On WAMC, the local NPR radio station, this afternoon, a call-in show giving advice to would-be authors from two mostly helpful and well-informed local published writers. Someone calls in with this question: "I just finished a novel, and somebody tells me something with a similar name and theme has already been published. My book is called 'On The Road,' and it's about two guys named Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty who travel around the US."
Published authors: "Wasn't that book by Jack Kerouac called something like that? Well, there are lots of books about two characters travelling around -- they're called picaresque novels. So yours should be OK. But you should probably change the title."