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Random, part VI

Remember that I used to make these entries? I didn't until like a week ago! :D

In my defence, even when I still remembered this was going, I wasn't in a hurry to get to the chapter in which the actual sexual abuse starts. But now that tumblr has reminded me of this gem of a novel, I felt like giving this another shot.

For those who joined us since the last entry (so, since September 2014 basically, oops!) and are wondering what the hell this is, in this series of entries we look at the historical romance novel Ransom by Lee Rowan, which revealed itself to be rather shoddily researched p2p fanfic of the Hornblower (tv movies) fandom featuring purply prose, a love for woobie fanfic tropes scraped from the bottom of the sea biscuit barrel, and dialogue so corny that it wouldn't be too out of place in a porn movie.


Here's where you find the older entries:

Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V



Because it's been so long I have prepared a summary of everything that happened so far and then some:


Davy and Will serve on the HMS Calypso, a British middle-weight frigate in the year of 1799. Calypso has recently been taken into port for repairs after a scuffle with a French merchant convoy. On their way to report to the port Admiral her captain and two said junior officers are kidnapped by pirates and taken on their pirate ship. The pirate captain is seeking to extort ransom from their families for their release. Over the course of the last eleven chapters we learn that the pirate captain like to have sex with the prettier abductees whether they share his views on pirate-captive coupling or not. In other words, he is a massive dickbag.


Let's quickly check in with our characters and what they have been doing up to this point:

Acting Lieutenant David "Davy" Archer, our first protagonist, is the youngest son of a very promiscuous nobleman, in possession of bright blue eyes and sun kissed hair, as well as an impressive basket full of neuroses. He is most definitely not an expy of Arch-ie Kennedy, and used to suffer abuse from his shipmate Correy (who is most definitely not Mr Midshipman Simpson), who in turn was shot by our second protagonist with whom Davy just so happens to be in love despite their being no chemistry between them. So far Davy has done, uh, exactly nothing except being victimised. He also might or might not be a ship's cat. Jury's still out on that.

Lieutenant Will Marshall is our second protagonist. He is the orphaned son of a country parson (because a country doctor would have been too much like in canon), is in possession of dark, curly hair and their captain considers him his star lieutenant. As such he is totally unlike the young Horatio Hornblower and any notions like this should be discarded right away. Will doesn't know that Davy is in love with him, or that he was abused, or that he is currently being abused by the pirate captain. He managed to pick up an adze from when he got locked into a tool shed like any real 80's action hero (let's just ignore this was written during the 2000's, okay?) which they are using to make a hole in the side of the ship through which they hope to escape. A couple of chapters ago he was also subjected to a questionable case of caning by the pirate captain in order to sweeten up Davy to his advances.

Adrian is our villain. As you can no doubt tell from his unique name he is a fearsome pirate who kidnaps ranking naval officers, or their families – the book changed its mind about that at some point – for ransom. Adrian possesses youth and physical vigor. He also rapes people. But his crew doesn't mind, because they'd also rape people when given the chance. Except for like two people who are sickened by what he has planned for Davy because they only approve heterosexual rape directed against women and girls. As you can see this is a novel of high quality drama and taste.

Captain Smith is The Captain of HMS Calypso and basically the best character in this novel, because he cares. He offered to pay everyone's ransom himself right away and is constantly thinking up escape plans that lead nowhere. But he did manage to secure the sympathy of a couple of random pirates in the previous chapters just through the power of his voice. He possesses a lustrous brown mane (no one know whose horse he scalped in order to obtain it), lives in a state of permanent indignation, and is in love with the Royal Navy, who, sadly and for some unfathomable reason, does not love him back and who has since eloped with Nelson.

First Lieutenant Antony Drinkwater has been annoying us with nonsensical entries to the ship's log for the entirety of this sporking and is probably headed for disciplinary measures once Smith gets back. He is also chubby, which caused Adrian to proclaim he had no intention to rape the lieutenant because a large stomach does not become a man, which certainly made Drinkwater feel really bad about his weight.

If you read the last part, you can probably tell that this part is going to be less fun than anything that came before.


