Saturday, May 1, 2010

Stephenie Meyer Spells Her Name Wrong AND Rips Off Popular Stories

Though I watched the first season of True Blood almost a year ago, I didn't get around to reading Charlaine Harris' Dead Until Dark until this week. For those who have been woefully ignorant thus far that True Blood has a literary predecessor, the popular television show is based on the popular "Sookie Stackhouse" book series.

(On a random side note, I like this cover so much better than the original cover art.)

The series is told from the point of view of a telepathic waitress named Sookie Stackhouse, and the strange way things unfold when a vampire openly moves into the small Southern town where she lives.

Yet the reason I'm blogging about it is because it felt really, really familiar. Not just because I had already seen the first season of the television show. It felt familiar because I had already read Stephenie (seriously, what's with the spelling?) Meyer's Twilight.

Both novels have a primary character who can read minds. Both novels have vampire characters who gleam. Both novels have, as protagonist, a beautiful young girl. In both novels, the beautiful female protagonist has two supernatural suitors, one of whom is a vampire, the other of whom is a shapeshifter.

I know I've touched on this issue previously, but those are a lot of similarities between two bestselling book series. You've got to wonder if Stephenie Meyer's "dream" coincided with reading a certain book by Charlaine Harris.

Having read both books, I prefer Dead Until Dark. It's got all of the fun, addicting romantic stuff that's in Twilight (in a more realistic fashion, thank God), but has sex and violence aplenty. I've heard creepy stuff about sex being in the young adult series further down the road. Harris' series is more mature from the beginning.

I wouldn't say that Dead Until Dark is amazing, or a must-read. It's entertaining. It's got its' pros and cons.

I would say that it's disappointing that one of the biggest "pros" in Stephenie Meyer's favor - creativity - has proven to be nothing more than a dilution of the already popular ideas of a better writer.

And reading Dead Until Dark brought a question to the forefront of my mind: when does the number of similarities between two works of art become too great for the differences to matter?


Possum said...

I've never watched True Blood before. I'm aware of the whole thing, but I don't have HBO on my tv, nor do I have good enough internet to actually watch it online. Although my mom decided to try this new movie rental place, that ADVERTISES having True Blood available. So I think I might give it a try, in watching.

Because the books? I see them ALL THE TIME at coop. And I even have people ask me "do you know where the True Blood books are?" Actually, just last week, this lady was asking me for assistance, and I was about to panic because I don't know where everything is. BUT! She asked me where the author who wrote True Blood was, and I was like WHOOSH! Because I knew! Although I don't think a lot of people realize they're not actually called True Blood. Because like your blog states, it's Dead Until Dark.

Haha. The original cover art is quite... It doesn't fit the context of the show, etc. etc.

I'd just like to say I read this blog post when it first appeared on my feed thing, but I couldn't get around to commenting it at that time. And then it just FELL AWAY. So here I am now!

Stephenie Meyer spells her name like that, because she's mormon! And oh, her parents just couldn't write her name simple, but with an E! Because she's named after her dad or something, and they combine names in Mormon culture. (Thus Bella and Edward's childs name.)

Also the sex in the Twilight series is the "fade to black" kind of deal. Is that what its called? But yes. I'm sure Harris doesn't do that.

Sheesh. The whole vampire paranormal thing is BIG. I wonder when it'll fade away to something "new".

Speaking of Meyer and similarities, wasn't there an online author who was charging Meyer, because of the whole Breaking Dawn plot? And some people (like Maureen Johnson) was all like !!!!!1 over it? Because some plots are just USED over and over. Especially with the whole paranormal romance these days. AND the star crossed lovers deal. They're just... there.

However, I think with even all the similarities to books, they are still unique. Except for a few of them. >.<

Shelly Quade said...

True Blood, as a show, is interesting. It is VERY graphic, however - something, frankly, I wasn't expecting, but, like many, was more than happy to watch. So, um... don't watch it with your mom.

I think the original cover art is just too cutesy for my tastes.

Thank you for commenting, Possum. At any time.

I didn't know about the name combining. Thank you for clarifying that for me. I really was always "WTF?" when I saw her name -- anywhere.

The sex in Twilight is "fade to black?" I thought I heard/read somewhere that it's really graphic. That's totally disappointing. Now I KNOW I have no reason to read the rest of the series. ;)

I guess that's true - that each author takes a plot and makes it his/her own. I know that plots are used over and over - I was just like -- wait, vampire character Bill glows? That reminds me of Edward Cullen... And then the shapeshifting came in - not werewolves, but still, shapeshifting. And then I checked the copyright date, because you ALWAYS wonder, in circumstances such as this, who wrote it first. It was Charlaine Harris.

Of course, Meyer's writing pales in comparison to Harris', and Meyer is writing for a completely different audience. Meyer also seems to champion celibacy in a relationship, while True Blood... doesn't...

They wrote about it in their own way, but people always talk about Meyer's "new take" on vampires. It just seems to me that her "new take" is similar to that of Harris. Except for the vegetarianism thing.