Thursday, March 02, 2006

'Da Vinci Code' becomes a thriller

There is more thrill in the Dan Brown copyright infringement case than there is in his book, but at least it has finally become a thriller.

No matter how many copies of The Da Vinci Code have been bought, it's a very tiresome read. As some others have noted (with whom I agree), it reads just like "a dumbed downed version of Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum... Same story, more or less, and yet Eco's book (written in 1990) is more thought provoking and detailed while reading Brown's book is like reading Dr. Seuss."

Samizdata agrees about the banality, and suggests it applies to the whole genre:
As someone who loves books and has worked in publishing, I have long been perplexed by the massive sales of leaden conspiracy 'thrillers' ... and of pseudo-histories. These are strange alien artefacts in the literary world. They appear to be books, having the same physical manifestation. Yet the words in them have no rhythm, and make no sense, the world they portray is all surface, all banality: all invented, but paradoxically without imagination...

These... I need another wordname... reads are bought in vast numbers by people who do not otherwise read. You see them swarming on the tube, at bus-stops, in advertisements as book-club special offers, everywhere. And then they are gone. Where?
Sometimes these things turn up in court. And what a curious claim from the authors of the "'non-fiction 'work of non-history," Holy Blood and the Holy Grail: that a fiction author 'stole' the 'historical conjecture' from their 'sort-of non-fiction' work. "The question the court is facing," The Bangkok Post points out, "is whether you can copyright an idea, a conjecture."

Asks Samizdata: "What could make "historical conjecture" original work capable of copyright protection? Only that it bears no relation to history, it seems to me." So does that mean the HBHG authors will only be successful if the court finds their work to be a total fantasy? Or that fiction authors will be debarred in future from using original historical works?

It's taken a court case, but just as Samizdata suggests, The Da Vinci Code has finally become a thriller.

LINK: The case of the recycled tripe - Guy Herbert (Samizdata)
'The Da Vinci Code'
- Six Different Ways
'Da Vinci Code' author begins copyright battle - Guardian

TAGS: Books

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