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  • In Dear Mr. Henshaw, Angela Badger's books sound very similar to Judy Blume's. (Probably) not coincidentally, Blume is a longtime fan of Beverly Cleary's and was inspired by her to become a children's author.
  • In The Lovesong of Johnny Valentine by Teddy Wayne, Johnny is a stand-in for Justin Bieber.
  • In Beauty Queens, Ladybird Hope is Sarah Palin and Agent Harris is George W. Bush (he even says misunderestimate). Word of God says that Sinjin St. Sinjin is based on David Levithan.
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  • The Devil Wears Prada: The character of Miranda Priestley, editor of Runway magazine, is Vogue editor Anna Wintour with a different name and a scarf instead of sunglasses. In The Film of the Book, the character of Miranda was softened to make her "more realistic", but the decor of her office was still based on that of Wintour.
  • The Destroyer: Roxanne Roug-Elephante is Roseanne Barr.
  • Lois Cook in The Fountainhead is an unflattering caricature of Gertrude Stein.
    • And Henry Cameron, the caustic Modernist architect with a Hair-Trigger Temper who becomes the hero's mentor, is a (relatively positive) take on Frank Lloyd Wright.
    • Speaking of Ayn Rand's works, Atlas Shrugged has Ma Chalmers for Eleanor Roosevelt, Head Of State Thompson for Harry Truman, and Dr. Stadler for Dr. Robert Oppenheimer. (And those are only the ones Rand herself pointed out....)
    • Rand's posthumously published novel and play Ideal have a scene featuring a modern-minded, ultra-theatrical evangelist named Essie Twomey, obviously modeled on Aimee Semple McPherson.
  • Filipino author F. Sionil José likes to do these in his novels:
    • In My Brother, My Executioner, the oligarchic Corrupt Corporate Executive Eduardo Dantes, who owns a newspaper, a bank, an electric company, a shipping line and other diverse interests, is a clear send-up of Eugenio López Sr, the Real Life oligarch whose family controlled (and still controls) a similarly diversified business empire (and who, like Dantes, hailed from the Visayas, in the central Philippines).
    • In The Pretenders, Senator Reyes, with all his posturing about nationalism during the Third Republic, is likely based on the nationalist politician Claro M. Recto, and the American carpetbagger Alfred Dangmount is likely an Expy of a real-life businessman named Harry Stonehill, who was implicated in several high-profile corruption scandals involving the Macapagal administration and other key political figures in the early 1960s.
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  • Charles Bukowski's Hollywood is full of these, ranging from the relatively subtle and well-disguised (Dennis Hopper becomes Mack Austin, David Lynch is Manz Loeb, Mickey Rourke gets rebranded as Jack Blesdoe) to the ludicrously blunt (Jack Kerouac as Mack Derouac anyone? Welsh, Vegas-based singer Tab Jones, perhaps? No? Perhaps you'd prefer Francis Ford Lopolla?).
  • In the Discworld, the Thieves' Guild School teaches Breaking and Decorating as a form of demanding money with menaces. (Pay up, or we'll redecorate your house). The crime involved, which the Guild can facilitate as a special surprise to a person to whom you wish to show the appropriate degree of thoughtful esteem, involves breaking into their house while they are away and then redecorating it in a truly tasteless and appalling style using cheap and nasty materials. The principal tutor is a foppish dandy called Mr Lawrence "Leeky" Llwyddianus-Bonheddwr. He is often assisted by women "with too many teeth and strident voices". This is all suspiciously reminiscent of BBC makeover TV show Changing Rooms. Which was presented by a foppish dandy designer called Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen and a Scottish woman with prominent teeth called Carol Smillie.
  • Doctor Who Expanded Universe
    • The Eighth Doctor Adventures novel The Tomorrow Windows by Jonathan Morris features Prubert Gastridge, a large, shouty, bearded Large Ham actor, best remembered for playing the King of the Buzzardmen in the sci-fi epic Zap Daniel. His signature line was "What do you mean, Daniel's not dead?" Sound familiar?
    • The EDA novel Mad Dogs and Englishmen by Paul Magrs has No Celebrities Were Harmed versions of J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, George Lucas, and Ray Harryhausen. And the actual Noël Coward. Magrs has since used the Smudgelings (his version of the Inklings) in his non-Who work.
    • The short story "The Avant Guardian" by Eddie Robson (in Short Trips: Time Signature) features Flora Millrace, a former companion of the Second Doctor who now uses her advanced knowledge to track time-distortions by means of special music. In order to get the music played over a wide area, she works for the sound department of a London television company, creating unusual soundtracks for science fiction drama. She is, in short, Delia Derbyshire of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.
