Yes, It’s Coincidence
I’m getting rather a lot of e-mails and other comments sent to me about Avatar, mostly because James Cameron has his main character’s consciousness zapped into a new, differently-colored genetically-engineered body, much like I have happen with John Perry in Old Man’s War. This has led people to ask if I’m somehow involved with Avatar and/or if James Cameron stole my idea and/or if I plan to sue that lousy James Cameron for stealing my idea. So, in no, particular order:
1. Yes, I’m aware of the consciousness-swapping thing in Avatar. No need to keep pointing it out to me.
2. No, James Cameron didn’t steal the consciousness-swapping idea from me. He’s been working on Avatar for something close to fifteen years now, i.e., long before I thought to write Old Man’s War (in 2001, in case you’re wondering). For the record, I didn’t steal the idea from him, either. The consciousness-swap idea has been around science fiction for a while now, you know.
3. As Cameron didn’t steal the consciousness-swap idea from me, quite obviously I won’t be suing him, haranguing him for stealing my idea or otherwise suggesting Cameron took anything at all from Old Man’s War. As far as I can tell from the trailers, any similarities between Avatar and Old Man’s War (or the ideas therein) are entirely coincidental.
4. And since a couple people asked, no, this single similarity between our two stories does not make it less likely an OMW movie will be made; indeed, if Avatar does smash-hit box office, that will be lovely for the chance that my book might someday hit the big screen, since it means military space action stories will suddenly be hot in Hollywood, and no one will give a crap if the movie based on my novel has a consciousness-swap scene in it too.
In other words: Relax, everyone. It’s a coincidence.