[DWJ] Big Bad Read
Elizabeth G. Holtrop
elizabeth at bouma-holtrop.com
Fri Jun 23 12:15:50 EDT 2006
> > 'The Man from the Diogenes Club', by Kim Newman. It's a collection of
> > stories about a section of the British secret service tasked with
> > dealing with rogue magicians, bloodthirsty ghosts, murderous voodoo
> > practicioners, etc. (Also a Blofeld-type supervillain, a plot to take
> > over the world by an advanced computer, and - just for a change of
> > pace - an sf writer clubbed to death with his own Hugo award.)
And Minnow wrote:
> Oh, if it's Kim it has *got* to be an /homage/, I think. He knows DWJ,
> after all, and I'm sure that he's read her books.
I've always wondered where to draw the line between homage and plagiarism. This sounds like a clear case of an author who knows the other author, was involved in a project with some other authors, and is continuing a delighful idea with a nod to a friend who has cool literary ideas. But I've been thinking about other forms of homage and/or stealing of ideas, and when I read this I thought I'd solicit opinions. What if a newbie author uses her/his favorite character name in her/his ms? Is that an homage or is it stealing? Does it depend on whether the original character is from a classic or from a newer work -- the classic being both possibly in the public domain and also more "owned" by the public by being so well-loved? For example, if a new fantasy writer used the names Romeo, Harry Potter, and Chrestomanci, I think the first would be totally acceptable, the second would slip by, and the third might be plagiarism.
These are musings and I'm interested in your responses. I suppose this comes from my stance as a reader but also as an aspiring novelist; at times I've run into a name I love, but I do not to use other authors' character names because I figure it would be stealing to do so.
(I know this discussion wasn't about names, so I admit to changing the topic....)
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