Science-Fiction author John Scalzi offers a variety of commentary (when he’s not playing the Ukulele or being paid in bacon) on his website Whatever. He brought to my attention the inglorious case of Q. R. Markham (the secret to success, however nefarious, lies with using initials, I swear – more on that to come).
Markham wrote, sorta-kinda, Assassin of Secrets, a Jason Bourne/James Bond espionage-esque novel. It received good reviews from critics and made a ‘Best of 2011′ list; it seemed that Markham was on his way to enjoying a breakout novel.
Except there was one slight problem: he plagarized entire pieces from the John Gardner series of James Bond novels. Not one or two sentences, entire fucking pages. Scalzi does a much better job of explaining his frustrations on the matter than I could ever hope to do (his writing trumps mine, left-handed and drunk); thus, I suggest taking a look at his article and reaction regarding Markham.
This is reminiscent of Kaavya Viswanathan, who penned the chick-lit novel How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life, which, subsequently, was found to have lifted material from six, count ‘em, six separate novels. Although, in her slight defense, there are rumors that this is an accepted policy in the chick-lit genre and that Viswanathan’s publisher, Little, Brown and Company, knew damn well what she had done.
By the way, Little, Brown and Company also published Assassin of Secrets. How’s that for conspiracies and espionage?