Ever since our ancestors began telling stories over the fire at night, different storytellers have tended to repeat the same storyline, believing their version to be original.
Over the last few weeks I have come across at least two examples while trawling the blogosphere. One that immediately springs to mind concerns a fantasy storyline about a pack of rats who live beneath a city. As far as I’m aware this particular story idea was first realized by Hilary Wagner in her excellent tale “Nightshade City”, published last year. Imagine my surprise when a similar rat tale appeared this year by another author based in Scotland.
Yesterday, while once again trawling, I saw a new Sci-Fi novel being advertised called “Green Mars” by Kim Stanley Robinson which bore a remarkable resemblance to a short story I had recently written in the last couple of weeks called Beta 1.
Both my story and Robinson’s spoke of the same basic premise, Earth becoming one giant corporation, people being sent, in my case, or people in Robinson’s case volunteering to colonise Mars etc, etc. Both Robinson and myself explored the same story idea, each of us unaware of the other.
Is there such a thing as an original story idea these days? I believe the answer is no.