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  • James Cameron’s Avatar | Inspired, Influenced, or Plagiarized?

    By | October 27, 2009

    Source: Slashfilm, io9

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    Ever since the details of the Avatar plot-line surfaced, a small flame of controversy has surfaced questioning it’s similarities to Poul Anderson’s 1957 Science Fiction short story Call Me Joe. It looks like the small flame has now become a bonfire. The buzz over the parallels center around the fact that both stories follow a wheelchair-bound human who has their consciousness projected into an artificial cat-like creature that is adapted for life on a world that doesn’t support humans.

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    Check out the list of parallels below:

    1. Both main characters, Ed Anglesey (Call Me Joe) and Jake Sully (Avatar) are paraplegics

    2. Both main characters connect telepathically to artificially created life forms in order to survive the alien planets

    3. Anglesey & Sully revel in the freedom and power of their new bodies

    4. Both artificial bodies are blue and cat like

    5. Both characters battle fierce predators on the alien worlds

    6. The main characters both end up going native and spend more time connected to their artificial bodies

    Cameron is not new to this kind of scrutiny since this also happened when he first released Terminator and writer Harlan Ellison sued both the production company Hemdale, and distributor Orion Pictures for plagiarizing two episodes he wrote for The Outer Limits TV series, Soldier & Demon with a Glass Hand. The lawsuit was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum and with Ellison gaining acknowledgment at the end of the film.

    When it comes to all mediums of art, little is purely original these days as we are all inspired or influenced by what we know and the elements around us. The question about this issue is – Does it cross the line of plagiarism, and is indeed a stolen story idea without proper credit given to the source? So far Cameron has credited Rudyard Kipling and Edgar Rice Burroughs as inspirations, but to date has never mentioned the work of Poul Anderson.

    I have obviously not seen the yet to be released Avatar, and I have also not read the novella Call Me Joe. If any of you sci-fi readers out there care to comment about Call Me Joe, and the Avatar controversy, we welcome the discussion. Comment below or add it to our forums HERE.

    Topics: News | 9 Comments »