to just give it up.

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I’m always reminded of the Nicholas Blake mystery, A Penknife in My Heart (1958) which ripped off the plotline of Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train (1950). He claimed ignorance which I think is suspect because there was also the Hitchcock film of 1951 and in any case, it’s the business of a serious author, even a serious mystery author, to keep abreast of the seminal. Certainly his editor/publisher should have saved him from himself.

Not a good look for the future poet laureate Cecil Day-Lewis.
Exactly and it tainted Blake forever. I mean, how could anyone miss it, particularly given the notoriety of SOAT? If it hadn't been made into the Hitchcock movie, sure, maybe. I've seen midlister plots show up elsewhere and frankly, I've seen self-pubbed plots--in which I may be the only person alive, outside of the author's mum, who's seen it, because it's surely never been bought--show up in other books later, far better done which turn around and sell. It's hard for author A to argue deliberate plagiarism on a book that never sold 5 copies. But SOAT? Gimme a break.

Here's the thing though--having seen it myself, up close and personal--I'm inclined to believe him. Before I'd seen it, not so much, but as Hallinan says, only so many ideas floating around in the zeitgeist and ether at any given time and the muse may well whap several folks over the head on the same day. :-)

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The folks that make Star Trek were offered (and refused) Babylon 5. Then they did DS9. It's not a rip-off or copy, but certainly they might not have thought of it without B5.
I freely confess a wild love for Bab5. Defied expectations, turned some tropes on their heads (human-looking aliens always good, alien-looking aliens always bad) and G'Kar was way too cool for TV. :-) (A poster on the old alt.fan.dune list used to say that all the time, speaking of plagiarism...) Sure, it wasn't hardcore sci-fi; some space opera and all that, but still. I remember being wildly impressed at the time with Straczynski's long-term plot planning. I mean, that's something that you absolutely never saw back then. (And barely see now, despite claims to the contrary...) Hard to believe it's coming up on 30 years since it first aired.

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Also two authors can be inspired by books or films ages ago, which they may even have forgotten.
Uh...the Banacek episode with the trains--was a definite, er, "homage" to whats-is-face's book with the swapped boxes. Thorpe Hazel, right? Whitechurch? One of those authors that only nerds know? (Particularly railway nerds!) Let's face it, the writers there could reliably count on the fact that the number of Hazel readers wasn't even remotely close to, say, Poirot readers or Holmes' or or or...

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And you need to connect with the culture of the reader. A certain amount of stereotypical to trope content is inevitable. There any number of stories and settings, but not many distinct plots.
Sure. I mean, the Hero's Journey is the Hero's Journey, whether your protag is Paul Atreides or Harry Potter. Two hugely different books/sets of books, but at their core...not so different.


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The Greek legend of Orpheus was in some cases deliberately copied by European writers in the Middle Ages. Other Celtic and Norse tales may simply have similar elements because they are close to universal ideas.
Note that I'm pretty ignorant of folk stories of the Americas and Africa, know hardly any Indian and only a few famous Chinese. Some Persian, Egyptian, Greek and Roman. Our Norse stuff is mostly from a couple of Icelandic sources.
https://tvtropes.org/
I've always thought that Norse stuff was woefully neglected by pop culture, but of course, our buddy Thor (who was, in myth, a total dick, mind you) has surely resurrected that. I keep running into books with Norse gods, myths, etc., left-right-and center. Even the whats-its guy, Rick Riordan, did an entire short series about a character tied into the Norse dieties and myths.

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Old 07-31-2021, 03:52 PM   #296
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Even the whats-its guy, Rick Riordan, did an entire short series about a character tied into the Norse dieties and myths.
I was surprised how "true" to the source that was. Compared to Marvel. I didn't think much of the Thor Movie. Joanne "Chocolat" Harris and Neil Gaiman have both done the Norse stuff well. Tolkien's elves are really Irish sidhe (don't confuse with púca) and his dwarves are Norse. Norse "elves" are quite different and come in Light, Dark and Murky kinds and the Dark ones may be Dwarves.

You'd have to rate most of the Asgard lot a little dim, especially maybe Thor, given how often they are tricked, especially by Loki. Odin seems relatively smart and he and Freya seem to have the most magic. The Valkyrie seem to be abducted horse mad maidens as they age if they leave. A boy and his sister was abducted by Thor and a young couple maybe by Freya's brother. There is an imagined sequel to that. Thor is also badly tricked by one of the Jötner (sp) AKA Ice Giants.

It's sad we have so few sources.
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Old 07-31-2021, 07:58 PM   #297
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I was surprised how "true" to the source that was. Compared to Marvel.
Hell, almost anything "compared to Marvel" is going to be remotely truer to the source. But I agree--although I tired of the series pretty damn quickly, compared to his others, it was pretty close to what we "know."

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I didn't think much of the Thor Movie. Joanne "Chocolat" Harris and Neil Gaiman have both done the Norse stuff well. Tolkien's elves are really Irish sidhe (don't confuse with púca) and his dwarves are Norse. Norse "elves" are quite different and come in Light, Dark and Murky kinds and the Dark ones may be Dwarves.
Everybody's elves are really sidhe! (Fae). Not counting the Norse, which as you point out, have all those other variations and I'm not sure they're the Irish/Sidhe/"elves" kind at all.

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You'd have to rate most of the Asgard lot a little dim, especially maybe Thor, given how often they are tricked, especially by Loki.
And not really nice gods, either. Pretty abysmal. Even for Dark Ages (and earlier) Vikings, you gotta wonder...


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Odin seems relatively smart and he and Freya seem to have the most magic. The Valkyrie seem to be abducted horse mad maidens as they age if they leave. A boy and his sister was abducted by Thor and a young couple maybe by Freya's brother. There is an imagined sequel to that. Thor is also badly tricked by one of the Jötner (sp) AKA Ice Giants.

It's sad we have so few sources.
I agree that it is dreadfully sad. Just think of the fun, if we had better! OTOH, some writers might say that having the names and general outlines of each is more freeing, to let them, well, Thor it. Let's face it, until Marvel lost their minds around the Avengers, Thor was a pretty dreamy hunka-hunka burnin' love. If he'd been the selfish, dirty, brutish, mean oaf he's portrayed to be, at all, in the few legends remaining, I'm pretty sure that the Avengers wouldn't have had the box office that they did. ;-)

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Old 08-07-2021, 05:53 AM   #298
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So even more money for less content? I see ...
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Old 08-07-2021, 03:12 PM   #299
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Originally Posted by joblack View Post
So even more money for less content? I see ...
To be fair to Amazon, it's hardly their idea. Between Wattpad Premium, Radish and a few others, the monetization of short, serialized (and not particularly uber-professional) works is already, well...in the works.

You could hardly expect Amazon not to leap on it, when it became apparent that an entire generation of readers want their content bite-sized. (And, apparently, preferably featuring lusty werewolves!)

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