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worst rip-off?

Discussion in 'Novels & Stories' started by druidofwinter, Apr 10, 2013.

  1. druidofwinter

    druidofwinter Sage

    OK so what is the worst rip-off you've ever read? fantasy or otherwise. for me it would be THE IRON TOWER trilogy by Dennis L Mckiernan. it is like LOTR rearranged. what about you guy's?
  2. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    Yeah, the Iron Tower was written while he was in the hospital after a serious accident, and was meant to be directly tied in to LotR. I think the guy wrote it basically to stay sane while he was recovering (nice guy, by the way). Afterward, it was suggested that it might be published in its own right. But yes, the similarities to LotR are numerous, since it was actually written to take place in that world and follow on story lines established in LotR.

    Later, he fleshed out the world and it became a setting in its own right. It's Tolkien-style fantasy, but he's done some nice work with it as well. I remember Dragondoom being a novel I particularly enjoyed that is set there.

    In any event, I think it is fair to say that the Iron Tower books began as fanfic within the Lord of the Rings universe, and from what I've seen McKiernan hasn't made a secret of it.
  3. druidofwinter

    druidofwinter Sage

    Yeah, i wont say i didn't enjoy it. but at times i found it a bit repedative.
  4. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    Yeah, I thought it was competently done, but derivative. Dragondoom I enjoyed a great deal on its own merits. I remember it as a nicely written, though tragic tale. He's gone on to produce a lot in that Mithgar setting, and also to write for the Thieve's World IP.

    I heard somewhere that he even tried to approach the Tolkien estate about the Iron Tower books, to see if they would publish it as actual new stories set in Middle Earth, but I don't know if that is true or not.
  5. Jeff Xilon

    Jeff Xilon Minstrel

    I'm not much of an adherent to the idea that writers rip-off other writers.

    Half the time when someone is accused of doing that the author ends up legitimately confused because they'd never read the work they'd supposedly ripped-off. Very very little is wholly original.

    THAT SAID, I could not help but believe that Terry Goodkind had ripped off The Wheel of Time when it came to the second book of the Sword of Truth series: Big castle of magic women who try to control all the magic. But, what's this...there's a secret conspiracy of evil worshiping women within the organization! It's the Black Aja! I mean Sisters of the Dark.

    In all honesty, they probably developed those ideas separately, and concurrently, but I really didn't like the Sword of Truth books (only read the first two) and was probably pre-disposed to feel like it had a big rip-off in it.
  6. The Unseemly

    The Unseemly Troubadour

    I believe the issue is that in any book you look, if you find the right person, they'll find something ripped off from somewhere else.

    If I'm to make a personal comment, I'd say the Inheritance series. I saw much too much of Tolkien in a lot of Paolinis books, with the random added dragons, which smelt to me of many of the other dragons found in previous fantasy novels. This is of course not to say that Inheritance wasn't enjoyable.

    And once more, here comes my point that there'll be a lot of people who'll disagree that Inheritance was ripped-off. It's almost impossible to argue objectively for a "worst rip-off."
  7. Darkblade

    Darkblade Troubadour

    No one mentioned Hunger Games yet?

    Well the first book is rather blatant in how it stole it's plot from the Japanese novel Battle Royale.

    An oppressive government forcing children to fight to the death in an isolated arena to keep the masses in line, that much I could believe could be created completely independently from one another. When both stories feature the main character saving the life of an old friend who has unreciprocated feelings for the main character and a bitter former winner of the game helping them to cheat the system so that they both may live, that is a bit much.
  8. Feo Takahari

    Feo Takahari Auror

    I don't think Hunger Games specifically ripped off Battle Royale. Rather, I think both authors independently had one creative idea (children fighting to the death), and both authors wrapped it up in a horribly cliche plot. (In Battle Royale in particular, I was practically begging the author to "go off script" by killing off the characters I knew would survive and allowing the survival of some of the characters I knew would die. He never did.*)

    * I know a lot of people thought a certain character was the real hero who was guaranteed to survive, and were shocked by his death. To me, it seemed obvious he was the strong character who'd die to make us wonder how the real hero could possibly survive. (In particular,
    the male hero who survives has a romantic interest who also survives, and the doomed fake hero doesn't. Also, the male hero is a guitar player, making him a more conventional "rebel" and giving his survival more weight towards the message in an extremely generic way.
    (I could go on about this, and other predictable elements of Battle Royale, for hours. Hunger Games was actually less generic, even if it was also more tone-deaf and had less of a sense of humor--at least it was honest about who its protagonists were, and made sure to develop them properly.)
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2013
  9. druidofwinter

    druidofwinter Sage

    Just wanted to say that this thread is not a debate. only a place to share your opinion. also try to avoid possible spoilers, as we have not all read the same books. thanks:)
  10. kayd_mon

    kayd_mon Sage

    No Shannara? That one is always brought up in rip-off discussions.

    I started reading Sword of Shannara a while back, but it's one of the few books I just didn't finish. Some would say that it's an enjoyable book and that I shouldn't be so picky, but I've never gotten around to trying again.
  11. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    I agree with Jeff about the rip-off debate in general. From at least Shakespeare onward, you have later authors reworking or retelling stories from earlier ones. No big deal.
  12. Nightender

    Nightender Minstrel

    Shannara is a giant Tolkien homage. If I'd have found this thread sooner, I'd have mentioned it.

    My apprehension with a lot of fantasy stories is that the writers are trying to find an elf, a dwarf, a halfling, a ranger, and a barbarian to go on a quest and try not to make it look like The Lord of the Rings. That's why I love writers like Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss; they are both inspired by elements from other stories and they end up crafting books that are unique and a joy to read.
  13. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

    An homage isn't the same as a ripoff, though. Homage is a way to show your appreciation for a work, while a ripoff is just a means to capitalize on the success of others' ideas by stealing them. Many of Terry Pratchett's works follow plotlines from other stories with his own characters mixed in, yet they're not ripoffs. Maskerade and Wyrd Sisters come to mind. The first is a tribute to/parody of Phantom of the Opera, the second to Macbeth.
  14. Velka

    Velka Sage

    As Eliot said:

    One of the surest tests is the way in which a poet borrows. Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different than that from which it is torn; the bad poet throws it into something which has no cohesion. A good poet will usually borrow from authors remote in time, or alien in language, or diverse in interest.

    Eliot, Thomas Stearns. The Sacred Wood. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1921; Bartleby.com, 1996
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2013
  15. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    A lot of times it ends up being subjective, and a reader's characterization depends on whether they liked it. If they did, it's a nice homage or incorporates ageless themes &c, and if they did not it's a rip-off :)

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