Friday, December 30, 2011

Nothing New Under the Sun

I suppose it is inevitable that as the world's population grows beyond all reasonable levels it becomes harder and harder to ever have a truly original idea. I like to think that many of the ideas in my work-in-progress, a sci-fi thriller set in the near future, are original. I've never heard of them or seen them anywhere, and I'm quite proud of coming up with these ideas.

Yesterday I was stunned to come across a book that has eerie similarities to some elements of my book. It's a completely different story, of course, and has none of my technological ideas, but it has...well, see for yourself:

My book is set in a near-future Moscow with the main male character named Artyom and a segment of the very poor populace living underground in the abandoned metro system.

The book Metro 2033 by Dmitri Glukhovski is set in a near-future Moscow with everyone living underground in the abandoned metro system and the main character is named Artyom.

I can just see it now, should my book ever be published, as some readers accuse me of copping my ideas from this book. I'm not going to change my details; I've had my story since the early 1990's. I never heard about this book until yesterday. I chose these details for my story for very specific reasons that are important to me.

The metro in Moscow played a big role in my life for the four years I lived there (1993 to 1997), and I always planned on it figuring into my mobster thriller. When that story morphed into a sci-fi, it only made sense that the metro would be abandoned, since it was already old and newer technologies would take its place. The idea of a group of poor taking residence there seemed fun and a bit creepy.

I chose the name Artyom very carefully, too. I wanted a name that wouldn't be too odd to an American audience, yet I wanted it to be slightly uncommon rather than the standard few Russian names that we see each time a Russian character is used in any movie or book. Artyom fit what I was after nicely. I used the name in my first novel, written several years ago since that book has a couple of the same characters as this sci-fi (the first book was a fantasy).

I guess my point is that this post serves both to air my frustration and incredulity over such rotten luck and also as a sort of proof that I did not steal my ideas from someone else's book. I came to my ideas honestly. If or when someone later accuses me of taking these ideas, I will refer them to this post, for whatever good it might do.

Happy New Year everyone! I only managed to write thirteen new chapters this year, which is disappointing even though I have the excuse of moving to a new country and settling into a new job. I hope to do better this coming year, perhaps even finish this new book.