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NHS England promo video plagiarises dystopian novel from Soviet Russia

Dear NHS England,

I recently watched your video on YouTube (the one about the future of the NHS) and I must congratulate you on a wonderfully quirky animation.

I feel compelled though to write to you as you’ve blatantly plagiarised my late husband’s ideas.

Let me explain. Back in Russia in the 1970s my husband, Mr Strugatsky, worked as a clerk in the local government office. In between stamping things and ticking boxes he found time to write controversial pamphlets, mainly because the act of writing kept his fingers warm. He would later turn one of them into the great science fiction classic Egbot. It was this novella that caused all the trouble for us and forced us to leave our homeland.

His novel begins with the line: ‘There were no men: only eggs, hollow metal eggs ringing with the sound of the future’.

And he goes on to imagine a society in which human beings are reduced to technologically savvy, yet ultimately empty, eggs who are convinced that human interaction and complex decision making can be reduced to the swipe of a screen. The eggs genuinely believe that even illness shouldn’t come in the way of their economic activities and their lives are made so busy and immediate that they even view waiting to see a doctor face to face as a waste of time.

Imagine my surprise then when I saw your promotional video.

Thank you for breathing new life into my late husband’s work and for bringing his ideas to a new generation. I have included an invoice for £250 and I would be grateful if in the future you could forward any royalties on to me.

Kind regards

Mrs Strugatsky

Dr Kevin Hinkley is a GP in Edinburgh