So Who is Avatar Accused of Ripping Off This Week?


O for those innocent times when a few eerie parallels between Delgo and Avatar represented the extent of James Cameron's alleged creative thievery. If only we could go back to that pure era before the King of the World had pilfered from a short story or Ferngully or Dance With Wolves or A Man Called Horse himself or, this time around, some Russian sci-fi hardliners calling for a restoration of Cold War hostilities.

A growing cult of Avatar viewers in Russia has argued that portions of the blockbuster suspiciously resemble The World of Noon (a/k/a Noon Universe), a bestselling, 10-part series written in the '60s by brothers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. The survivor among them, Boris (Arkady died in 1991), hasn't seen Avatar and doesn't seem to care about the allegations either way. But for a country without sex-addict golfers and late-night civil wars to keep it occupied, the West's lifting of its prized culture is apparently a pretty big scandal. To wit:

· Both stories occur in the 22nd century

· Both stories take place on a humid, lushly forested moon/planet named Pandora

· One group of aliens inhabiting the Strugatsky's Pandora is known as the Nave

And... I guess that's it? You can see what a skulduggerous, insidious ripoff we've got here! 20th Century Fox -- which presumably shuttered its Office of Frivolous Avatar Complaints right around the 1,700th Pocahontas comparison plunged the department's intern into a deep, Na'vi-gurgling catatonia from which she has yet to respond -- has declined comment. Some Russians aren't letting it go, however: "The Na'vi are unequivocally reminiscent of the [Strugatskys'] Nave," said one prominent Russian journalist. "My point is that the film is harmful for western civilization."

Jeez, pal! Relax! The LAPD has it totally under control.

· James Cameron rejects claims Avatar epic borrows from Russians' sci-fi novels [Guardian]


  • Furious D says:

    All these ripoffs, and somehow the film still had no real story, that's a more incredible achievement than all the 3d FX.

  • Guest says:

    If the Chinese government, Vatican and the Russians hate the movie it has to be good.

  • DJQ says:

    It is widely known in science fiction circles that Alan Dean Foster, not James Cameron, wrote the Avatar story. I heard Alan in all seriousness say so in person myself at DragonCon last Labor Day weekend. This should not be a surprise to anyone. I mean, James Cameron is a movie producer, not a science fiction writer. It would not be the first and will not be the last time producers rip science fiction writers off and deny them due credit.

  • Adam Reith says:

    Mr. Cameron may have "borrowed" the floating mountains from the works of noted illustrator Roger Dean.

  • vegasmike says:

    There are horrible problems in the world and yet people want to get involved in NON ISSUES, spend that energy to solve real problems. I dont care if Cameron stole this or wrote it or any other issue of that kind, he did however get it made and its a cool flick, one I like, and could care less about all the babble. Spend the energy doing something to change this crazy planet we are ruining. If there was a story, and I think there were, one of them was apparent, we want to occupy anything for a buck, we have lost our connection to anything but money and profit. The Navi had at least something of a collective soul and the bad guys, wanted to move past that to profit, over of all things a rock. We dont even know what the rock does, or could do but be used as a floating thing, big deal, who cares. I like the graphics and after spending over 25 years in that industry, making the first 3D rendering package affordable to everyone who wanted it, I would say and will continue to say, Cameron raised the bar for others who will follow, they must do better than he and his staff did. Someone was said there are like 7 stories to be told so the first 7 authors are getting ripped off. Go do something good, quit wasting your time for no reason worrying about this and dig the movie, it was good.

  • snole says:

    wasn't this based on a video game? i thought all the "copied" info. was from that video how is James Cameron copying?

  • DJQ says:

    I think I overstated the case in my earlier post. Yes, Alan Dean Foster did express last September at DragonCon that Avatar was largely his story, and that it was being used by Cameron. Foster expressed some consternation that he was not receiving credit. However, Foster did not literally write Avatar, of course. He wrote a book in 1975 called Mid-World which has most of Avatar's plot elements and even the same names for some of the concepts. Here is a summary of Mid-World which was written more than a year ago (and so makes no refernce to Avatar):

  • KRB says:

    I agree on the Roger Dean concept. I thought right off that much of the scenery and even the "banshees" and some of the other animals were very close if not exact to Mr. Deans imagery.