Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Call and response, or plagiarism as a sport

So I've been reading this book that drop-dead lifts styles and events out of many of my favourite childhood and YA books. Shamelessly. The author of this book clearly really likes the same books as me. At first I felt quite unforgiving, indeed angry and losing my gruntle. It was a bit like someone shamelessly stealing your biscuit at the station cafeteria (see what I did there, geeky fellow readers). But I have come up with a letting-copy-cat-authors-off-the-hook theory.

It's not an homage or a pastiche. It's not plagiarism punishable in a court of law, with the Australian newspaper Scandal Scandal Scandal headlines. It's a response, and engaged, tender, critical and thought-provoking response. So the liddle bitsies that seem All Too Familiar are by way of quotes, by way of fair use, by way of emphasising the critical engagement with the source texts. To do it with at least half a dozen childhood fantasy favourites just shows the breadth of the thesis involved. It's a breathtaking moment of creativity and scholarship, all packaged up in a big fat book with embossed lettering.

What do you all reckon?

It's not Eragon, by the way. There can be no forgiveness for that particular performance.

3 comments:

Penni said...

Er, it's not me is it?

*paranoia*

Penthe said...

Gosh Penni, no, absolutely not. No one that I know and no one that any one here knows. Unless some of you have a much vaster, global knowledge than I am aware of. Which is possible, of course.

But no, no, no.

Revie said...

It's not Eragon, by the way. There can be no forgiveness for that particular performance.

Pen, you're my hero.

I don't know about your theory. I tend to admire originality.