Was Avatar ripped off from Russian sci-fi books??

Contributed by
Dec 14, 2012, 4:09 PM EST

Whenever a movie hits it big—and no movie's hit it as big lately as James Cameron's Avatar—people come out of the woodwork claiming the story was ripped off or plagiarized.

Cameron himself acknowledged that he, um, was inspired to create The Terminator by two episodes of the 1960s TV show The Outer Limits, written by SF author Harlan Ellison. When Ellison threatened to sue, the producers added an acknowledgment credit to subsequent prints of the movie.

Now we learn that Avatar is also facing claims that it's copied from other works, and in this case the similarities with a previous work are kinda spot-on.

The British Guardian newspaper reports that Russian audiences are noting the movie's similarity to The World of Noon, or the Noon Universe, created by popular Soviet fantasy writers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, a cycle of 10 best-selling science fiction novels written in the mid-1960s.


The Strugatskys call their world Pandora, and it is warm and humid and heavily forested. So is Avatar's alien world.

The books take place in the 22nd century. So does Avatar.

In the books, the natives of Pandora are called the Nave. Avatar calls its aliens the Na'vi.

More from the Guardian:

Strugatsky, 76, appears to have shrugged off suggestions of similarities between Avatar and his Noon Universe, and denied reports circulated last week that he was accusing Cameron of plagiarism. On Monday, however, the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper devoted an entire page to the affair, and carried out its own close comparison of Avatar with the World of Noon.

There are differences: In the books, there are two humanoid species on Pandora, and Pandora itself is a health resort, not a wild planet.

For his part, Cameron has denied in the past that he's borrowed from other writers and has always insisted that Avatar is original.

What do you think?

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