I have a group of friends, writers all, that joke about sharing one brain among them. Chat has common references to “Who has the brain today? It’s my turn to have it! I’m a weeks (month, year…) behind deadline and the publisher is going to flay me”. These are all bright women who write well and are having everything from modest to very good success.
Sometimes reading their chat and talking with them myself I get the feeling it isn’t all joking. They do have many similar thoughts on things, each gives the thought her own special twist, but that is human. And some days i watch them and think that they do seem to share the same brain. When one is doing very well at writing the others seem to be idling along, then it will switch. What gives?
Well a part of it is their friendship. When a group talks together all the time, whether around the kitchen table or in an online social Media group they tend to develope the same ideas in a similar pace. This isn’t one person pushing the rest to believe what they believe so much as arriving at a group consensus. Each has their own take on it and they don’t think exactly the same just an overall agreement. The question is, do they think the same because of association or do they associate because they think the same way?
I am pondering these things because of a juxtaposition in my own life of two very different authors who have some congruences in their books. The weekend of March 20-22 2015 I will be attending millenicon in Cincinnati OH. One of the guests will be Christopher Stasheff who is one of my favorite Fantasy authors, especially in the realm of SF/Fantasy fusion. His Warlock series and the other series which spun off of it are a delightful subversion of SF to Fantasy or possibly Fantasy to SF. The other author who is colliding in my mind (I do so have enough room for two authors to collide in my mind) is Arthur H. Landis who wrote a series Camelot In Orbit which examines similar tropes. He does it very well too.
You see just by happenstance I am rereading the Camelot In Orbit series right now and got curious which came first. The first book in the series A World Called Camelot was published in 1965, the other two books were published in the early 70s. Stasheff published The Warlock In Spite Of Himself in 1969. The first sequel was published in 71 and the rest were a product of the 80s when they were immensely popular.
The shared brain question comes about because of the similarity in timing and theme of the books. I find myself wondering whether the gentlemen knew each other? Did a discussion between them lead to the books, which are very different in tone while having many of the same themes? Did A world Called Camelot inspire The Warlock In Spite Of Himself? I plan to ask Mr. Stasheff about it during the con. thing is, it was half a century ago. Would he even remember where the genesis of the book came from? I doubt that I would.