    • Every. Single. Celebrity in the Doctor Who New Adventures novel Tragedy Day by Gareth Roberts. For example, a boy band called Fancy That.
    • Briefly done for a quick gag in the Doctor Who New Adventures novel Legacy. The Encyclopedia Exposita is The Rough Guide to Federation Tourist Traps written by Krymson LaPlante. At the time of publication, The Rough Guide To... had just become a TV series presented by Magenta Devine.
    • Miriam Walker, umbrella-wielding head of the Moral Watchdogs in the Doctor Who Missing Adventures novel The Time of Your Life is a pastiche of Mary Whitehouse.
    • The New Adventures novel No Future by Paul Cornell features an unnamed BBC producer who has a beard, wears a Hawaiian shirt, and in the course of his few lines manages to hit every catchphrase and cliche associated with the bearded, Hawaiian-shirt-wearing Doctor Who producer John Nathan-Turner.
  • Step on a Crack includes analogues of at least Oprah Winfrey (who exists in the book) and Britney Spears - the latter turns up to a funeral in a mini-skirt and in an attempt to distract a hostage-taker offers him sex, leading to the comment:
    "Wow, you're even dirtier than your videos!"
  • Kim Newman's Diogenes Club series:
    • "You Don't Have To Be Mad..." features a Bedlam House where inmates are taught to focus their insanity in specific ways, the Big Bad believing that madness will be a way of life in The '80s, and his patients will be the leaders. In the asylum they're known by nicknames based on their real names and their particular insanities, including the sociopathic Mrs. Empty (M.T. - Margaret Thatcher); the egomaniac Rumour (Ru-Mur - Rupert Murdoch) and the quiet killer Peace (P.S. - Peter Sutcliffe).
    • "The Serial Murders" parodies the concept with thinly disguised versions of celebrities appearing in a soap opera that is actually a voodoo ritual. When the soap kills the characters, the celebrities are harmed.
    • More significantly, many of Newman's works, such as The Quorum, feature Derek Leech, a monstrous hybrid of Richard Branson and Rupert Murdoch who is also literally The Antichrist.
  • The main character of the short story "On a Clear Day You Can See All the Way to Conspiracy" by Desmond Warzel is a thinly-veiled version of Cleveland radio personality Mike Trivisonno, as acknowledged in the author's commentary following the story.
  • The German cover of Phenomena book 7 has the heroes Alk and Ilke look a lot like Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson for whatever reason. Made worse with all the Actor Shipping that was going on at the time as it would suggest twincest.
  • Primary Colors is a Roman à Clef about the presidential campaign of governor Bill Clinton, with all of the major characters being stand-ins for their real-life counterparts.
  • There is a scene in Swordspoint where Richard and Alec attend a very Shakespearean play. Richard, taking over Alec's customary role as Deadpan Snarker, provides a running commentary regarding a parrot and how long it actually takes someone who has been stabbed to die.
  • Stephen Hunter's novel I, Sniper features a Joanne Flanders and Tom Constable, aka Jane Fonda and Ted Turner. In earlier books, there are references to a Carl Hithcock, based off legendary USMC sniper Carlos Hathcock.
  • The Man in the Ceiling by Jules Feiffer has Uncle Lester, writer of "floperoo" musicals that invariably fail, who seems based on Edwin Lester, the impresario whose productions for the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera were synonymous with "floperetta."
  • Letters Back to Ancient China has one poet whom the narrator calls "Si-gi who only writes during summer". Also a minister who's only mentioned as "demonic southern barbarian".
  • Victorian novelists with Oxford connections were fascinated by the unhappy relationship between Mark Pattison, the Rector of Lincoln College, and his much younger wife, Emilia Francis Strong. Characters based on Pattison crop up in bestsellers like Rhoda Broughton's Belinda, Mrs. Humphry Ward's Robert Elsmere, and (probably) George Eliot's Middlemarch.
  • Howie Carr's debut novel Hard Knocks is replete with these, including slightly altered versions of James 'Whitey' Bulger, disgraced F.B.I. agent John 'Zip' Connolly, and Boston City Councilor Albert 'Dapper' O'Neil.
  • Animorphs 'The Reaction' had a thinly veiled version of Jonathan Taylor Thomas named Jeremy Jason McCole. Joe Bob Fenestre in 'The Warning' could be a lesser extent of this with Bill Gates. K. A. Applegate usually simply used whatever real things she was referencing, even having a cameo by Arnold Schwarzenegger in one book, but these two were the exceptions.
