Axiom’s End

Axiom’s End by Lindsay Ellis was published in 2020 and it made the New York Times Bestseller list. Because of some similarities in the blurb and the first chapter, I’m checking out if it fits the profile of the other 25 software assisted rip offs of my book.

This author is primarily a full time YouTuber with millions of followers and I wondered if someone reached out to her to help her publish a book. She doesn’t sound like someone who even identifies as a writer.

<<The bartender asked, “What do you do?”, and I wasn’t going to tell her I was a YouTuber, so I said, “I’m a writer [eye roll], I mean I guess technically I am.” >> Weird. Her second novel comes out in a month and that isn’t usually how novelists feel about their work.
Her eyes remind me of someone – did her father give her this book to help her career? How is it possible for her to be the 250,000th most popular youtuber when she has millions of views per video. I mean, ContraPoints gets only twice as many views per video and those videos are awesome. I bet there is a gig where someone acts like an entertainer but is really part of an insider communication network. In exchange, they get a bot army to cheer for them while they hide within the crowd of actual entertainers and try to be actually entertaining. The leg up they get is hardly fair.

Perhaps she got a publishing contract because of her five year old YouTube platform and then struggled to actually write the book. A hero appears! He has all of those things you need to write a book: editing, ideas, plotting advice.. heck he can fix that disastrous manuscript up in a jiffy with his special software. He won’t tell you the resources he is using and you don’t need to know! All she will have to do is market it.

She’s 36? I would’ve thought 26. She says that her protagonist was originally 18 in the first scene — so was mine! Then she quickly needed to be 21 for the sake of the story — same as in my book! The stack of books next to her has some familiar names. Naomi Novik runs a fan fic site — a fount of words for spinning silver into gold. Also, when she started talking about how she came up with the story, it sounded like she was talking about a different book entirely.. “when we became space faring” played no role whatsoever in Axiom’s End. I’m getting the impression that she just reflexively bullshits. She attributes the influence of Transformers and Invader Zim cartoons.

Whenever I suspect that a book has been produced with software assistance, I dig into the sequence of writing prompts that was used and identify the degree to which they overlap with those of a copyrighted work that a certain ‘writing services’ guy has used 25 times to produce books he sells to people like Lindsay Ellis.

Lindsay, I hate to tell you that the guy who helped you write your book is basically this guy:

If you haven’t seen the movie, he sold the same routine to a bunch of cheerleading squads and when they performed it at a competition, painful hilarity ensued since the routines were supposed to be original.

You don’t believe me? I have evidence. He has made 27 copies of the same book for different genres and when it is possible to use a software package to ‘write a book in 7 days‘ or extract a detailed book template or generate paragraphs or scenes at the press of a button, this isn’t that surprising.