When we last discussed the novel Smith had included a secret message on the ransom note that was sent to Drinkwater, giving that log abuser clues pertaining to their whereabouts. Will returned from his exile in the tool shed to the cell he shares with Davy, and Davy has been called to a special meeting with Adrian.


Chapter 12

returns us to the cell in which Captain Smith is being kept. He grumbles about the place not being roomy, which is no wonder, since, as you no doubt recall, Captain Smith is played by a horse.
He paced regardless, diagonally, having set the chair and table in a corner.
They know what they've done.

Nothing much important happens in Smith's portion of the chapter, yet the novel still manages to contradict itself on the same page which is always entertaining.

Here's Captain Smith wondering whether the ransom notes sent to First Lieutenant Drinkwater already reached their destination:
How long the second [letter] took would depend in part on how it was sent; if Adrian put a courier aboard some ship that took it by sea, it should be there already; if overland, it could take much longer.
Or maybe the courier on horseback would've been faster if the winds had been unfavourable. Or maybe the ship would have to round a bit of land that the land courier could just ride across.

But no, Smith just has this sixth sense (it's navy-related of course) that always lets him know how close his ship is, even though it's been established he's no idea where the good ship Recluse is currently anchored in relation to where he left the Calypso – as the book reminds us again just a few paragraphs down the page:
Without knowledge of the ship’s location and course, Smith could only guess at the various possibilities.
A+ continuity!

Captain Smith does a lot of thinking and eventually starts imagining a possible route of escape for when the ship next runs into port to deliver its cargo of gun-powder.
If the sea was calm they would not even need a boat to escape; with small barrels to keep them afloat, they could slip over the side and reach the shore inconspicuously.
As you can possibly imagine a splash and three floating barrels are inconspicuous to any lookout. No self-respecting, pirating seaman would ever investigate such a sight, and even if they did get into a boat to recapture the escapees they'd never catch up to our heroes treading water while holding on to their gently floating barrels.



However, Smith believes the port's population will help them once they reach shore, because even "those along England’s coast who turned a blind eye to smugglers knew His Majesty’s Navy kept them safe from invasion." So we're back to that line of reasoning, are we? I'm actually quite certain that the navy can survive the loss of three officers who nearly lost a frigate to a small convoy of merchantmen pouncing on them.

Smith is fairly sure they'll be able to find Adrian and his ship again in order to deliver him to justice once they escape, because <"i>in his eagerness to demonstrate his power over his prisoners, he had let them see far too much of his ship, which in its own way was at least as individual as one of her crew. Any of them would recognize the configuration of sails, railings, and guns the next time he saw them.</i>"

Because "the configuration of sails, railings (??), and guns" is something that never ever changes in daily shipboard life. Ever. Sail-ships are the most static of vessels.

I would have expected these kinds of thoughts from Arch-er – not the only character who has been shown to be at least somewhat competent. But in his defence, at least Smith is thinking up possible escape plans which is more than can be said of our actual protagonist – to whom we must unfortunately now return. It's most unfortunate because it means we'll be graced by Adrian's style of clever innuendo again.

To be fair, once Adrian tries sweet-talking him over dinner again, Arch-er is granted at least one good line:
“The fact that we are still your ‘guests’ makes it clear that what I prefer is completely irrelevant.”
It's less uplifting once we learn that Arch-er's back-talking reminds Adrian of another captive of his he subjected to repeated gang-rape. I'll spare you the details but as you can probably imagine the character's tone is extremely callous when describing her fate.
I passed her along to the crew; I think they finally threw her overboard.
Just to remind you, this is the behaviour the sympathetic pirate Bert and his friends who want "out" now that Adrian is losing his mind were okay with.
[…] Or the cook spirited her away. She may still be down in the galley, for all I know.
But how do you not know if there's an extra person on board? Is this mysterious "galley" you refer to as spacious as the catacombs beneath the theatre from Phantom of the Opera?

Ah, it's one of these floating manors again!

It is then that Arch-er beings to feel drowsy and Adrian admits to having spiced his wine with "laudanum."
I wanted to make this evening memorable. I want you nice and relaxed.”

