Thursday, February 03, 2005

Was It Plagiarism?

I dunno. This doesn't seem like it to me, but I'd have to see the two texts side by side. Article from The Australian:
'Copycat' writer sticks to her story
By John Stapleton and Rebecca Vonhoff
February 04, 2005

"WRITER and astrologer Jessica Adams was guilty of plagiarism for ripping off an Agatha Christie short story, literary critics said yesterday.

"In what is shaping as Australia's newest literary scandal, one critic said her dog could spot the similarities after comparing Adams's story The Circle with the 1928 Christie work The Idol House of Astarte.

"Lyn Tranter, agent at Australian Literary Management, described the coincidences between the two works as "absolutely extraordinary".

"'It is a complete and utter rip-off. I've never seen anything like it. There's the same characters, same character development, same structure, exactly the same murder and the same resolution.

"'I mean, it's absolutely mind-blowing. How she thought she'd get away with it, I don't know. It's absolute plagiarism. I'd bank my reputation on it.'

"One of Australia's leading literary commentators, Helen Elliott, said 'prima facie, this certainly looks like simple plagiarism ... but plagiarism is anything but simple'.

"'There's a fine line between plagiarism and its euphemism, stimulation,' Ms Elliott said.

"She said Adams possibly 'had a memory of the Christie story motivating her but as she wrote her own story she might not have noticed how powerful or concentrated that memory was'." {more}

My friend shares an agent with Ms. Adams... I shall have to pick her brain on this one.

They say there are only 7 stories in the world anyway... overcoming the monster; rags to riches; the quest; voyage and return; comedy; tragedy; rebirth. Writers, take note.