Axiom’s End vs. My Adorable Apotheosis

  1. The opening image of a young woman with an estranged family, a crappy job, and a nefarious AI/alien threat is similar.
    1. Both books start with a prologue implying that the world is beset by an powerful AI/alien that will be a centerpiece of the story. (Ellis p. 1) (Hacker p. 1).
    2. The protagonist, X, is a young woman and the story opens with a conflict she has with a parent while they are both riding in a car. She has to get out of a car to deal with her frustration. (Ellis p. 5) (Hacker p. 5)
    3. Her father is mentioned, but he is far away, having abandoned her because of his discomfort with the surveillance state. (Ellis p. 8, 13) (Hacker p. 5)
    4. She doesn’t have a good relationship with her mom, she is short of money, and she only ever hears from her father via letters he writes. She feels maternal towards her little sister because her mother is damaged and isn’t there for them. (Ellis p. 6, 33) (Hacker p. ) The little sister and mom are only featured in version 2 of my manuscript, but they are introduced at this point in both stories.
    5. X has a boring, tedious job during which, per company policy, she isn’t allowed access to the internet. (Ellis p. 9) (Hacker p. 16)
  2. Her experiences at her workplace are similar.
    1. On her way to work, she has a problem with a stalker. (Ellis p. 8) (Hacker p. 84) This plot element is out of sequence.
    2. At work she is confronted by a man who is interested in her because of what she might know about a mysterious political event at their workplace. He is intrusive, insincere, and a bit threatening to her. (Ellis p. 10) (Hacker p. 18, 76)
      • It gradually becomes clear that the world devolved into a dystopian surveillance state after a destructive event known as the ampersand/cataclysm about which we don’t get to know any details. (Ellis p. ) (Hacker p. )
    3. Having one’s mind completely destroyed is a threat in this world. Total mental control is the enemy of individuals like the protagonist. (Ellis p. 12) (Hacker p. 6)
    4. She has a long conversation with the guy at work who only wants to use her and doesn’t care about her. They argue at length about politics and part on a bad note. He is a fanatic and she is skeptical. (Ellis p. 12) (Hacker p. 16)
    5. She takes public transportation to and from work. (Ellis p. 17) (Hacker p. 84) I would agree with a critic, that at this point, the level of similarity is driven by the conventions of the genre, but something about the similarity of the character names raises a red flag.
      • mother: Protagora -> Demetra (Greek mythology inspired name)
      • aunt: Lucinda -> Luciana,
      • siblings: Alix -> Felix and Cara -> Cora
      • father: Bill -> Nils
      • rebel: Chess -> Nils (Bill and Chess got conflated at the beginning of the story)
      • rebel’s kooky friend: Bob -> Bard
      • enemy authority: Professor Beret -> Agent Kaplan (hats come to mind)
      • rebel man who killed himself: Dodo -> Cefo
      • group mind aliens: symbiots -> similars
      • AI/alien: Chess -> Ampersand (names that represent symbols?)
      • AI/alien’s brother: Vishnu -> Esperas (foreign names?)
  3. Information about the protagonist’s character is presented on similar pages in both books.
    1. She lives in a low class environment, is short of friends, and has a pet [small dog]. (Ellis p. 18) (Hacker p. 17, 33, 61)
      • A small dog is mentioned on roughly the same page in both books. (Ellis p. 18) (Hacker p. 10)
    2. She goes home from work to see someone playing video games and she feels like she is living with unemployed losers. (Ellis p. 18, 23) (Hacker p. 208) This characterization doesn’t fit with Ellis’s characters. The algorithm conflated some character traits from my book in a way that doesn’t make sense.
    3. She used to look up to her aunt and think she was cool and hip, but later just saw her as a system slave. (Ellis p. 23) (Hacker p. ) Her aunt was only in version 2 of my book.
    4. When under pressure, she sings to comfort herself. (Ellis p. 34) (Hacker p. 33)
      • This happens on the same page in both books.
    5. She identifies as an academic linguist/physicist who didn’t get more than a bachelor’s education and feels inferior because of it. (Ellis p. 35) (Hacker p. 35)
      • This information is presented on the same page in both books.
  4. Her connection to a rebel and a disaster at work puts her at risk. She is interrogated.
    1. She hides in a toilet from a guy she doesn’t like while she is in a panicked, almost fugue state. She is almost killed in a disaster at work. It is described as a blinding light that knocked her down. She was unscathed yet rattled by the experience. (Ellis p. 13,15) (Hacker p. 30, 38)
    2. Because of her reaction to the almost deadly disaster at work, she is removed from her position. Her employer’s reaction is highly illogical. (Ellis p. 25) (Hacker p. 40) I used the illogic for comic effect, but in Ellis’s book, it just comes across as weird.
    3. She gets interrogated by an authority who is investigating a subversive organization and they suspect that the leader of the organization has made contact with her. She doesn’t really know anything. (Ellis p. 31) (Hacker p. 31, 157) We later learn that Rose was a spy. This also happens again later at her workplace.
    4. She gets an apologetic letter from her father who abandoned her. (Ellis p. 36) (Hacker p. 298)
      • Similarly, on the same page in both books, she gets a message from a person from her past who had abandoned her. (Ellis p. 36) (Hacker p. 37)
    5. Because of her connection to the fugitive, she is afraid of losing her autonomy. (Ellis p. 36) (Hacker p. 298)
  5. In a dark place, she hallucinates and makes contact with someone mysterious. Two mythemes are conflated here. This copying technique involves reversing the order of similar or echoed scenes in a manuscript that one wants to copy.
    1. While in a dark space where it is hard to see clearly, she is trying to establish communication with something mysterious, and she is startled by seeing a cat. (Ellis p. 37) (Hacker p. 89)