According to a quick search the effects of ingesting laudanum include constipation to such a degree that it has been used to treat severe cases of diarrhoea. Yes, I'm sure that's going to relax him.

In an act of defiance Arch-er downs the entire cup. You are going to be in so much trouble, boy. Better avoid eating carbs for a bit.

Adrian makes it clear that he intends to take Arch-er to bed, and might even tie him up a bit, which is unsettling enough, but of course we can't end this chapter without one more pearl from the mouth of Dread Pirate Adrian to set the mood:
“Yes, indeed, it’s time to get you out of uniform. I can see I’m going to enjoy the evening’s amusements, laddie... and so will you.”
No, I will not. And Laddie is what my father’s sheepman calls his colley dog.
Not even Adrian's victim can take his dialogue seriously!

Arch-er takes heart in the fact that Adrian considers him dangerous enough to drug him before he tries anything and the scene mercifully cuts out after this.



Chapter 13



Supplemental Log, HMS Calypso, in for repair, Portsmouth.
Lt. Anthony Drinkwater, in temporary command. 25-7-1799
What else should follow on a rape scene other than Drinkwater's Journal of Nonsense?

So let's hear what wisdom Drinkwater wishes to impart:
We have received a second letter from Captain Smith. I do not reproduce it, as it states simply that they were all alive as of 19-7-99; the fact that he does not add “and well,” and a comment in his secret communication, give me some cause for concern.
Some lines down, in the same log entry:
This letter contained a second secret note, including a sketch of the ship’s deck with mast and gun placement. We will know it when we see it! I here reproduce the letter and the sketch:




I'll include the single line of description Smith gives of the Recluse.
Ship is merchant brig. See sketch/masts. Light arms, at least 4 sm. cannon, prob. bow/stern chasers.

So she's a "merchant brig" with a crew of fifty. Alright. I don't think Smith knows what he's doing any longer either.

In his log Drinkwater also mentions that the pirates require them to fly a specific signal "from Calypso’s sole remaining mast", everything else having been shot away by the fearsome merchant convoy in the beginning of the novel that came upon the frigate so suddenly that they didn't even have time to dismantle the captain's cabin before the mean vessel Fifine and her consorts forced them into battle.

How does Adrian expect the Calypso to meet him in that condition anyway?


After this delightful experience, we return to Will and Davy:
The morning of their tenth day as prisoners looked bright and clear; a sliver of sunlight came through the barred port.
That's just the reader's soul passing on to a better place. It would have been odd imagery for a post-rape morning otherwise.

Will can't sleep and examines the barred gun port he's been trying to widen with his adze.
Marshall’s guess was that this was a former warship that was still seaworthy but no longer structurally sound enough to support cannon recoil.
Which is exactly why Adrian had it fitted out with four cannons.
Davy had tried to help carving at one point "but his arms weren’t quite long enough to reach out, around, and above the bar at the necessary angle", because he's the delicate flower of this pairing.

Finding again that he can't continue sawing throughout the day when the deck is swarming with noisy seaman doing their noisy work, but instead confining his exertions to the night when there's less work on deck that could cover up the sawing noise, Will focuses his attentions on the sleeping Davy instead, who is suffering a nightmare, but calms immediately once will puts a comforting hand on him. Because they're meant for each other.

Davy, of course, told him nothing of what transpired the previous evening, so still in Will's PoV we're treated to our first portion of Why Archer?

Will figures that Adrian focuses his attentions on Arch-er because he's intimidated by Will and Captain Smith:
But Davy... Davy had been unconscious when they arrived; Adrian had probably thought he’d fainted from fright, and like any bully, he went for the first sign of vulnerability like flies to a wound.
This sounds reasonable enough? Only we've already gone over the same argument in Davy's PoV not 20 pages ago.

Will believes that Arch-er will make it through any trauma because he proved such a badass while taking the merchant convoy (which we never saw), but is worried that Arch-er can't fight back against Adrian because it would mean Will gets caned again, which could delay their escape for a day or two, or: [if] "they used a cat-o’nine-tails, as Adrian had threatened, maybe longer."

