A TASMANIAN author has written to the makers of the blockbuster movie hit The Matrix to point out remarkable similarities between one of his books and their script.
But the softly spoken Hobart school principal and church pastor Philip Weeks is quick to point out that similarities between his book The Protector and The Matrix may just be a coincidence.
Mr Weeks, principal of the Tasmanian Christian Academy at Geilston Bay, believes The Matrix creators may have “borrowed” his ideas.
“I’m just asking the question — I don’t want to slander anyone or anything,” Mr Weeks said.
Mr Weeks says the plot of The Protector is similar to The Matrix.
“It is not just me that thinks so, others do too,” Mr Weeks said.
“For instance, a uni student recently came up to me in a bookshop and asked what I thought of the makers of The Matrix ‘ripping off my ideas’ as he put it.”
Mr Weeks says he can show that the first chapter of The Protector was published on the Internet years before the first Matrix film was released.
He has contacted the producers of The Matrix to express his concerns. What he does next will depend on their response.
“It could be more than just a coincidence. If so, I would have liked to have received a call to ask my permission or give me credit and acknowledgement,” Mr Weeks said.
“Of course a royalty would have been handy, too.”
Mr Weeks concedes that though this may be a coincidence, the basic concepts seem all too familiar.
In the early 1980s author William Gibson coined the term the Matrix which is the Internet of the future where people are totally immersed in virtual reality.
Instead of watching it on the computer screen, people have a sensory interface implanted in their brain, so they see hear, smell and touch everything out there on the Net.
In The Protector the hero has his brain wiped by a corporation and believes he is living in the real world when in fact he is living in the Matrix.
In The Matrix, the whole of society is living in the Matrix in the belief they are living in the real world.
Both stories have a father figure who offers an escape from the Matrix.
“It seems that the makers of the Matrix may have adapted my idea on a larger scale,” Mr Weeks said.
He has been writing since 1991.
The Protector was published in 1994 in part as short stories by the Sydney-based digital computer magazine Megadisc.
It also featured in a British sci-fi disc magazine, The Quatermass Experiment, in 1995. Both appeared under the pen name of Stewart Wochen.
Since 1996 the first chapter appeared on the Internet as a sample of the completed novel available for sale on disk, some three years before the release of The Matrix film.
The entire novel was released in 2000 in paperback.
He has since had more books published and is writing further on similar themes.
“At the time of the first film The Matrix, even though I was somewhat surprised by the similarities, I was not enjoying good health. Therefore I could do nothing at the time.
“Now, however, it is time to follow up on my concerns.
“I have e-mailed the film producers, Warner Brothers, and asked for an explanation.
“It is fairly obvious to a number of people who have contacted me that the basic film concept was the same as mine portrayed in my book.
“My idea definitely has had plenty of previous exposure.
“In fact I have been so concerned that people would think that it was I who copied from the story and not possibly the other way round, that I have adopted the marketing slogan, ‘Before The Matrix there was The Protector’.”
“What I do after receiving a response from the producers — and I will be very interested to see what, if any, response I do get — then it will be a matter of judgment for me.
“But I am somewhat more than just concerned, I am wondering if the similarities are more than just coincidental.”
Source: The Mercury