      • On the same page in both books, she hallucinates someone who isn’t there. (Ellis p. 37) (Hacker p. 36)
    2. The spooky sense of menace continues for several pages. She was startled by something and asks someone, “Did you do that?” hoping that she could discern the cause of her sense of unease about her efforts to communicate with something she isn’t supposed to contact. (Ellis p. 41) (Hacker p. 37, 89)
      • On the same page in both books her terror causes her desperately search for a way to escape from the room in which she felt trapped and then to pass out and regain consciousness once the sense of danger had passed. (Ellis p. 42) (Hacker p. 38)
    3. Whenever she is under a lot of stress, she focuses on her little sister. It represents an attempt to console her inner child. (Ellis p. 43) (Hacker p. ) I added a vision of her little sister to this scene in version 2 of the manuscript.
    4. There is a panicky scene where she is running, hyperventilating, and pressing buttons to get help. She is afraid of a machine/helicopter killing her. The scene ends with her blacking out. It is like an echo of the first scene where she blacks out. (Ellis p. 49) (Hacker p. 39)
      • I think this scene got echoed because the algorithm is sampling both version 1 and version 2 of my book and it delivered two versions of the same basic panic sequence, with page numbers overlapping with each version of the manuscript.
    5. Having biomechanical monitoring/communications devices implanted in one’s body is a threat in both books. (Ellis p. 51) (Hacker p. 50)
      • This theme shows up on the same page in both books, as a method of anchoring the causal structure of the narrative.
  6. She contacts a system insider she trusts to tell them about her otherworldly experience.
    1. The threat of having one’s mind erased by a machine looms and, in this scene, she is finding refuge after trying to avoid that happening, but she was unconscious and many people get implanted devices, so she can’t really know what happened to her body. (Ellis p. 49, 52, 60) (Hacker p. 41, 50, 60)
      • This theme re-appears on the same pages in both books.
    2. She contacts an insider/authority she trusts to get advice about how to deal with the organization with which she’s gotten involved. She is given support but kept at a distance and not let in on any secrets. (Ellis p. 52) (Hacker p. 52)
      • This happens on the same page in both books.
    3. She finds out that her mother and family have been removed from their family home by the authorities. (Ellis p. 52) (Hacker p. 149)
      • On the same page in both books, she is discussing a mother and a family. (Ellis p. 52) (Hacker p. 51)
    4. She was subject to a violent altercation during which she lost consciousness and was afraid of someone implanting something in her brain. She’s recovering from this in this scene. (Ellis p. 51) (Hacker p. 41, 47, 160)
      • This happens on roughly the same page in both books.
    5. After her medical/psychological emergency, she is picked up by a guy she barely knows. He is weird and speaks like pedantic nerd or high school debate team captain who is oblivious to nuance. He is assisting the mysterious villain/Chess/Nils character. (Ellis p. 55) (Hacker p. 56, 162)
      • This happens on the same page in both books.
  7. She meets a group of rebels.
    1. The weird guy (Bob/Bard) takes her to a safe space far from her home where she meets a group of strange people who are having secret meetings about forbidden knowledge. (Ellis p. 59) (Hacker p. 166)
    2. They all believe in weird things. (Ellis p. 62) (Hacker p. 170)
      • In my book, the scene in which she meets the rebel academics led by Bob/Bard echoes her meeting with Professor Beret’s students. (Ellis p. 62) (Hacker p. 75)
      • Throughout both books, she meets people who believe weird things and she is only partially convinced since everyone seems crazy. (Ellis p. 75) (Hacker p. 63)
    3. Only weird clothes are available. (Ellis p. 63) (Hacker p. 165)
    4. They don’t take what she thinks she knows seriously. (Ellis p. 64) (Hacker p. 171)
    5. The memory alteration threat is rehashed as something that could affect her and her mother. (Ellis p. 68) (Hacker p. ) In version 2 of my manuscript this happens around this point, and the theme is made more obvious without so much repetition because I put it in the prologue.
  8. She struggles with her autonomy after she meets the AI/alien. This sequence echoes the earlier panic/escape sequence and is reversed in the order in which it appears in Ellis’s book compared to in my book – while maintaining the overall story arc.
    1. She is slowly brought under the control of an alien that uses her curiosity and fear to manipulate her. (Ellis p. 70) (Hacker p. 70)
      • I should be more specific about what is happening on this page.
    2. The AI/alien convinces her to attempt to infiltrate and take over a basement control system in a powerful laboratory/corporate facility. (Ellis p. 75) (Hacker p. 87)
      • The details of this scene echo those I used as my protagonist entered a new workplace and was navigated by an electronic, disembodied voice and surrounded by people who acted like robots. (Ellis p. 75) (Hacker p. 15)
    3. She is partially successful, but before she gains full control of their system, she is captured by a security worker and held for interrogation. (Ellis p. 75) (Hacker p. 157)
      • I need to investigate this mytheme and the next more carefully.
  9. There is a disaster that destroys a machine. She escapes and the AI/alien follows her. It acts like her friend, but she can’t ascertain its goals. This happens twice in both books and the order of the specifics of the events is reversed in Ellis’ book.
    1. There were two disasters in my book that were in the same order in both books. In disaster 1 (mytheme7), she is threatened with a mind implant and escapes by car. In disaster 2 (mytheme9), she is forced to infiltrate a powerful company/laboratory so that the AI/alien can destroy it. The AI/alien is successful, even though she has no idea what she is actually doing. She escapes into the wilderness.
