A colleague of mine was trawling the internet last week when he stumbled upon a recently-published children’s novel called Horrid Henry and the Zombie Vampire. He was struck by the title, fearing that this novel might be an unauthorised re-working of my own story,Vambie Zompire: The End of Days, and so immediately alerted me. Had I fallen victim to plagiarism (again)?
Based solely on the title of the novel I understood why my friend had raised the plagiarism alarm. However, even though I had not read it, I must say I did not share his concerns that my Vambie Zompire idea had been ripped off for the story.
As I pointed out to him, even if the author was pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable, it was very unlikely that a publisher would release a children’s novel centred around a night-long supernatural slaughter-fest, featuring rectal-impalement, brain-eating, and one case of suffocation with dismembered testicles.
We live in banal times. You may deny this, but you would be wrong, and stupid, to do so.
Today the dribbling masses are entertained in increasingly inane ways by increasingly moronic individuals. Pursuit of the Arcane has been abandoned in favour of the pursuit of superficial and meaningless fame, despite the fact that we are still largely ignorant to the true nature of the Cosmos and the muted whistling of star-bound chimaeras. Terrible, ultimate Knowledge lies within our grasp, but our hands have grown withered and closed, and – to continue the analogy – several of the tendons of our arms have actually snapped (i.e. making it even more difficult to grasp at our full extent).
The Young wield lipsticks and copies of “Nuts” magazine, where once they wielded telescopes and the Scouting manuals of Baden-Powell. The Old comment with ribald derision on the “packages” of tight-trousered celebrities, where once they spoke of the mystical encounters of their youth betwixt mulberry bushes, deep in fairy-ridden copses. Valiant warriors are a thing of a past; replaced have they been by heavily-armed delinquent simpletons, careering around Arab lands in mucky Jeeps on the lookout for heavily-chested desert maidens.
The Hugo Awards, the Nebula Awards, SFX Magazine, the International Horror Guild, the Geffen Award, what do they all have in common? They’re all idiots who unjustly lauded Neil Gaiman’s sprawling, turgid American Gods.
In aforesaid novel, Gaiman (whom I was pleased to recently discover, has not fallen victim to nominative determinism) posits a situation where the broadly contemporary United States of America are littered with destitute gods, brought over by immigrants years previously, but now gone to seed through lack of reverence and observance.