Let me start by saying I AM NOT ACCUSING ANYBODY OF PLAGIARISM! Got it? Good.
Hubby was reading aloud to five-year-old from an Animorphs book (hey, I’m raising boys, OK? At least it wasn’t Goosebumps) and came across this passage:
If the Yeerks had a “Most Wanted” list, we would top it. . . . Maybe they’d do what they’ve done to so many humans: crawl into our heads and take over our brains. Make us Controllers.
A Controller is someone enslaved by a Yeerk, and they’re everywhere. They’re people you know. People you trust. . . . All walking around like they’re perfectly normal. . . . And once you’re in, . . . you walk and talk the same. You have the same memories. You still chew gum in class and toss Brussels sprouts back into the serving bowl when you think your mother isn’t looking.
Only it isn’t you doing any of it. The real you is caged up inside your head, helpless, screaming silently at the Yeerk slug holding you hostage.
I’m not saying that Ms. M. copied the idea. I doubt she’s ever read Animorphs. I’m just saying that her idea, which was so cool to read about, is a sort of universal theme. Possession. I’ve read other sci-fi books with the same theme, seen made-for-TV movies with the same theme (or am I thinking of V? Does anyone remember V? All I remember is someone tipping her head back, unlocking her jaw and swallowing a rat whole). Just because the idea wasn’t original to Ms. Meyer doesn’t make her book less interesting to read. Which is good for me to realize because I tend, when brainstorming ideas for my own book, to automatically dismiss any ideas that I think have been done before in any variation at all. I don’t think I should be so scared of telling old stories in a fresh way.
It’s interesting to me to think about why this idea of possession is so fascinating to people. For me, it’s even more fascinating that it used to be, now that I have spent some time in a body that is foreign to me sometimes, one that I definitely don’t want to be judged over. (How much of my personality now is due to the struggle I’ve had with my body? How much irritability, fatigue, lack of motivation is ME, the spirit inside my body, and how much is due to the chemicals racing around in here over which I have no control?)