    2. When she is threatened by the police, the AI seems to help her, but we don’t know its real agenda. It appears to merely be using her. (Ellis p. 84, 91) (Hacker p. )
    3. This is something that happens twice in both books. In incident 1, she is threatened by the police and the AI/alien instructs her in what to do with the car she is in. In incident 2, the AI/alien instructs her to infiltrate a machine so that it can get access to it. In Ellis’s book they are reversed in order in comparison to my book. She also breaks up incident 1 so that half appears earlier.
  10. She gets to know the AI/alien. This mytheme is echoed in two locations: echo 1 is when she talks with ARIEL about AIs and echo 2 is when she talks to Svetlyachok who is a type of alien. The specifics of these interactions are reversed in the order they appear in Ellis’ book.
    1. It is described as catlike. (Ellis p. 96) (Hacker p. 92)
    2. The threat of cannibalism is brought up. (Ellis p. 103) (Hacker p. 237)
      • An echo of this cannibalism fear might be when then the AI/alien says it doesn’t bite. (Ellis p. 103) (Hacker p. 90)
    3. She asks it a lot of questions but it gives unsatisfying answers. (Ellis p. 97) (Hacker p. 63, 98)
    4. It tells her about its opposition to an overarching control system. (Ellis p. 100) (Hacker p. 66, 101)
    5. It tells her about all of the other species of AIs/aliens. (Ellis p. 101) (Hacker p. 65, 108)
    6. The alien doesn’t respond to her proposals for a long time, causing her to continue clarifying. He lacks a sense of the normal rhythms of communication and this builds a sense of threat and otherness. (Ellis p. 106) (Hacker p. 72, 106)
  11. She has another lengthy discussion with the AI/alien, creating a similar sense of pacing in both books. This sequence only happens once in both books.
    1. The alien claims to be super intelligent and she tries to explain to it what she understands about physics and relativity, but she feels shy and reluctant because of how little she knows. (Ellis p. 110) (Hacker p. 109)
      • This is happening on the same page in both books.
    2. There is a public presentation of highly disruptive information to a large audience followed by an escape to a remote locale to avoid having to face the people who were in the audience. (Ellis p. 113, 116) ((Hacker p. 113, 135)
      • This is happening on the same page in both books.
    3. She ends up hiding out in a hotel in a remote location while the cat/alien/AI is still manipulating her like a puppet. It is interested in maintaining control over the Fremda group/Chess network — a group that is in danger of being mind wiped or killed by the authorities. While she is at the hotel, we learn more about the group mind of the aliens/similars. (Ellis p. 116, 119, 122) (Hacker p. 130, 175)
    4. While at the hotel, she learns more about how the weird city people think — they are mostly symbiots and I wonder if Ellis equivocated symbiots and similars. (Ellis 122) (Hacker p. 135)
      • Both books are commenting on how social structures work and using similar methods to express those ideas.
    5. While she is on this post-media/post-conference outing, she meets someone from a diner who is also worried about aliens. (Ellis p. 125) (Hacker p. 150)
      • On this page, we also learn that the aliens are based in the South Pacific. (Ellis p. 125) (Hacker p. 175)
  12. The theme of being surrounded by noncommunicative beings connected by a group mind is explored. This is how both books express the alienation the young woman protagonist feels.
    1. There is a group of noncommunicative beings that don’t bother saying anything to people like the protagonist because they communicate amongst themselves. Because the protagonist is insignificant and easy to be manipulated, she is able to communicate with one of them. (Ellis p.126) (Hacker p. 120, 128, 69)
    2. She resist the implantation of the interface which manipulates her according to the whims of an AI/alien controlling a group mind, but eventually succumbs and finds the interface intrusive (Ellis p. 168) (Hacker p. 157, 253). Ellis has her succumb earlier in the plot sequence than I do.
    3. She is assured that some of the alien/AIs in her AI/alien friend’s community are purely defensive in their purpose and quite dangerous, yet they have not attacked. It later turns out that the AI/alien lied to her a lot. They have long conversations in which the alien/AI tells her things about its community that shouldn’t concern her and it isn’t clear why it is telling her this. (Ellis p. 137) (Hacker p. 69)
    4. Per the alien/AI’s instruction, she surrenders herself to the place where the authorities work and finds herself among a female authority who had always been skeptical yet not overtly hostile… and an irritatingly arrogant male authority whose name is reminiscent of a hat, Professor Beret/Agent Kaplan. (Ellis p. 145) (Hacker p. 124)
    5. Per the AI/alien’s instruction, she surrenders herself to a military installation that wants to scan her brain medically and she doesn’t want this. The alien prevents them from doing this to her. She has a job as a liaison between an out of control AI/alien and the authorities. (Ellis p. 151, 157, 164) (Hacker p. 151, 157, 164) In the context of page 164, Bob is being operated by Chess the AI/alien.
  13. In terms of the more global plot sequence, after having lost her tedious, first job due to a disaster that wasn’t fully her fault in mytheme 5, she is given a newer, much more important job as an interface for an alien/AI. In general, I feel like this part of Ellis’s book reads like a stale rip-off of Transformers, Men in Black, and Arrival, none of which use the same set up that I used.
    1. This leads to a scene in which a dead/comatose patient is operated on surgically as in Men in Black. (Ellis p. 169) (Hacker p. 161)
    2. We also get an image of a man with an exo-memory – as in a non-biological memory that is interfaced with his biological brain via high tech biomechanical implants installed around the spine of the nervous system. The capacity of the system to read the thoughts of the person is described. In the same scene in both books, the intrusiveness of the interface with the alien implant is described as intrusive — like a commanding voice that one cannot ignore.
