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QUESTION:

Did you have to get permission from Ursula K Le Guin in using the idea of or the term "ansible" in your books? Having read the Le Guin. book, (something about utopia) I noticed that the book wasn't all that concerned with the idea of instantaneous communication. But does that mean that any writer can use it in their writings or is permission from the author required?

-- Submitted Anonymously

OSC REPLIES: - August 3, 2001

I did not have to get permission to us "ansible." Instead, I simply gave her credit at every opportunity. She coined the word and put it into the language -- that means the rest of us get to use it <grin>. It's a different matter with character names and book titles -- possible trademarking issues -- but with "ansible," since she isn't building and marketing them under that name, my using her word simply helped to move the word from fiction into the language. Which is what we all hope for (a la Karol Capek with the word "robot").

In other words, if you name a character Ender Wiggin, we'd have a problem -- but if you use the words I coined -- like "raman" or "aiua" -- then I would merely feel honored, and permission is not required. <grin>

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