After you brushed off being caned in a very unsafe fashion, I wouldn't worry about the cat, Will.


But he also worries about him being separated from Davy again as part of the punishment:
Not only would that wreck their best chance for escape, it might endanger Davy, too, if the nightmares grew too noisy and out of control.
Because the pirate's noticing that one of the victims they've kidnapped and kept locked up for days is suffering nightmares is somehow one of their worst problems. But hey, we absolutely need to make up more things that can endanger the woobie, or readers won't get sick of him fast enough— uh, I mean, ah, they won't worry about him enough.

Anyway, the scene is followed by Drinkwater delivering the most important news of the day:
Supplemental Log, HMS Calypso, in for repair, Portsmouth. Lt. Anthony Drinkwater, in temporary command. 26-7-1799
No further news.


We definitely needed to have this information before joining Captain Smith for dinner. He still hasn't seen the remorseful pirate again, but finds something peculiar in his soup:
His spoon clinked against something in the stew. It felt like quite a large object—a chunk of bone, perhaps, or even a rock;
It had been years since he’d had to watch out for such oddities, though; the Calypso’s cook was conscientious about what went to her captain’s table.
Not only can Captain Smith not spot an entire rock in his stew, he apparently also doesn't know about stewards.

Soon we being to wonder just how much stew they served him when upon closer examination the rock turns out to be "a large [!!!], well-worn clasp knife garnished with a couple of split peas, and a slice of carrot stuck in the hinge. "


This is amazing.

Can they hide a machete in a roast?


Since Adrian is away for the day Archer's dinner is a peaceful one for once, and he and Will set on getting some more sawing done that night. For this Will proposes sharpening the adze with the help of his shoe buckles, because it's been a while since the last reminder that this used to be Hornblower fanfic.
For once, there might be an advantage to having economized by getting his shoes made with pinchbeck—cut steel—instead of the more expensive but softer silver.
Or maybe his entire shoe is made out of metal. We just don't know. At least not from this description.


Chapter 14



The special signal for Dread Pirate Adrian isn't going to be flown from the Calypso's single mast after all. Drinkwater has been granted the authority to make the delivery in Fifine, the terrifying merchant vessel that's going to be stuffed to the brim with "seventy-five crewmen from Calypso" and a "special squad of marines to guard the chest that contains" the ransom money. They received special training to guard chests I guess. Chests containing thousands of pounds in small coins so it can be stored in a treasure chest all pirate like.

Don't tell me you don't believe Adrian would demand that!


Back on the recluse poor Arch-er flashes back to the rape in a dream, which would be terrifying and dramatic if the dream weren't, … well:

He was up in the rigging, naked and cold, helpless as a fly in a spider’s web, with the whole crew watching. Will was down there, and the Captain, staring as if they couldn’t believe he would be up here like this. “There, laddie,” Adrian whispered from behind him, “You liked that, didn’t you? You did. Say it.”
He wanted to push the bastard off, wanted to let go himself and fall to the deck, or into the sea. He couldn’t get his hands free, couldn’t move at all. “I’d sooner lie with a rotting corpse,” he spat.
The shrouds shook as someone else climbed up. He barely recognized the face, half-gone and eaten by fishes, but he knew who it was as it came closer, the gaping hole in the center of a ragged shirt, seaweed in the hair.
“Hello, boy.”
Correy. How—?
“That’s a good little whore, come to Georgie...” A skeletal hand reached for him, bones poking out through disintegrating flesh. On the deck below, William turned away in disgust.
He didn't fancy zombie exploitation movies. Captain Smith, however, kept on watching:

The Captain was enjoying himself, tucking into his popcorn. “Reminds me of a theatre production, I saw once in the West End”, he could be heard saying, not realizing William had already gone, “Cannibal Zombie Hotties 3, I believe it was called. Capital production!”


Arch-er is woken from his nightmare by Will and clings to him:
His words were cut off as David’s arms snaked round his bare shoulders, pulling him down.
I still have no idea why anyone would prefer to go to sleep on straw naked rather than in their shirt.