    3. There is a similar and adjacent scene in which a person is operated on and I would expect that the algorithm has reversed their order in the overall plot sequence, unless it double sampled version 1 and version 2 of the manuscript and we get the same material presented twice, in order, with one expression matching the page number sequence from version 1 and the other matching the page numbers sequence from version 2..
    4. Page 172 of Ellis’s book reads like a scene from Arrival.
    5. I submitted two manuscripts to Litopia.com when I first completed My Adorable Apotheosis and, in some ways, this is beginning to read like a blend of them — as though both stories were sampled and used to generate the template. In the second manuscript, Protagora, Alix’s mother is involved in an alien invasion story where she becomes the sole interpreter while everyone hides in a bunker. Then again, this could be a red herring.
  14. Different methods of connecting people together is are juxtaposed throughout and drawn into relief via extreme examples of each. Both books make both direct and indirect commentary on political and social structures.
    1. Human families are one… we meet her family.
    2. A biomechanical implant is one… we see her deal with a biomechanical implant.
    3. An alien group mind is one… we see her learn from a group of noncommunicative aliens.
    4. An animal hierarchy is one… the example given in both books is of a group of Chimpanzees. (Ellis p. 175) (Hacker p. 234)
    5. A symbiotic pairing is one… both books give an example of this and how the loss impacts the survivor. (Ellis p. 176) (Hacker p. 59, 176)
  15. At this point in the story, I would expect media interaction to play a role along with group psychosis control, but instead, we skip ahead and get a rather unusual mytheme that comes straight out of the second half of version 2 of my manuscript.
    1. Physics exposition and discussions of genome preservation and a great, historical plague are featured. (Ellis p. 182) (Hacker p. ) This is rather specific and suggests that we are in a scene from the second half of version 2 of my manuscript and not in Protagora’s story.
    2. While confronted by the physical body of the very dead Dodo/Cebo, she reads a rare paper book. (Ellis p. 186) (Hacker p. )
    3. While dealing with a type of genetic ark, she is trying to convince a powerful alien/AI force that has previously experimented extensively on humans not to judge them so harshly and to cease with their experiments. (Ellis p. 187) (Hacker p. )
    4. She has partially succeeded, but there is a fundamental disagreement between the alien/AI with whom she is most familiar (Chess/Ampersand) and his brother (Esperas/Vishnu) about how to manage humans. Incidentally, she meets this politically connected brother in a military bunker in both books. (Ellis p. 188) (Hacker p. )
    5. A comically leaking/sinking boat is described. (Ellis p. 189) (Hacker p. ) Why would a boat sinking be funny? It is in my book.
  16. After the digression from the second half of version 2 of the manuscript, we are back on track with media psychosis being presented in the same way as in version 1.
    1. We see people being whipped into a frenzy because of the mystery in which the protagonist is involved. They aren’t good at dealing with strange information. (Ellis p. 189) (Hacker p. 190, 196)
    2. A female mentor delivers bad news to the protagonist about what the media has been saying and the political implications for her. The protagonist has been disconnected, so this is a surprise for her. (Ellis p. 191) (Hacker p. 199)
    3. She is comforted by music after bad news on the same page in both books. (Ellis p. 195) (Hacker p. 195)
    4. The next big thing that happens is that one of her only remaining friends is arrested by the authorities for subversive activities. (Ellis p. 195) (Hacker p. 198)
      • This is connected to something top secret that happened out in the South Pacific. (Ellis p. 196) (Hacker p. 185)
    5. Because of this she is worried about guilt by association and what the authorities will do to her. (Ellis p. 197) (Hacker p. 199)
  17. She is a prime witness for a crime.
    1. She is in danger of having her mind erased or being charged with a crime because of something that happened in the media, even though she doesn’t really know what is going on. (Ellis p. 198) (Hacker p. 199, 252)
    2. As a result, she has a discussion about the bible with a man who holds her fate in his hands. (Ellis p. 198) (Hacker p. 254)
    3. This brings her in contact with someone politically powerful: the director/defense department. (Ellis p. 205) (Hacker p. 152, 204)
    4. The AI/alien delivers a lecture on consciousness and solipsism in which the more powerful consciousness controls the less powerful consciousness. If the less powerful consciousness resists, it dies. (Ellis p. 208) (Hacker p. 95)
    5. After being front and center and forced to perform in front of powerful authorities, the bossy AI directs her to go (to the laboratory)(to take a break) and she doesn’t feel like she has a choice. (Ellis p. 210) (Hacker p. 173, 216)
    6. She distracts herself from her present problem by remembering a bad time from her childhood when her parents were splitting up. (Ellis p. 212) (Hacker p. 178, 218)
    7. The pattern in which she comforts herself with music on the same pages in both books repeats here. (Ellis p. 34, 195, 224) (Hacker p. 33, 195, 208)
  18. She goes crazy and gets frustrated with the AI/alien and the world.
    1. After meeting the scary authorities and seeing her only friend arrested, she hides from the AI/alien and doesn’t want to talk anymore. She seeks comfort and it offers it. (Ellis p. 213) (Hacker p. 195, 215)
    2. She is going crazy and dealing with her deep seated family trauma and fear. She is in a dark place. (Ellis p. 214) (Hacker p. 213)
    3. After she loses function, due to stress, she is physically placed into a dark, compact space by the alien so that she can recover her ability to function. It offers her food. (Ellis p. 215) (Hacker p. 289)
