Maybe that Mary Sue comparison is even more apt
Granted, I’m not totally buying John Sutherland’s argument that HANNIBAL RISING owes a lot to the fanfic that came before the finished book, but it’s an entertaining piece nonetheless:
As the row broke out about Ian McEwan ‘borrowing’
chunks of Lucilla Andrews’s autobiography for his novel Atonement, a
long-awaited bestseller was published. You’re interested in plagiarism?
Compare the opening of Thomas Harris’s Hannibal Rising with the opening
of another novel, by another hand, published three years earlier: ‘The
door to Dr Hannibal Lecter’s memory palace is in the darkness at the
center of his mind and it has a latch that can be found by touch alone.
This curious portal opens on immense and well-lit spaces, early
baroque, and corridors and chambers rivalling in number those of the
Topkapi Museum. Everywhere there are exhibits, well-spaced and lighted,
each keyed to memories that lead to other memories in geometric
progression … Pleas and screaming fill some places on the grounds where
Hannibal himself cannot go.’
The second story
begins: ‘He often sits, as he is now, on the bed with his head against
the wall, eyes closed, head tilted back and his mind wandering. Yes,
wandering – wandering down the halls of what he fervently calls his
Mind Palace. It is a wonderful place secret to all but him … His Mind
Palace is large, divided into many rooms, each containing his most
vivid memories. Towards the center of the Palace is where his thoughts
reside most of the time … In this stronghold, he can visit his
favourite operas and wineries … In the outer circle of the Palace is
where his most painful memories reside … lost cries come from behind
the walls pleading for mercy while mournful voices beg for forgiveness
Who wrote this second passage? We don’t know. It’s by ‘Blythebee’ on a fanfic site,
along with a multitude of other Hannibalistic Homage. The similarities
(too extensive to quote here) continue, paragraph after paragraph. Does Thomas Harris read ‘his’ fanfic? Who knows. It may be that Happy
Bee just struck lucky and came up with an eerily similar overture.
Or more indicative that Harris’s style has so completely devolved into self-parody that fanfic versions actually sound better.