There’s nothing new here…

An idea of mine has been stolen!  Stolen I say!

One of the previews before Star Trek was for the film Surrogates.  It’s a Bruce Willis movie coming out in September.  Basic plot- no one leaves their homes anymore, instead they use robotic surrogates (that look like prettier versions of themselves, naturally) to go out and experience the big, wild world.  And of course things go horribly wrong, and Bruce will get beat up and then beat other people up and the world will be saved.  It looks like fun.

But robot surrogates?  Why, that’s exactly the idea behind my story ‘The Farthest Born’ which will be in the Writers of the Future.  Okay, that story was set (mostly) on an alien world, but still the surrogates were an important part of it.  I called them golems though, ’cause that’s cooler.  Anyway, they obviously stole my idea.

And not just them. There’s another movie coming out, Sleep Dealer, which I heard about on Science Friday.  Also about people jacking in to run robots in distant locations.  So they stole my idea too.

Except this idea appears in a story that hasn’t been published yet.  And Surrogates is based on a graphic novel that was published in 2005, which is before I wrote the story.  (Which I will now emphatically state that I never read, since I would hate to have someone accuse me of stealing an idea…)  And I’m not sure when they started making Sleep Dealer, but since movies usually take at least year to make, and this one was at Sundance and…  Okay, so maybe, just maybe, they didn’t steal my idea.

And I didn’t steal there’s.  This happens all the time in media.  Because ideas are almost never completely new.  Modern media surrounds us like a vast bloom of informational krill, and we’re all sucking it down like starving whales.  We pull it in, so much at once that most of it is forgotten even as we swallow.  But bits stick, things we want to keep in mind and things that just cling like tarter, and our busy little brains use it to beaver together our ‘new’ ideas.  Which is why variations of the same new idea tend to pop out all over at around the same time.  Just the old stuff, processed, digested and spit back out in another form.

So we can all admire it’s shiny newness.

Leave a Reply