    4. It is rather persistent in its efforts to comfort the protagonist. (Ellis p. 216) (Hacker p. 269)
    5. She gets a massage from someone really weird, the soothing power of music is described, and then pornography is mentioned (Ellis p. 217, 224, 228) (Hacker p. 291)
      • On a similar page in both books one person comforts another by touching them. (Ellis p. 217) (Hacker p. 211)
      • In both books, a character has a confused reaction to pornography since it looks unpleasant. (Ellis p. 228) (Hacker p. 56) This is out of sequence.
  19. She struggles with relationships in a highly political environment..
    1. We are presented with facts and figures about a brutal, tribalist society that has no moral problem with genocide. (Ellis p. 232) (Hacker p. 235)
    2. Her increased closeness with politically powerful Agent Kaplan might be analogous to her increased closeness with politically powerful Dr. Knavel in my book. We then get extended discussions about how hierarchical structures survive and the morality of survival choices. (Ellis p. 236, 239) (Hacker p. 239, 249)
    3. She carries around a tablet that helps her translate an alien language. (Ellis p. 240) (Hacker p. 89)
    4. She runs into a pair of twins Stelo and Krias (Dean and Duma) who think as though they share a single brain within a group mind and speak in turns, alternating back and forth like Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. They lecture her with a rather obtuse communication style and are careful to remain in line with the propaganda goals of the hierarchy to which they belong. (Ellis p. 240, 242) (Hacker p. 59)
      • Similarly, on roughly the same page in both books, she confronts the ways in which people are used for propaganda purposes and she is lectured by a person who has a rather obtuse communication style. (Ellis p. 240) (Hacker p. 247) This is an example of how the algorithm takes two similar events and reverses their order in the copied plot sequence.
    5. We are given a picture of a marriage/partnership in crisis because one of the partners is out of line with the dominant political ideology. (Ellis p. 245, 275) (Hacker p. 246, 272)
  20. Her closeness to the alien/AI prevents her from having normal, human relationships.
    1. She gains access to a machine that allows her to magically teleport into different places/lives. Some of them are depressing and some are hopeful. Most of the other people who took a journey with this machine ended up dead. (Ellis p. 252) (Hacker p. 275)
    2. As a character trait, we are introduced to how much the protagonist likes looking at the stars. (Ellis p. 253) (Hacker p. 211) This is out of sequence.
    3. She is in a close, quasi romantic relationship with the AI/alien. (Ellis p. 254) (Hacker p. 268)
    4. This estranges her from Agent Kaplan – Dr. Knavel, her connection to the authority structure. (Ellis p. 259) (Hacker p. 273)
      • Similarly, she has a conversation with an authority who can get minds erased. She is afraid. An apple is mentioned on the same page in both books by the same character. (Ellis p. 259) (Hacker p. 261)
    5. She is afraid of mind erasure and blames it on Agent Kaplan – Dr. Knavel, but the real culprit is the AI/alien pretending to be her friend. (Ellis p. 262) (Hacker p. 273)
  21. She fights to maintain her identity on her terms..
    1. She has a big, verbal fight with the alien/AI about its intrusive, manipulative, ethical infractions. She compares herself to a dog that is being trained by the AI/alien. (Ellis p. 263, 265) (Hacker p. 268, 271)
    2. She is in an underground facility that is under attack and falling apart because of a flood from a dam. (Ellis p. 268) (Hacker p. 226)
    3. The world is threatened by mass hysteria caused by knowledge of the AI/alien. (Ellis p. 279) (Hacker p. 279)
    4. When she asks why all of this had happened, she is told that her tormentors were just tools of the system as was she. (Ellis p. 304) (Hacker p. 297)
    5. While imprisoned and under threat of having her mind wiped, she is responsible for a horrible car crash in a vehicle that contained a stretcher for an incapacitated person. Then she passes out. (Ellis p. 287) (Hacker p. 158) This is out of sequence.
  22. What’s next? There are 100 pages to go in Ellis’s book and the overlaps with my book must end with page 300 of version 1, unless sequences repeat. Version 2 goes on for 600 pages, but I don’t see any similarity to the second half of that manuscript.
    1. Over the last 100 pages of Ellis’ book, the overlaps with my 300 page book are: she watches someone get executed because of politics, she gets injured, and the alien/AI gives her an explanation for why he had stuck with her for so long. Overall, this reads like a long action sequence from a boring movie I wouldn’t have been able to sit through tacked onto the end of my 300 page book.
    2. The dating and location of Ellis’ prose is jarring and old. It is set in California during the Bush administration and that seems like an odd choice for a twenty something in North Carolina to write about in 2020. She would’ve been just a little kid.
    3. The last thing I noticed was the acknowledgements section. As in all of the 25 software assisted rip off books I’ve studied, the acknowledgements always read like a list of partners in crime or alibis and most of them can’t be found in real life because they used fake names or sock puppet profiles.
    4. In her video she says she pitched a five book series to her publisher and they signed her on for three books. How odd. My book series is five books.
This is the signature of a book that has been constructed by tacking on a longer ending to an unattributed work. The similarities stop at page 300. There are about 100 points in this figure and even if half of them are ruled irrelevant, there would still be a clear signature of copying by way of a software tool. Human copying is much more randomized because no human has the patience to insert details so precisely. This was my first pass through this book and with a second pass the precision and order of the data tends to grow.

