Saturday, August 28, 2010

Textual Dopplegangers

I'm sure most of us have "googlegangers," people who have the same name as us that we discover when we put our own names through a Google search. I'm not on Facebook, but I assume that the effect is even more prevalent and dramatically rendered searching names there. I've discovered there are a few other artists working under the name Stephen Cain, including several writers (the two most prominent being British genre-writers), a U.K. television actor, and several photographers (my biggest nemesis being an Californian "erotic"? "boudoir"? "cheesecake"? photographer), but I've only found one example of what I'd call a "textual doppleganger": a fictional character with the same name as you. The one that comes up in Google searches is Steven Cain, the villain from Paul Griner's 1999 suspense novel The Collectors.

Since we're dealing with Google-searches, here's Google Books' description of the novel:

At a wedding for a childhood friend, young-professional Jean Duprez, strong, self-confident but with a dark past, meets the magnetic, charming and aloof Steven Cain. The two begin an intense, obsessive affair. After an enticing afternoon on Steven's sailboat, Steven shuts a car door on Jean's hand. Intentionally? Unsure, and unable to resist Steven's charms, Jean remains fascinated. As the novel spirals to its final, shocking conclusion, we can only watch with horror and curiosity as Jean becomes ensared in Steven's sinister designs.

Of course Jean, the heroine, should have immediately realized that Steven Cain is evil by the spelling of his name alone. The rule of thumb is always: "ph" Stephens good; "v" Stevens bad. (Exceptions: Steven Heighton and Steven Hayward are good guys).

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