People with post-polio syndrome tend to physically age faster than others.  This is often because of a combination of things, including the fact that the good parts of our bodies had to be abused to compensate for the damaged parts.  I will be 56 in October and I look sixty +.

As much as I hate to admit it, I am running out of both strength and energy rapidly.  It gets harder and harder most days to accomplish what little I do manage.  Both Dagstine and Nicky are aware of this and have been for several years.  So every time I start to get some energy going, and start to get caught up on things, or enjoy a bit of success in my later years, they go after me in a rather savage fashion.

This anthology could well be my last chance at a major strike against both of them.  A strike at the myths they both perpetuate to harm and mislead the vulnerable.

Nicky cannot grasp the fact that just because the titles match does not mean that someone is putting their by-line on his material.  I find that a great many people — no matter how many times you repeat the information — do not understand that titles cannot be copyrighted.  You cannot plagiarize a title or a character name or a raw concept.  If the character name is extremely unique, then there might be some raised eyebrows about it.

For instance, (PERSONAL ANECDOTE WARNING!) my character Isranon Dawnreturning and his ancestor Isranon Dawnhand.  You might get some of those lifted eyebrows if you lifted the names, but unless they were also “genetically altered by arcane means” necromancers  and quasi-vamps,  it would not be plagiarism.

When I was a youngster in the 60s, my aunt taught me to paint with oils.  I had been drawing actively from age six when I would get up in the morning to draw with the Jon Nagi show.  I had perspective and such down pat by the time I was 12.  So at 13, I got formal lessons from both my aunt and a local artist.  The artist’s first name was Roy, but I no longer remember his last name.  Anyways, we have now arrived at Roy and he’s the real topic of this anecdote, not me.

Roy was an amazing copyist.  You could put a picture in front of him and within an hour he would have completely re-created it in oils.  One day, I asked Fran Mobley (why do I remember her name and not Roy’s?), who owned the art shop where Roy taught, what constituted originality in a painting.  Her response was “three major or five significant minor” changes in the picture.  Roy always made his changes last.

So, in the end, what you really have is similar to what works with writing.  If I were someone who liked my concept of the sa’necari (Isranon is one),  and wanted to steal it in some way, where would I start?  The names and the origins of their powers.  That’s two major changes.  The next thing I would probably change would be the cultural milieu.  Three major changes.  At that point, although the concept might be the same, the interpretation has differed significantly and can no longer be called plagiarism.

SNARKY ASIDE: If I had been a smart arse, instead of an eager student, I would have brought in a picture of the Mona Lisa and challenged Roy to copy it (LOL).