There is a repetitive subsequence underlying the detail I’ve recorded and it is threat – injury – escape – hide – submit – destroy – escape … threat – injury – escape – hide – submit – destroy – escape. Despite the existence of this recognizable genre pattern, the 100 methods used to express the pattern shouldn’t be so similar or similarly arranged. Two Christmas trees may look very alike when they are not decorated, but if someone hangs the same ornaments in the same places on two trees, that is a form of copying. Likewise, if a story takes place in 3-D, but it can only be told in 2D, a story will look different when it is told from a slightly different vantage.

As far as the quality of Axiom’s End goes, why there is a market for this alien abduction stuff baffles me. The scenes read like yesterday’s breakfast arranged on a plate according to my story’s template. Some of the rip offs I’ve seen use quite high-quality yesterday’s breakfast, aged like a fine wine or fermented like kimchi and the effect can be quite nice, but my guess is that it is harder to find a good sci-fi database that doesn’t taste stale. The ‘my friend the alien‘ genre has been overdone and whenever someone takes a more unusual approach to sci fi and makes it more conventional, we’re seeing a quality meal mashed up with a fork and drowned in ketchup.

Here is a video of the author making fun of writers and of the writing process. For fun, back in 2015, she and her friends wrote a book in two weeks by outsourcing an outline they wrote to a team of ghostwriters. They must have money to burn. I wonder where they got that idea. How ironic that 5 years later, to create a publishable book, she had to use daddy’s software tool fed with someone else’s book as a detailed template. It turns out that marketable products require a bit more thought and work than just copying from Twilight and adding aliens.

Axiom’s End also borrows a fair amount of material from the movies, Arrival, Men in Black, and Transformers, so it is worth doing the same comparison procedure while using it as a control variable to show how Axiom’s End is my novel with a coating of Arrival paint.

Arrival vs. Axiom’s End

  1. There is an alien presence that arrived in a remote location.
  2. She is the only person who learns how to communicate with it. ***
  3. She works together with a man to decipher the coded language of the alien.
  4. The alien draws pictures.
  5. The alien is part of something larger and humanity has to meet its standards. ***
  6. She gets the government to respect the identity and autonomy of the alien.
  7. She saves the day and is famous. ***

Only the starred points are also in my novel.

This is what happens when an author is influenced by a source. The list of similarities looks completely different when an author is repeatedly mining a source for ‘inspiration’. There is a difference between remembering something you once saw and returning to a resource again and again to copy it. Kids should be taught that this is an important distinction because it is the basis of the plagiarism standards they are supposed to learn in school. It is the basis for their lessons in the importance of integrity and not stealing. Such lessons follow a person throughout their life and will influence their future ethical standards in whatever profession they choose.

I am a bit baffled by the similarity of both my book and Axiom’s End to the Dec 2018 Transformers film Bumblebee.

