Thursday 25 October 2012


Having recently read a pretty bad novella by Margaret Atwood, I found myself wondering whether my fond memories of her earlier work would stand up to re-reading. And then I saw that she's co-writing a zombie novel with a video game designer, and posting it on one of the silly semi-high-tech things she gets periodically  excited about: not that stupid long-distance remote-controlled biro, but a site called Wattpad, where people serially publish their books online.

Never having heard of it, I investigated Wattpad. What it seems to be is yet another nest of fan-fiction and related nonsense. What I found most interesting, browsing the "hot" titles, was how many of them have blatantly nicked their covers from films and TV shows. Here are a few examples.

Maya_2011's 'Dragon's Prize' pinches a promo phot of Aidan Mitchell from TV series Being Human

Tulipgardens' 'Hunting You, Hunting Me' pinches the movie poster for Norwegian horror film Thale

Steviekc's 'Aryan Nation' steals one of the famous images from the excellent Nazis-win-WW2 mockumentary It Happened Here

Almost everything else on the 'hot' list has as cover images pictures taken from Deviantart--I assume stolen, but can't prove it. If the covers are this shameless--not even derivative, but outright thefts--just how original and interesting are the books themselves going to be?

I think the remote-controlled biro was a better idea.

And speaking of tiresome zombie fiction, I see that these two books, first published in the UK...

..have been released in the US. But heaven forfend that a US-published book should have anywhere foreign on it...


Creatures Of The Night said...

I'm so glad a friend just put me onto your blog. I loathe lazy / stolen cover images and you have shown some corkers I hadn't seen yet.. Thank you!

Brian Busby said...

I'll agree that the remote-controlled biro was a better idea, and will even allow that both are better than the Hawaii chair, but both make the eyes roll.

While your post is the first I've heard of Ms Atwood's cutting-edge zombie novel, here in Ontario the much trumpeted LongPen (most famously used by convicted criminal Conrad Black) has been impossible to ignore. The best thing I've ever read on this "Frankenhand", courtesy of Stephen Henighan, can be found here and in the author's A Report on the Afterlife of Culture.

Either way, well worth the read.

JRSM said...

Creatures, I thank you.

Brian, that Longpen article is excellent, and summarises rather more articulately than I could manage just what seems so wrongheaded about it. And as for that chair... That video was hypnotic! And it has the distinction of having the first-ever funny Youtube comment: 'I just got a hawaii chair and my productivity haskl reakj;; sdinfsdonfsknf'.

matthew. said...

Which was the Atwood novella you were so disappointed by? Also, you need to stop being so creepily prescient with the ideas I've been having. Just this morning I was groaning about Atwood's ADD flights of technological fancy and here you go typing up a post articulating in a pithy manner what I'd been thinking.

vic caswell said...

ugh. this just makes me angry.
dirty, rotten theives

JRSM said...

Matthew--it was 'I'm Starved For You, an ebook-only thing she put out a little while ago. I see she's now expanding it into a serial, which seems optimistic.

Vic: It's bad, and as I say, I'm pretty sure most of the other covers are pinched from Deviantart, but I can't say that with 100% confidence, so I thought I'd best not libel anyone.

DannX68 said...

Late to the game, I know, but the actor's name is Aidan Turner, his character's name is Mitchell :)