But Will doesn't mind being snuggled out of the blue:
A surge of wild pleasure engulfed him; he found himself holding Davy just as tightly, just as close. It wasn’t exactly passion—more some strange mix of protectiveness and a need he’d never realized, a craving for something tangible in this fearful dark place where all the rules that shaped their world were suspended.
Don't worry Will. It just means you're gay.

Because the zombie dream wasn't distasteful enough, the books gifts us with about five clichés at once!

Some small part of his mind worried over the problem while his body hurled itself eagerly into the maelstrom. Wildfire blazed from his mouth all the way to his toes, kindling a flame in his groin as he felt himself harden. His lips tingled, the sweet hot touch of Davy’s mouth drawing his tongue deep inside—like kissing a girl but nothing like it, no courtesy, no caution, just a blinding urgency, almost the bloodlust of battle.
But he didn’t want to kill Davy or hurt him—God, no, he just wanted to get closer, somehow. He could feel his own blood racing, could sense another pulse through the thin barrier of cloth between them. He had never in his whole lonely life felt so close to another human being, but there was a familiarity about this, as though he knew exactly what to do. It was incredible, glorious, and hovering just out of reach was the tantalizing promise of one tiny bit more, and he wanted it desperately.
I love how we get all of this in what's only half a page: Will's gay awakening; the loneliness and the horror of being locked up finally getting to him; the realisation that he doesn't want to "kill" Davy (which he previously did then?)

But don't worry, Arch-er is fine with this, despite the zombie dream:
Archer was writhing against him now, one hand tangled in his hair, the other arm locked around his waist.


They take off their remaining clothes and get off to some furious metaphors about storms at sea.

When they're both done they share "a gentle, piercingly tender kiss" and Davy kindly says “Thank you”.

Of course it only takes the time it takes Will to clean the spunk off him with the wash bucket for them to both sink into despair and guilt. They apologise to each other, neither knowing what the other should have to apologize for, since this is, after all, still a romance novel.

Will proposes that once they're free he'll resign his commission and turn himself over to the authorities for "assaulting an officer under my command", which, uh, Davy isn't exactly under your command though?

Davy protests, because "that’s a hanging offense", only, uh, not exactly, no. That depends on the assault. Oh, oh. So the book is implying Will would have admitted to engaging in sodomy with Davy? That's different of course. That would get both of you killed. Unless you didn't have penetrative sex, in which case you'd both get dismissed from the service for uncleanly behaviour.


But I digress. Davy is concerned that Will doesn't quite understand how serious a hanging is and tells him so:
“I was eight. My father thought it would be an eye-opening experience. He was right. I didn’t sleep for three days.”
Your dad and Ned Stark would have gotten along splendid.

Davy has a point though:
“They probably would hang us both, for idiocy, if we were fools enough to confess to such a thing.”
They might do that anyway, even you only them the parts of the novel that don't involve sex.

But in his frenzy to save Will from critical stupid, he babbles out Adrian's secret:
“Or I could report that our genial host has been indecently assaulting both of us and you chose to take responsibility for it all. That’s at least closer to the truth, isn’t it?” He stopped in horror, aware of what he’d just revealed.
Will is horrified, of course, but Davy's mind takes leaps and bounds to come to as many wrong conclusions as possible in little time.

Even though Will knows about Arch-er having been raped before and even though they just had sex Davy believes that him doing what Adrian wants to protect Will is going to make Will despise him, which in turn makes Will claim that he himself is not better than the men who have raped Arch-er.

Get used to this trading of guilt. It's here to stay.

But Archer manages to dissuade by pointing out that his past abuser's "only pleasure lay in hurting" and he asks Will whether he was "trying to hurt me?" Well no, Davy, he only considered ripping your throat open when he mistook regular lust for blood lust. That's better. That's just something you're going to have to live with from now on.


Will and Davy eventually resolve that the best course of action is to pretend nothing ever happened between them, but not after almost three more pages of guilt-trading. Now I like that they try to communicate their contradictory feelings clearly, but a wall of text so shortly after, well, everthing doesn't exactly make for a thrilling read that doesn't make you feel like the characters are spinning in circles.

