More information about INTELLIGENCE

16 May

Ok…  Right.  This again.

A little backstory: in February, it was announced that CBS had purchased the rights to make a pilot based on an unpublished young adult novel by new(ish) author John Dixon.  This pilot was loosely adapted from the novel, and featured a government agent who had been part of a top-secret program.  Based on the very sparse information in the press releases, the plot centered on an agent with a chip implanted in his brain which allowed him to access the entire EM spectrum.

I spoke with my lawyer, who advised three things:  (1) Get the news of this series out to the readership, so we did not appear ignorant or  blindsided if/when the pilot hit; (2) Document everything, and I mean everything; and (3) Speed up publication of Digital Divide.  I did all of this.  I even had a brief but pleasant discussion with John Dixon on his blog, so he was aware that there were some concerns of trope crossover (I cannot find these posts to link to them at this time.  They were attached to this article, but the follow-up comments forming a nice conversation between Dixon, AGAHF reader Alexander H., and myself are no longer there.).

Now, we’re keeping the Kraken on a short leash, guys, remember?  We are not going off half-cocked and misinformed, remember?

With that said, CBS has just released the trailer to Intelligence, and now we have a little more information about the chip-in-head-meets-Secret–Government-Agency tropes in play.

I can overlook the tough-as-nails dusky blond hunk and the sassy brunette “minder” whose job it is to protect him.  Attitude + sexy = win.  I can ignore the whole “we gave a human the kind of power that was previously only seen in a machine” theme.  Been done before.  The shift from accessing the EM spectrum to controlling the EM spectrum (two very different things) is understandable as it makes for better action, and one can lead directly to another.  I can even overlook that they are portraying the agent and what he represents as “this generation’s Manhattan Project,” which is a major theme throughout the seven-plus years of the comic and Digital Divide, even though that trope is less well-established in the general sci-fi & government conspiracy theory literature.

But…. Guys, the uber-elite Secret Agent with the chip in his head makes constructs. He says that an “unexpected” side effect of the implant is that he can project what he sees.  “The intel I have access to… I can see it.  It’s like a virtual evidence wall.”  This is very unique and differs from other projection-type tropes, such as Gary’s in Alphas, where he translated what he perceived into images that only he could see. The Secret Agent in Intelligence can also perceive snipers from a distance, which is straight-up Rachel.  The more information that we get about these projects, the harder it is for me to separate the ideas in them as being unique from my own.

I am trying very hard not to cry right now.

More data is needed, but I have renewed conversations with my lawyer.

21 Responses to “More information about INTELLIGENCE”

  1. Marilyn May 16, 2013 at 6:30 pm #

    I’m sorry. This really sucks.
    You do, though, have an internet fanbase that loves you dearly and will support you all the way. If we can do anything, let us know. And until this is resolved…*internet hugs*

  2. Serj Baldwin May 16, 2013 at 9:47 pm #

    Don’t worry… they might end up breaking rule number one:

    Don’t piss off the internet.

    • KBSpangler May 17, 2013 at 3:43 am #

      The Internet is an unpredictable mob-monster! Best to let it rest unless we need to beat it awake with a stick.

  3. slowvehicle May 16, 2013 at 11:42 pm #

    Very calmly, I say with sincerity…let us know when you want something done. Whatever it is.

    • KBSpangler May 17, 2013 at 3:37 am #

      Thank you. We’re still in wait-and-see phase right now.

  4. Cheshyr May 16, 2013 at 11:45 pm #

    The same thing happened with Jonathon Coulton and Glee. Sadly, there’s not a lot you can do. I hope you have a good lawyer, so you can find a way to force a settlement.

    • KBSpangler May 17, 2013 at 3:41 am #

      I’ve got my original lawyer, and a good friend recommended one who specializes in IP law. I watched what happened to Coulton and I feel for him, apart from any of this silliness happening here. He got a raw deal there.

  5. alexanderthesoso May 17, 2013 at 1:07 am #

    it does appear that only HE is seeing those projections. However, from looking at the information about the book, and things the author has said, I don’t believe that effect was in the book. It sounds like something made for the show, which makes a higher possibility someone with the show saw yourcomic, and copied.

    • KBSpangler May 17, 2013 at 3:31 am #

      Re: Dixon’s book, I agree. The conversation with him suggested that his novel has a very different plot than the pilot. Adaptation to television might have introduced many new elements.

      Re: the constructs. I watched that scene several times, and the part where she walks through one in wide-eyed wonder strongly suggests she can see them, too. But we’ll have to see it in context to know for sure.

  6. Yukiarashi May 18, 2013 at 2:48 am #

    They say that plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery…
    But I never met “they” so we wait patiently for whatever help we can provide

  7. Temporal Distance May 21, 2013 at 2:20 am #

    This makes me incredibly angry. The universe you have created is one of the most unique things I have seen in a long time, and this is way too similar to be a coincidence. I’m on your side 100%.

  8. Paul May 21, 2013 at 4:00 am #

    A crappy situation all round. I hope you can resolve it satisfactorily and quickly so that the extra stress doesn’t have too much time to mount. Your work has been excellent and I’m really looking forward to the next Rachel Peng novel.

  9. Diane Wendel May 27, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

    I just heard about the TV show yesterday, and my first thought was that you had sold Girl & Fed to TV, but then I thought, “no….” Sorry to hear about this rukus. Hopefully, the show will stink (like most TV shows) and not last long …

  10. Chris May 28, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

    Don Quixote reporting for duty, ma’am. Point out the windmill!

  11. planethalia June 16, 2013 at 3:14 pm #

    This bites. 😦 Please keep us posted, ok? We’re rooting for you.

  12. Tim Wilson-Brown (@twbtwb) January 1, 2014 at 11:10 pm #

    FWIW, John Dixon’s blog page has disappeared entirely. I wonder why…

    • KBSpangler January 1, 2014 at 11:38 pm #

      He has a new professional blog at a different site. Whatever similarities might be between INTELLIGENCE and AGAHF, it’s definitely not John Dixon’s fault. The plot of his book is completely different from that of the show.


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