    • They also meet a world leader at the summit in The David trilogy who is almost certainly Boris Yeltsin.
  • The Carl Hiaasen novel Basket Case is all about the suspicious death of a punk-inspired, revolutionary musician and the rise of his angry, sexpot wannabe musician girlfriend.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog in Robotnik's Laboratory has mentions of Schwartzneggbot and Robot Di Nero. There is also a mole (which are known for being almost blind) called Stevie; who is a singer.
  • After the sex abuse allegations about Jimmy Savile were widely aired, Val McDermid admitted the truth of fan suspicions that Jacko Vance, the serial-murdering celebrity in her Tony Hill thrillers (adapted for TV as Wire in the Blood) had been based on Savile. She had interviewed him while working as a journalist and he had not made a good impression.
  • The Rainbow Magic series has quite a few of these.
    • In the "Pop Star" Fairies, there are fairies named Adele (Adele), Jessie (Jessie J), Miley (Miley Cyrus), and Vanessa, Frankie, Rochelle, and Una. They are all from The Saturdays (Vanessa White, Frankie Sandford, Rochelle Wiseman, Una Healy.)
    • In Brooke the Photographer Fairy's book, there is a dress designer called Ella McCauley, a reference to Stella McCartney.
    • The Music Fairies series has "Heddie van Whalen."
  • Ellen Abbott in Gone Girl is a fictional stand-in for Nancy Grace.
  • From Black Tide Rising:
    • In To Sail a Darkling Sea, at one point the team salvages a luxurious yacht belonging to "Mike Mickerberg", the CEO of "Spacebook", recognizes the owner among the zombies, and promptly serves him with a 12 gauge shotgun round.
    • Later in the third book, an entire chapter is devoted to an island resort where several celebrities are encountered, such as "Jerome Arthurson" of the BBC hit show Top Speed, and "Brandon Jeeter", who is described as a "vocalist and every teen girl's heartthrob". Some of the celebrities that turn in that chapter are "Snoopi", who is mentioned several times as being a reality show starlet from New Jersey and "Rebekah Villon", the female lead of the teen phenomenon Midnight.
    • Strands of Sorrow brings us the Vice President of the US, who's clearly the universe's equivalent of Sarah Palin, albeit transplanted from Alaska to Texas.
  • Supposedly, the titular author in Vernon Downs is based on Bret Easton Ellis.
  • In Venus Prime 5, Sir Richard Mays was meant to be a caricature of naturalist Sir David Attenborough, while Luke Lim was based on writer Frank Chin.
  • The protagonist of Fright Knight in the Ghosts of Fear Street series mentions his favorite wrestler, "Hulk Hooligan".
  • How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse has Justin Bieber burning zombies in the background while the main caracter fights one herself. He's constantly referenced throughout the series, as well as other celebrities.
    • Seems like a certain Hawaiian is singing, "The Lazy Song" while leaving the place on a canoe. Poor Duff wanted an autograph.
  • In Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, Gordon Way and WayForward Technologies are thinly-disguised spoofs of Sir Clive Sinclair and Sinclair Research respectively.
  • Pär Lagerkvist's The Dwarf features Master Bernardo, a thinly disguised Leonardo da Vinci. He paints, he dissects cadavers, he designs war machines. He even apparently creates the Mona Lisa (basing it on Princess Teodora) and The Last Supper during his stay with the Prince.
  • Ben Elton's novel Chart Throb features Prince Charles as a major character but he is never named, just called "The Prince of Wales", "The Prince", "Wales", "Sir", and humourously, by himself, "Muggins" and "Buggerlugs". Camilla also appears, referred to solely as "His Wife".
    • Similarly, Prince Harry appears (by name) in John Birmingham's Axis of Time cycle. His character is from 20 Minutes into the Future and has become a badass military officer - Harry himself (who is pursuing a military career in Real Life) would probably approve of the portrayal.
  • In Gail Carson Levine's Princess Sonora and the Long Sleep, while the story is clearly based on Sleeping Beauty, the eponymous princess seems to be in many ways, a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of, of all people Aristotle.
  • Seveneves has Doob Harris for Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Sean Probst for Elon Musk, and Camila for Malala Yousafzai.
  • Shortly after withdrawing his two contributions to The Last Dangerous Visions, Russell Bates claimed to be writing "The Lurker in the House at the Center of Infinity", a story about a vampiric sf writer named Elias Halloran, who feeds on the creativity of other authors by tricking them into submitting stories to an sf anthology that will never be published. His announcement included the Suspiciously Specific Denial that "Unscramble 'Elias Halloran' and you cannot make anyone else's known and existing name from it."
