So I am a frequenter of the novel translations subreddit. The reddit posts various asian light novel translations (similar to the web serial format). Something about these foreign epic story lines really gets me, although they are all very similar to each other. (Chinese wuxia novels tend to revolve around a underdog character that becomes someone with undeniable talent, someone who stands up for what they believe is right. Japanese novels tend to revolve around an suddenly overpowered character that is placed in a position where they can do whatever they want, so they do.)
This is all besides the point.
The point is, that as I was browsing the latest reddit posts, and something caught my eye. An english novel, called [the steel harvest]. (the subreddit generously allows works in english to also be posted).
I make it a point to look (briefly) at the english works that people put on the reddit, so I opened it up. To my surprise, I found that many points in the story are very similar to mine.
Very quickly I want to say that I am in no way upset by this. I honestly think in many ways it is a great thing.
But I am just curious. Am I crazy? Am I seeing similarities that are easily explained away? There is only one thing that really makes me think that [steel harvest] was in part inspired by my own story.
Man of Last Millennium - Plot: A thousand years into the future, a man wakes up from cyrogenic sleep. He has no memory, and is picked up by two boys that work as scavengers. The earth, (1000 years in the future), is covered by a giant metal covering called Upper, where the rankers live (people with heightened levels of thetans, an internal source of power). The surface, is a wasteland covered with trash. One of the boys is actually an abandoned child from upper, (he had a strange marking on his arm). Eventually, the trio are found and pursued by a gang of business rivals, who want blood.
The Steel Harvest - Plot: Far into the distant future, in a world where humanity managed to resist a catastrophic event, a boy is a scavenger, trying to make a living by scavenging various wreckages that fall to the surface. The world is covered by a shell, where the elite/royalty live. A girl from the shell gets stranded on the surface, and turns out she is royalty, (she has a marking somewhere on her body). The boy and the girl go on a journey to return the girl back to the surface. They are also being pursued by a gang of scavengers.
The only thing that I have a hard time believing is NOT a coincidence, is the shell surrounding the earth. This to me, was my one unique idea. At least, I thought it was. Looking it up, the closest concept that I could find was something called a dyson sphere, which would cover the sun, not the earth.
Almost all of my plot devices have been done in multiple places:
Cyrogenic man wakes up in world filled with trash- Idiocracy
Two scavenger kids making a living off of trash dumps- The Electric Kid
Concept of dying earth, and elitism in another part of the world- Elysium
I'm sure many more of my world/plot are simply spinoffs of some sort from another person's work. But that metal shell was one thing I thought for sure was pretty unique (at least, as unique as an idea can get. It doesn't get a genius to go from a shell around a sun to a shell around a planet).
What do you guys think? I would honestly be pretty stoked that aspects of my story inspired other projects; although at the same time, it gives me some pressure to hurry up and get my own story out there into the market...
Perhaps the simplest thing to do would be just to ask the writer. It would be quite flattering (in a way) to know that your work was able to spark inspiration in someone else.