J.K. Rowling is being sued (again) for alleged plagiarism. In this case the estate of the now-deceased author of the 30pp self-published Adventures of Willy the Wizard(published 1987) claims (a) that by some miracle Rowling became aware of this opus and nicked bits of it for Goblet of Fire, because (b) it is inconceivable, inconceivable I tell you that anyone else could possibly imagine a society of wizards taking everyday life as we know it (sports competitions, chess, trains) and adding their own magical twist to it. QED.
Prognostications for the plaintiff are not good and this may well be the last you hear of it.
If you want a case that just might have merit, however, tune into BBC1 on 10 April (and make sure you do because I’m calling you all as witnesses), which is when “The Beast Below”, the second episode of the new Dr Who series will be shown. According to the Beeb’s publicity lords:
“The Doctor takes Amy to the distant future, where she finds Britain in space. Starship UK houses the future of the British people, as they search the stars for a new home.”
Sound of screeching brakes. Now, hold on just a minute! Starship UK? Starship UK?? Why, that’s almost exactly the same as:
“UK-1 … the largest spaceship ever built – seventeen massive wheels in space spinning around a common axis. The last redoubt of the exiled House of Windsor.” (His Majesty’s Starship, 1998)
[Gentle Scottish burr] “So, Ben, what else have you written?”[Crisp, eager, slightly naive English accent] “Well, I’ve just turned in my first novel, which includes the UK in space, based on a giant spaceship and ruled by the guy who would be king if Britain was still a monarchy.”[Slightly more acquisitive Scottish burr] “Fascinating! Tell me more …”