November 1, 2009 by Paul Curtin
James Cameron has been creating a lot of buzz for his upcoming movie Avatar by touting how original and revolutionary the film will be. But is the “revolutionary” film that has taken Cameron ten years to create just a rip-off of a 1957 science fiction novel?
Cameron is no stranger to controversy over plagiarism in films. After being sued by Harlan Ellison (writer for the Outer Limits) for Ellison’s idea’s being used in The Terminator, Cameron was forced to acknowledge Ellison in the credits.
Poul Anderson’s Call Me Joe is a science fiction novel written in 1957 which focuses on a paraplegic main character — Ed Anglesey — who has a telepathic connection with an artificially created life-form which leads to him no longer wanting to be human. Cameron’s Avatar is centered around main character — Jake Sully — also a paraplegic who loses his connection with the human race after using his newly created artificial body. Even the artwork on the cover of Call Me Joe looks similar to the spear-wielding striped blue aliens in Avatar.
While Cameron has cited sources such as Dances with Wolves, Rudyard Kipling and Edgar Rice Burroughs as influences for Avatar, it’s very strange that he has not made any mention of Call Me Joe.