Tuesday News: “Great” books, copyrighting character, author relevance, and Star Wars
The Greatest Books of All Time, As Voted by 125 Famous Authors – 125 writers choose, in total, 544 titles, which perhaps suggests an interesting amount of coherence among the writers chosen than the books they chose. In regard to that most difficult of words, “great:”
In introducing the lists, David Orr offers a litmus test for greatness:
If you’re putting together a list of ‘the greatest books,’ you’ll want to do two things: (1) out of kindness, avoid anyone working on a novel; and (2) decide what the word ‘great’ means. The first part is easy, but how about the second? A short list of possible definitions of ‘greatness’ might look like this:
1. ‘Great’ means ‘books that have been greatest for me.’
2. ‘Great’ means ‘books that would be considered great by the most people over time.’
3. ‘Great’ has nothing to do with you or me — or people at all. It involves transcendental concepts like God or the Sublime.
4. ‘Great’? I like Tom Clancy. – Brain Pickings
Judge Rejects Lawsuit Alleging Fox’s ‘New Girl’ Was Stolen from Two Writers – Two writers worked for two years to prove that Fox’s television series, “New Girl,” was actually based on their proposed tv project and script for “Square One.” What I think makes this story relevant here is that the analysis covers the extent to which different story elements are copyrightable, which is a significant element in accusations of plagiarism that are not based on word-by-word comparisons:
The judge looks at the plot, sequence of events, characters, mood, pace, dialogue, setting and themes of the respective works, finding that many of the ideas expressed are general tropes not worthy of protection while also articulating differences that rule out substantial similarity.
As an example, take the characters of the works in question.
“Both Square One and New Girl have leading female characters in their 20s/30s,” the judge writes. “Plaintiffs argue that both protagonists are optimistic, sexually inexperienced, feminine, have a hard time fitting in, attempt to cook and be domestic for their roommates, and use outddated phrases. As the Court stated above, most of these similarities are ordinary and cannot be afforded protection. Moreover, while Jess is overtly quirky, awkward and goofy in her personality, Greer does not possess similarly distinctive qualities.” – Hollywood Reporter
GAME OF THRONES BOOK DELAYS HURT GEORGE R. R. MARTIN, NOT FANS – An interesting argument that the longer Martin takes to finish The Winds of Winter, the “less relevant” he becomes to the series, because HBO’s dramatic adaptation is essentially creating a new canon, and the lack of an ending to the series from Martin leaves more room for HBO to basically write the series out from under him. It’s an interesting commentary on the nature of authorship in an environment where more than one writer is imagining a particular created universe.
But unlike finishing the Hunger Games books before their movie adaptations hit theaters, there is no recorded ending to the Game of Thrones saga in any format, and if they keep diverging fans will ultimately have to pick which one is canon—which one is theirs. If HBO gets to the end first, provided both versions have (relatively) the same ending point, that’ll be the finale that will resonate. And the longer Martin takes to release his version of events, the less likely it’ll be that his Song is the one people remember the words to. – Wired
Watch: Girlfriend Drunksplains Star Wars – A pretty hilarious rendition of the Star Wars franchise of films from a woman who hasn’t seen one of the movies, but who has absorbed a number of details about the series given its ubiquity in contemporary culture. Take note of her reference to the Storm Troopers, especially in light of George Lucas’s comments about Disney being “white slavers” in his recent rant about how the company ruined his own
problematic and derivative sacred and original world building and storytelling. – Daily Beast