Did you know that the theory of evolution, while generally attributed to Charles Darwin, was, concurrently, also independently conceived by a naturalist named Alfred Russel Wallace? Imagine: two grimy fellas, wandering through jungles with notebooks and sketchpads, separated by thousands of kilometers, both arriving at the same conclusions about life on Earth, and almost simultaneously.
Something similar can happen to those of us toiling over keyboards instead of fossils. Of course, I would never deign to compare the importance of the natural sciences with that of the arts. I can’t, after all, write science fiction without science. But in the choice between one of my novels and Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, which would you rather read, and which would you prefer to have briskly and concisely summarized? I thought so.
A few weeks ago, while taking a break from writing, I was scrolling idly through my Instagram feed, and I was served an ad for an upcoming film with which I wasn’t familiar. I’ve been pretty out of touch when it comes to that kind of stuff. I nearly scrolled right past it, but something caught my attention.
Minutes later, I was frantically searching the internet for the film’s plot summary. I needed details. I had a feeling the shit was about to hit the fan.
And then it did. This upcoming flick apparently has the same basic premise as the epic sci-fi novel I was, at the time, nearly two-thirds finished writing. A near-simultaneous and entirely coincidental conception. Damn it.
Sure, there’s no way any Hollywood film could explore those themes as deeply as a novel could. And certainly the scientific rigor would be lacking, tossed aside in favor of sex appeal and just enough of an easy-to-digest plot to keep us awake for two hours. Heck, that’s why we love movies, right?
The similarities between the book and the film, with its watered-down approach to answering this particular “what if?” scenario, are too much. The novel would have been ready in just a couple months, but I cannot continue working on it. And I can’t rework it to make it different enough from the film, not without excising its very core and replacing it with…well, I have no idea. The novel has been scrapped.
Shit, as they say, happens.
What was it about? Well, I’d rather not say. You can probably guess the film and work from there, but you’ll get nothing from me. Some of the characters and concepts—and hopefully the research—can be re-used in future projects.
In the meantime, now that I’ve collected myself and have ceased cursing the Universe, I’ve begun work on some new and promising projects. Life will go on. I will stay busy. And Hollywood won’t win the next round. I can guarantee that.
This whole thing is a bummer, though. You can help cheer me up. Head on over to Smashwords and grab a free copy of The Altars, my latest. I’ve listed it for free through May 5th to celebrate getting vaccinated. Yes, I’ve gotten my shots. And I feel great.
If you’re unfamiliar with Smashwords, they’ve got a ton of great stuff in their store. To get The Altars, you’ll have to sign up for the website, but I’ve been a customer of theirs for a while, and they might send a few periodic announcements about sales to your inbox, but you won’t get SPAMmed.
Stay safe. I’ll be back with more news soon. Why not sign up for The List to stay informed?