  • Curt MacCrae from Fat Kid Rules the World is a reference to Kurt Cobain from Nirvana. Word of God is that some of the inspiration for Curt was Kurt Cobain. Curt is a young punk rocker and is a local celebrity for his skills.
  • Anthony Trollope's Palliser novels include characters modeled on several famous politicians of the period, including Benjamin Disraeli and William Gladstone.
  • Karamzinov in Demons by Fyodor Dostoevsky is widely seen as a caricature on fellow writer, Ivan Turgenev.
  • The Sympathizer has a chapter re the main character meets a film director known only as "The Auteur" who is a very thinly veiled version of Francis Ford Coppola working on an unnamed project that is suspiciously like Apocalypse Now.
  • Emberverse features a red-haired musician who plays the guitar, fiddle, and bodhran. Her name is "Juniper Mackenzie". She uses songs lifted from her inspiration Alexander James Adams (then known as "Heather Alexander").
  • The Jack Ryan universe has indulged in this a few times:
    • Though initially introduced as a generic Soviet leader, Andrey Narmonov quickly becomes the series' stand-in for Mikhail Gorbachev, a pragmatic reformist who takes the USSR through glasnost and perestrokia, and who makes conservative elements of the Communist Party uncomfortable enough for some of them to plot his overthrow.
    • In Clear and Present Danger, Ernesto Escobedo serves as the in-universe version of Pablo Escobar - an extremely powerful Colombian drug lord who's the leader, or at least first-among-equals, of the Medellin Cartel (in addition to having a very similar last name).
    • On a more minor note, Debt Of Honor gives us Mohammed Abdul Corp, an East African warlord who was recently responsible for the deaths of twenty U.S. Army Rangers in the context of a UN-led peacekeeping operation. In other words, Somali warlord Mohammed Farrah Aidid.
    • In the later novels, Saif Rahman Yasin and his Ummayad Revolutionary Council take on the role of Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda. Yasin shares Bin Laden's title, "the Emir," and is even responsible in-universe for the 9/11 attacks.
    • The series also averts this fairly often, however, by either referring to real-life political leaders (Fidel Castro, Muammar Qaddafi) or by using characters who are never named but whose identity is obvious to the reader all the same (Saddam Hussein, various members of the British royal family).
  • The Citizen Series does this with Allen Allenson, who is based on George Washington and acts out his role in the French and Indian War and The American Revolution. Which includes the fact that Washington didn't actually win very many major battles but excelled at motivating his men and keeping his army intact.
  • Presidential candidates Skip and Harry in The Candidates (based on a true country) bear a strong albeit unflattering resemblance to George W. Bush and Al Gore, respectively.
  • Jane Austen was not a fan of the Prince Regent (the future George IV) and had several characters who sent him up. There was the portly, rich, and brainless Mr. Rushworth from Mansfield Park, the haughty and heartily disliked Mrs. Elton in Emma, and the egotistical and irritating Robert Ferrars in Sense and Sensibility. A key feature of these characters is their obsession with pointless and expensive renovation and construction projects, a habit of Prinny's that routinely inconvenienced the general public.
  • In Robert Mc Closkey's Centerburg Tales Mr. Gabby and his partner Max announce that they're on their way to Hollywood to get "Buster Buyseps" (the in-universe Buster Crabbe) to endorse a new waterproof cereal called Vimmy-Swimmys.
  • In Robert Harris's 2016 novel Conclave, the election of a new Catholic Pope which forms the bedrock of the plot is triggered by the death of a Pontiff who was famous for his humility, lived in the Casa Santa Marthae rather than the Apostolic Palace, took public transport around Rome, and saw himself as "an old sinner, no better than you". This Pope was apparently from the liberal wing of the Catholic Church, made enemies of the conservatives with his views on religious tolerance and communion for the divorced, and was beloved by billions both inside and outside of the Church for his progressiveness and humanity. But according to Harris, this was a "fictional pope" and not Francis. Sure ...
  • John Niven's Kill Your Friends: A satire of the music industry with many examples, such as the Songbirds representing all the Follow the Leader girl groups that appeared in the wake of The Spice Girls. The sequel, Kill 'Em All, features a weird, incredibly famous singer who lives in a private amusement park called Narnia. The rumours of child abuse turn out to be absolutely true.
  • Isaac Asimov's "Kid Stuff": Jan Prentiss sends in stories to editor Horace W. Browne instead of Horace Gold (the editor who published this story).


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