Bumblebee (Dec 2018) vs. Axiom’s End (Jul 2020)

  1. We learn about a group of rebels that has had their memories taken away.
  2. A young woman in a dead end job has lost her father and has a bad relationship with her mother.
  3. She has a bad relationship with her colleagues and no romantic prospects.
  4. She goes to her house and discovers an alien there.
  5. They become friends and because the alien cannot speak, she becomes its interpreter and defender against the human military.
  6. The alien is part of a group of rebel aliens that are being persecuted by an evil extraterrestrial organization.
  7. She goes to a secret government military base where the rebel alien is being held.
  8. They are threatened with being executed by an evil extraterrestrial organization.
  9. They want to protect the population of Earth from being exterminated.
  10. She meets a military, government agent and an academic who specialize in aliens.
  11. She is pursued by the police when she doesn’t give away her knowledge of the alien.
  12. There is a helicopter escape and a military base is destroyed by a flood from a dam.
  13. She is told to stay away for her safety, but she doesn’t listen.
  14. The rebel alien is going to be executed and she helps him, saving humanity from extermination.
  15. She says goodbye to the alien because he has a larger purpose. They had a quasi romantic relationship.

Bumblebee (Dec 2018) vs. My Adorable Apotheosis (Dec 2017)

  1. A young woman from the countryside has lost her father and has a bad relationship with her mother and stepfather. Her father is gone forever and her name is Charlie/Alix. She feels guilty about not pursuing the life goals that her father wanted for her. She worked in food service/a diner.
  2. She doesn’t like the guy who likes her. His name is Memo/Dodo.
  3. She is confronted with a group of pretty, rich girls who make her feel bad about herself.
  4. She has a school friend named Tina who has a bad boyfriend/husband.
  5. While at work, she has an accident that humiliates her and could get her fired.
  6. To take refuge from this life, she gets a job that brings her in closer contact with machines.
  7. She gets close to a mysterious machine and climbs into a dark, scary space to investigate why it is malfunctioning. In the dark, she sees a face and is startled.
  8. She is afraid of the machine at first but learns to communicate with it and they become friends.
  9. At a high tech government facility, she meets an academic who specializes in communicating with aliens. He is weird and stupid.
  10. She learns about extraterrestrial forces that seek to control humanity.
  11. She meets the military group that seeks to understand aliens and is threatened by them.
  12. She is pursued by the police when she doesn’t give away her knowledge of the alien.
  13. She is in a dramatic car accident.
  14. Her home is destroyed and she fights with her mother.
  15. She is hidden in a trashy environment for her safety.
  16. Her closest friend (an alien) is executed.
  17. The alien machine causes a dam to break and destroy a large government facility.
  18. A dead being is shocked back to life, restoring its memories.
  19. She re-establishes a connection to her absent father by working on a boat/car that he loved.
  20. She says goodbye to the alien/machine. They had a quasi romantic relationship.

This list was just from the Wikipedia summary, and when I saw the movie, I found 50 such plot overlaps — things like *she climbs a crane at night at a construction site*. I can then look back at the earlier Transformers movies and add stars next to the points that were already part of the franchise, but this is an odd level of story overlap.

It is easy to take old material and repackage or re-frame it very quickly these days, so I wouldn’t be surprised if a script doctor was hired to repurpose unused Transformers footage in a gender swapped version of the movie. The script doctor then used my manuscript to craft the female protagonist because a search tool caused it to hit several keywords: flood, machine, girl from countryside. It wouldn’t take long to shoot a few scenes with a green screen and tell a team of programmers put the movie together in a jiffy. Meanwhile, if Axiom’s End copied from the same, My Adorable Apotheosis manuscript Ms. Ellis’ surprise at seeing that her book tracked Bumblebee beat for beat would have an explanation. This is a bit far fetched, but these situations don’t arise due to random occurrences. At the end of the day, I have no knowledge of what went into the production of Bumblebee, but I can say with quantitative certainty that Axiom’s End used a detailed template from my book.

If there wasn’t so much money involved and promotional efforts that launched Axiom’s End onto the NYT bestseller list, I wouldn’t be so sour about all of this. After all, the uniqueness of my book’s story wouldn’t have been diluted by a rip off that got no distribution. I know, I know, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

That is Steven Segal, legendary tough guy.

But this doesn’t feel like flattery.

This is an automated money laundering book theft machine in operation.. led by goodness knows who.

I wonder if Snoop Dog got paid for those candles bearing his face. I also wonder about the picture she placed in the background of a monster assaulting a naked woman. Did she get roped into doing this book by a predatory monster who gets control over people by incriminating them? Or by daddy? Most novelists I know don’t have time to make daily YouTube videos on pop culture.

….

The image in the header is from the movie Arrival.

Categories Criticism, Esoterica, Literature, Technology

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