I just had an exchange with a friend from college on Facebook. I dropped after one comment because it was clear we really disagree and it is not worth an argument. But I wanted to discuss my views here because her comment bothered me. Here is a snapshot of our conversation so you understand what I am saying.
As I said it is not an important issue but it bothers me when people use strong words like Plagiarism which is a very important and serious term incorrectly. Having a similar concept is in no way plagiarism. Having the exact same concept is plagiarism. Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines plagiarism as such:
In many ways it can be difficult to tell if a literary, art or music piece is plagiarized, inspired by or just similar to another piece. This is especially true in the literature world since there are a limited number of new ideas and concepts and almost everything draws inspiration from something else. How many stories are about evil dragons? Or great quests to destroy an artifact that is sustaining an evil power? Following my friend’s logic, the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter are the same story and someone should inform J.R.R. Tolkein’s heirs that his story was plagiarized.
The point is not that there are many countless stories that have similar ideas but that they all have their own take on the story and inject something new.
However, I don’t even think that is the case with these two stories. As I said I did not want to start an argument so I did not respond further. To me, these stories are completely different and the similarities that my friend pointed out are not all accurate.
So I wanted to do a quick summary and comparison of the two pieces here, Ender’s Game (for the purpose of this discussion I will be summarizing the book version of Ender’s Game as I enjoyed it so much more and it was an important and favorite piece of literature to me in my childhood) and Independence Day: Resurgence. To begin with I must apologize for those who have not read or seen the stories and state that there may be some spoilers here. So bare that in mind and feel free to skip this post if that bothers you.
Ender’s Game is a book written by Orson Scott Card in 1985. A movie adaptation was made in 2013 but as I said I will be summarizing the book here.
In Ender’s Game earth has suffered a devastating war with aliens, known as the Buggers many years before and has united to breed intelligent children to form an army of the youngest and brightest to combat the aliens as they are sure they will return. This army of children is sent to a space station to learn the art of war and work together to form a strong and united military force. Ender, the brightest and youngest is chosen to be the future general and the book follows his education and interaction with his fellow child soldiers as he learns what he needs to defeat the Buggers.
As part of Ender’s military education he searches for all information about the Buggers to better understand how to defeat them. As his training continues through many years of war games both against his fellow child soldiers in mock armies and against a simulation on the computer Ender discovers that the Buggers are not evil and do not intend to return.
In fact, they were searching for a new home to form a colony. The Buggers were a life form similar to many insects on Earth where the queen is the only intelligent life form and the others were drones. In that situation, they would not be killing an intelligent being by killing the drones. After two battles the Buggers realized that humans are not like insects and that each of us has intelligence. They therefore left and did not intend to return. In the end, Ender faced the Buggers on their home world and destroyed them believing it to be a simulation. Realizing what he had done, he took on the task of informing humanity about these facts and that the Buggers were not evil they just misunderstood us.
Independence Day: Resurgence is a movie that came out in 2016.
In Independence Day: Resurgence, it has been 15 years since aliens attacked earth. We barely beat them the first time. Earth has used the tech that the aliens left behind to create new spaceships and weapons in anticipation of there return. Now, the aliens return and once again start trying to destroy all life on earth to steal our resources particularly the Earth’s core.
The humans must fight back to prevent the aliens from killing us all and making Earth uninhabitable. This alien life form is based upon a hive mind, the first time we defeated them by killing the queen. This time the aliens have returned in force with a much more powerful queen both in size and intelligence as well as a stronger and larger military force.
On their last attack it was discovered that the aliens travel the universe finding any planet that has resources that they need, attacking and killing all life forms and stealing the resources. This time Earth is united in the fight against the aliens and humanity uses the new tech and the knowledge gained in the last war to kill the alien queen and save the Earth again.
In both stories, Earth has been attacked by aliens. These attacks have caused the peoples of Earth to unite to face the common enemy. Both stories have an alien force that has a queen and drone mechanic.
In Ender’s Game, the emphasis is on the breeding of intelligent children to create a superior army. Most of the story is about this child army and the aliens are merely the cause for it’s existence.
In Independence Day: Resurgence, the emphasis is on the tech that the aliens left behind that the humans have now adapted to improve their space travel ability and weaponry.
In Ender’s Game, the story follows one boy who will lead the armies of Earth against the aliens.
In Independence Day: Resurgence, the story follows many soldiers who unite to fight against the enemy.
In Ender’s Game, the aliens are not evil. They are trying to form a colony on a habitable planet and do not realize that we are a different form of intelligence and only inhabit one planet. They are not trying to destroy the Earth as they hope to inhabit it.
In Independence Day: Resurgence, the aliens are evil. They are intentionally trying to kill all humans (and all life forms, including other aliens) and harvesting all planets that they find to steal their resources and destroy the planets.
After all this I hope you can understand my confusion and disagreement with my friend. However as I said, it was not important enough to start a fight. I enjoyed both stories in their own way although I did enjoy Ender’s Game more. But again, that it my opinion. I hope you enjoyed this discussion and take it for what it is.