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Dark Angel is a rip-off of Heinlein's Friday,
October 19, 2000 5:04 PM   Subscribe

Dark Angel is a rip-off of Heinlein's Friday, which I completely agree with. Cameron has been successfully sued by Harlon Ellison before for blatantly ripping off his ideas. Then again the sci-fi word is a static world of either super-humans/machines/aliens/time-trave/alternate dimensions.
posted by skallas (13 comments total)

 
I don't know how Ginnie will feel about it, but while he was alive Robert Heinlein generally was very gracious and forgiving about people taking his ideas. When the producers of the original Star Trek series contacted him about the episode "The Trouble With Tribbles" (due to its clear similarity to an episode in "The Rolling Stones") I believe he told them to go ahead and didn't even charge them anything.

Anyway, Heinlein blazed so many trails and created so many ideas, that it's damned difficult to write a real science fiction story now without it borrowing at least a little from something he did at one time or another.

But I don't know whether Ginnie feels like being a hard-case about it, given that Robert never was. He saw his ideas taken again and again and never really cared all that much, because he seemed to have a bottomless well of new ones. (Except that down to the end when he was in his 70's he began to devour his own children a bit; he never seemed to get tired of dragging Lazarus Long into books where you wouldn't expect to find him, e.g. "Number of the Beast".)
posted by Steven Den Beste at 5:21 PM on October 19, 2000


What did Cameron steal from Ellison? I'd be very interested in reading about it if someone can provide a link.
posted by aladfar at 6:18 PM on October 19, 2000


Try doing a search for transcripts of the outer limits and the name of the episodes named in the article I posted.

As far as being forgiving, I think a lot of sci-fi writers cary that attitude, but if you don't pick up the phone or at least give co-writing credit (as is often the case in the music industry) you're asking for trouble.

Considering how popular Heinlein's work is I think this could have been avoided by having our legal dept contract theirs, etc. Regardless the show is such jailbait-tease I can't watch it with a straight face. TV is more exciting and interesting if everyone looks like a supermodel, eh James?

Personally, I can't bring myself to hate someone who has made such terrible movies like the terminator series, the titanic, true lies, point break (uncredited writer), alien nation (uncredited writer), and Rambo II (writer), Strange Days, because The Abyss was such a masterpiece of sci-fi and Aliens was so much more than just a shoot em up, unlike T2.

I do hope he gets his comeupance for this and realizes that maybe, just maybe, he isn't king of the world.
posted by skallas at 7:01 PM on October 19, 2000


Aladfar, the article posted above mentions that Cameron stole the idea for the Terminator from some old Outer Limits episodes written by Ellison. Which, when watched, seem much less similar to Terminator than Dark Angel is to Friday.
I haven't read Friday (or seen Dark Angel) but if they are as similar as this article says, there is more than just stealing of ideas going on. Stolen characters, plot, um...everything. Very weird. Now, i know Heinlein isn't the most widely known auther, but he had to have thought that maybe someone would catch on. These similarities could have been by accident, but I think it would take a million monkeys typing in a room for a million years to make that stick.
posted by Doug at 8:24 PM on October 19, 2000


Hrrmph. I didn't see those similarities before I read that article and I don't see them now. Take this example from the article:

OCCUPATION

Dark Angel: Max works as a courier in the near future, delivering confidential materials around the city of Seattle.

Friday: Friday works as a courier in the near future, delivering confidential materials all over the galaxy.


That's kind of reaching. Max is a bicycle messenger, and it's not been established that everything, or anything, she messengers is any more confidential than my mail. Friday, on the other hand, is a spy who carries top-secret documents in a pouch engineered into her belly button. The rest of the comparisons are like that--Logon and Friday's boss are day and night for personality and intent.

Unconvinced.
posted by mrmorgan at 6:29 AM on October 20, 2000


Thanks Doug - I suppose I'd best read the article before posting a question . . .

posted by aladfar at 7:10 AM on October 20, 2000


Read the whole article. Sure, taken individually, each set of comparisons is fairly vague. But when you put them together I think there's a point.

Heinlein not the best known author? Maybe to kids today, but any sf fan over the age of 30 ought to have read plenty of RAH. It's a cinch that Cameron trolled his entire oeuvre during his adolescence.

That said, I didn't think there was anything particularly original about Friday when it was first released. I confess to buying it mainly because of the curve of breast exposed in the cover illustration. (Actually, it all started because I got a Friday poster at a con with that cover illo. It graced my dorm room for a couple of years. And that's all I'll confess to.) The sf elements were largely a mélange, and I think part of the point was for septuagenarian Heinlein to write a young female heroine to bookend Have Space Suit, Will Travel. But that's the thing about RAH: most of what he wrote was more space opera than cutting-edge sf. He was just really good at writing space opera.

Incidentally, the Cameron/Ellison fight was settled, I think in Writer's Guild arbitration. Currently available copies of The Terminator include a story credit for Ellison.
posted by dhartung at 8:00 AM on October 20, 2000


Yeah, I loved that pic too.

Damn shame the publishers didn't have the balls to make the skin color as dark as the copy so clearly indicates that it should be, 'eh?

Personally, I still wanna marry Friday... or any of the Admiral's *other* female leads, for that matter.

Anyone know of one that's available?
posted by baylink at 8:09 AM on October 20, 2000


but any sf fan over the age of 30

Make that 20. If you've made it to 20 reading a lot of sf and haven't stumbled across Heinlein (or, for that matter, Asimov or Ellison) then you really aren't getting to deeply into it.
posted by cCranium at 8:52 AM on October 20, 2000


I'm a huge Heinlein fan, but I really still don't see the connection beyond the reality that television steals from everything. A similar list could be made comparing Dark Angel to The Fugitive, which is the first things that came to my mind when the show aired. Can't go a season without somebody looking for their one-armed man. Literally so this season...

All the claims are equally vague except for the reality that both protagonists are engineered. One's set in Seattle, one claims to be from Seattle. Yes, and Lincoln and Kennedy have the same amount of letters in their last names.

I don't think it's a damming indictment. It's more "Why, look, this television show isn't terribly original." Not surprised at that.
posted by mrmorgan at 12:59 PM on October 20, 2000


Let me be the first to say Duh!If you find 'Dark Angel' interesting, you probably need to have your head examined.
posted by Mr. skullhead at 4:14 PM on October 20, 2000


You in a bad mood today Skullhead? I have been going down the list of new entries, and it has been an angry you each and every time.
Also, I very much like Dark Angel, it is not the worst thing on television.
posted by thirteen at 4:38 PM on October 20, 2000


That Friday book of Heinlen is the work of a freak. I seem to remember that it opens with the heroine getting gang-raped and ends with her marrying one of the rapists.
posted by Mocata at 2:43 AM on October 23, 2000


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