Friday, October 28, 2011

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

No, really.  No editor would let you get away with it.  I'm reading the entertaining history 1812--The Navy's War by George C. Daughan and I come across this:

"Broke's task force...consisted of...the 64-gun battleship Africa (Captain John Bastard)...."

Fiction writers can sometimes get away with giving characters names that leap out at the reader, like Sabatini's Captain Peter Blood and Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter Death Wimsey, but I would never dare write a novel with Captain Bastard at the helm. "Captain Sinister", yes.  After all, that's Morgan Roberts' nom de guerre.  But Captain Bastard?  Think of the poor men under his command.  Maybe they cracked a smile or sniggered--once--before the floggings began until morale was restored.

"You think your captain's tough?  Ours is a right Bastard!"

Anyway, I'll let y'all know if I run across more interesting tidbits.


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