Davy continues this theme of repetition and unusually clearly expressed self-psycho-analysys by pointing out thet he fells like he gets singled out so often, because there's something wrong with him instead of his abusers, before we're treated to another rehash of the Correy/Simpson situation on Davy's old ship as well, leading to this gem, sprung upon us once Davy goes into how there's couples who manage to keep up the masquerade for years for some reason or other, since it bears little relevance to the rest of the conversation:
Oh, Christ, no, Hampton wasn’t after me, Will. I think he had a lover aboard ship.” He had; it had been Captain Cooper himself,
It wouldn't be fanfic without some more random couples. Although I have to admit, Captain Keene/Lt. Eccleston is a new one!

We also learn that Hampton/Eccleston was the one who introduced Davy to the secrets of lube, which is definitely information we needed.

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
failte_aoife
Dec. 22nd, 2015 06:18 pm (UTC)
Noooooo XD Now I feel bad again that my own sporking of horrible gay romances fell under a table where it is rotting and catching dust...

But yay! It continues to be so exiting, in-depth, full of unique characters and it treats serious topics so well.
I like the zombie dream best. And usually I don't even like zombies but those are so much more likeable than any of the other characters in the book.
asthenie_vd
Dec. 22nd, 2015 08:12 pm (UTC)
Oh no, I'm sorry to hear that. I was looking forward to the scene from Irish Winter in which one of them bleeds out from a gunshot wound while they're having sex. You didn't get to that bit, I think? ;___;
failte_aoife
Dec. 22nd, 2015 08:25 pm (UTC)
I...think not. But then I have blocked out just about everything so perhaps I just forgot all about it.

(God...my last entry from that sporking is from...2013...this is not embarrassing at all XD)
questron
Dec. 23rd, 2015 09:38 pm (UTC)
Oh Dear this shit is loooong.... O.o

I got to the barrels and was instantly reminded not of weird Hobbit films but of Star Wars where the Stormtroopers for no reason at all let the escape pod with R2 and 3PO through their screen instead of investing 1.21 gigawatt and blasting it out of existence. Or i don't know... take an intern, put him into a shuttle and let's have him have a look at the "empty" capsule.


Ehhhhh is it just me or does the notion of a "bloodthirsty dangerous pirate" who is up to rapey things but goes on to flirt with his .. victim, even bragging about his cosby juice making it easier for shy&lovely... *shudder*


"Which is exactly why Adrian had it fitted out with four cannons."

Well if you want to pick nits up to eight as Smith also muses about possible chasers which could mean one gun each fore and aft or two of these... But then even 8 guns of dubitable caliber in four different "batteries" are not the same as broadsides of twenty or forty bigger ones. And up on the main deck isn't on the gundeck and...

it's a bit weirdly described but it's not absolute nonsense.

"Supplemental Log, HMS Calypso, in for repair, Portsmouth. Lt. Anthony Drinkwater, in temporary command. 26-7-1799
No further news."

You'd think there was a bit to report about the advance of the repairs, the needed spare parts and whatnot

“They probably would hang us both, for idiocy, if we were fools enough to confess to such a thing.”

If he let them confess such a thing the AUTHOR should be hanged for idiocy.

"We also learn that Hampton/Eccleston was the one who introduced Davy to the secrets of lube, which is definitely information we needed."

Did they perchance miss the memo that explained that secretly ALL navy officers were buttloaders and to just shut up and don't get caught and everything will be fine?
One captain watches in pleasure as his lieuteant gets raped in the tackling, the other teaches middies how to use KY.... must be the Navy the Village People would sing so enthusiastically about and the one Homer Simpson joined in that one episode (He may be a communist spy but... :D)
asthenie_vd
Dec. 24th, 2015 12:16 pm (UTC)
Drinkwater hasn't written anything about the repairs into the log since maybe the second entry. That's the joke! ;)

That's the point tho. Just about every other fact about sailing or the period is worded so damn vague that it could mean anything. The other half is the author just making up numbers and pretending they're realistic.

The author's a woman, btw.


Wow. No need to use slurs.

