Sunday, March 09, 2008

Hellstrom Voyage Chapter 6: Isle of the Near-Men

Chapter 6.

3 comments:

Masada said...

Chapter 6:
The Captain and the Major race off in to the jungle to save the inexperienced landing party. We see a bit more of a partnership between the two.

The Captain continues to defy definition. The dialog based description leaves the reader to form assumptions and stereotypes, but the character continues to stubbornly resist being a stereotypical ship captain. This is shown again when the duo catch up to the "near-men" to discover the ship doctor already slaughtered, gutted and set on to cook. The generally strategically sound Captain appears to fly in to a rage and is ready to go full frontal assault on the natives. We don't get to see this attack as the scene cuts back to the beachhead where the young "windsman" is attempting unsuccessfully to command the marines and crew.

Miss Theodora discovers some "inner fire" and fries a crewman with a lightning bolt. She then summon a gale to blast back the unruly crew. She herself is surprised at the new found ability. The crew decides fighting the near-men is a better idea that instant charred death. Bummer to be a conscript on the Constant so far...

Chuck said...

RE being a conscript, one of my most genuine sympathies toward the age of sail is the idea of men conscripted into floating prisons, often for no good reason.

For example, say Columbus is sailing to the new world and rescues a foundering sea vessel, the men on that ship are now part of his crew, perhaps for years, while their families think they drowned at sea.

It was a very sucky situation.

Of course, being on the constant might just be even worse, what with magic and monsters and all.

Chuck said...

RE Captain Hellstrom, he's a military man.

British ship captains were expected to be "brave", which is a trait that would translate as suicidal for most of us today.

If a British ship captain was outgunned three to one and retreated, he faced the very real prospect of being executed for "cowardice".

In thinking about the type of man that would excel in that environment, along with a lot of reading about Admiral Nelson, I decided to make a murderous temper be a core component of the captain's character.

He is for the most part dutiful, even friendly, but there's a serious dark side there.

Of course, do I need to add that Captain Kirk is something of a model for this?

Although the idea of marrying historical fiction of the age of sail with pulp fantasy is and remains the "mission statement" of Hellstrom Voyage, I have come to recognize plenty of Trek influences as well, in terms of a military vessel on its own, but doing science.

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