So it looks like James Cameron’s stunningly successful film has borrowed its key ideas from those Russian science fiction giants, Boris and Arkady Strugatsky. The Strugatskys have been long-time favourites of mine (I have all their novels) and I wrote a chapter on them in Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door. Cameron has apparently borrowed key ideas from a series of novels by the Strugatskys which were later called The Noon Universe. A few overlaps:
Name of planet: the green and lush Pandora
Name of humanoids: Na’vi in Avatar, Nave in the Strugatskys.
Temporal setting: 22nd century.
But Cameron is a subtle operator, since he decided to change the inhabitants from dog-like creatures to more cat-like ones. And the hero who visits is a marine with the name of Jake Sully instead of the biologist Mikhail Sidorov – but that would be a little too much of a giveaway.
It might be said that Cameron hasn’t had a good idea that he didn’t read somewhere else.
Novels in the Noon Universe series:
Noon: 22nd Century
Hard to be a God
Disquiet -> Snail on the Slope
Prisoners of Power
The Kid from Hell
Beetle in the Anthill
The Time Wanderers