Edited at 2015-12-24 12:19 pm (UTC)
questron
Dec. 28th, 2015 04:41 am (UTC)
Weird... there seems to be just a shade of enough knowledge about Hornblower to fake the way halfway decently through such a story but not a lick of real interest in the proper workings of ships and battles. Like with the log... there HAS to be a log, everything "one knows" about a story in the age of sail says it must be so, but if you do not know how a log is written and what will end up (like changed course, new admirality orders or in this case how far the progress of repair work on the ship might have already come) in it, that leads to "all quiet on the Western Front"... :(

Sorry didn't know, don't really care, but it might explain some scenes from the "romance" part of this fabrication...

Seemed like a word the sailors would use in this situation.
asthenie_vd
Dec. 28th, 2015 12:03 pm (UTC)
I don't think that's weird at all. This is fanfic. Of course the author knows the show well. Doesn't mean they care about the history beyond the most superficial details necessary to frame the plot.

Loving a show doesn't automatically translate to an interest in the historical setting. If only people who are really into historical details got invested in this show enough to write fic or make art it would never have attracted the size of fandom it did in its heyday (apparently there were zines and everything).

This story is clearly about having a fan-favourite chracter suffer beautifully so the readers can feel sorry for him and root for him to get with his Prince Charming who can comfort him. Nothing much more.

There is a lot of fic in this fandom that has nothing to do with sailing, is land-based even (I'd do the same to be honest. It's just easier that way). It's just that this story is longer than most (the print edition of the novel has 300 pages) and is bold enough to stay out at sea/on ships and therefore has more chances to fuck up and doesn't waste a single of these opportunities.
(Anonymous)
Dec. 28th, 2015 05:23 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you've posted more of this, but I can't help but feel a bit responsible for reminding of you of this book. So, yeah. Sorry. :P

The zombie dream is... summat else, isn't it? I think that was the moment where I finally gave up trying to take this seriously as a drama. I can only imagine it was meant to be horrifying, but I just laughed. I was looking at the author's backlist, and the fact that she's published a short story in which Arch-er is haunted by the ghost of not!Simpson somehow makes it worse. Did the readers really want more of that? D:

Will's gay awakening between one line and the next was bamboozling, coming right out of the blue like that. I know, considering the circumstances, he might have more important things to think about than those Funny Feelings he has for his best friend, but I'd have expected at least a bit of hinting and build-up before we got to the sexytimes. Another hangover from the fanfic version, which didn't translate so well into original fiction?

The guilt-sharing is awful, because it felt like churning out increasingly contrived reasons for our heroes to angst prettily and increase the word count, rather than portraying genuine, affecting reasons for two men in the 18th century to reproach themselves after having sex. Ugh.

Glad I'm not the only one who was brought up short by the Keene/Eccleston mention! The one genuine twist in this book. XD I'd love to know what that was in the original fic. Surely Eccleston/Chadd would've made much more sense. And I'm not just saying that cos that's my random Hornblower OTP or nothin'... ;)

And yeah, Georgie represents my feelings over Mr Bracewater's journal of random nonsense pretty well, too!
asthenie_vd
Jan. 1st, 2016 07:34 pm (UTC)
Don't be sorry. The book is unpleasant, but you've returned my motivation to kill it. The next time someone recs the story to me as the ultimate, best, immaculately researched Hornblower fic, I'll just be able to point and say "nope, here's what's wrong with it, I made a list". XD

I did not know about the short story. *ugh* I guess zombie!not!Simpson is irrelevant to the readers, as long as their woobie cries prettily and flees into the arms of his rescuer?


Yep, some build-up would have been nice, especially since Arch-er had been worrying about what Will might feel if he ever found out for the last couple of chapters. There could have been at least some hints, somewhere in there in Will's PoV chapters that his feelings for Arch-er were different or had changed.

Sadly I can't find the slash version online to check if Keene/Eccleston had ever been a thing (I don't think I know how I'd react to either option XD). It was still readily available via internet-archive two years ago, but I was stupid enough not to download it. The sites that hosted if have since protected themselves against web-crawlers.
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