Wednesday, August 10, 2011
originality and business in the 40k universe
I was reading a forum and these thoughts came to me. I figured this was a more appropriate forum for them.
So much of sci-fi is borrowed, influenced or even stolen from its fore bearers. As everyone's noted, Lovecraft (Chaos gods, etc), Bradbury (Martian Chronicles), Giger (Alien, Species, Bullet Babies, etc), Cameron (Alien, Terminator), Heinlein (Starship Troopers), Saberhagen (the Berserker series)... there are original ideas popping up here and there, but there have been plenty of people smarter than I am who've observed that there are only a dozen original stories that have ever existed.
Are the 40k and WHFB worlds original? Heck no. Is GW a crappy corporate entity for suing left and right for IP violations? Heck yes. But legal realities do not actually form true reality, as much as our governments and lawyers might argue otherwise. Papa Tolkien had some wonderful ideas, but his races and many of his characters were directly out of myth and folklore. Heinlein was making a political statement when he wrote Starship Troopers, and didn't even intend on hiding it in the slightest. Sadly a lot of our world is a business and our hobby has become one. I kind of wish I'd gotten involved in the 80s when I was playing Battletech, but I didn't - nothing to be done for it. I AM glad I've gotten involved at a time when there are so many amazing models out there, and so many brilliant people designing them, the more brilliant people buying, modifying and painting them.
TSR was much more user friendly than WOTC, old GW was apparently similar... but we move on. I hear Privateer Press is a little better, but starting to make the corporate slide... I think it's an unavoidable problem. Once a company gets big enough that they have a world wide audience, and hence can support world class artists to design their models, they become a profit seeking corporation. I don't know if there's a real solution, but I hope the models and art keeps up at its current pace of excellent work and continuing improvement.