The Allure of a Good Sea Yarn (And Why the High Seas are Like Space Travel)

I think I’ve mentioned before, Squiders, that I don’t really like historical fiction. It’s my least favorite genre. That’s not to say that it can’t be well done, and, indeed, I have read some very good historical fiction in my time (Pillars of the Earth is one of the best books I have ever had the privilege to read), but, in general, it rubs me the wrong way and I tend to avoid it.

That being said, in the last few years I’ve discovered that there is a particular subgenre that does appeal to me, and it is that of high seas adventure. Apparently all I need to float my boat, pun intended, is a well-researched story that takes place on a tall-mast ship, whether the ship is navy or merchant or pirate.

I suspect these stories appeal to me because they have direct correlation to science fiction (or, more likely, science fiction has direct correlation to them. It is probably arguable as to which came first, because some of those early creation stories and mythology have some very interesting and unexpected allusions.).

A lot of military science fiction is directly based off the Navy, after all. Even Star Trek is. It makes sense, after all. When you look at the armed forces, which has the most experience living for months/years at a time in a craft that spends most of its time in an inhospitable environment that could kill you if you stepped outside? I like to think of living on a starship as the space-equivalent of living on a submarine.

Anyway, the books tend to have a lot of tropes that cross over to science fiction, such as exploration, dealing with new cultures/animals/places, battles against dangerous enemies in an unforgiving environment, having to work together to survive, etc. And I suspect part of me appreciates all the technical terms. Sure, a mizzen-mast is a real thing where a flux capacitor is not, but they both trigger the same technobabble part of the brain.

What do you think, Squiders? Am I way off mark?

(Also, do you have any books to recommend? I am slowly making my way through the Hornblower series and I like them rather a lot.)

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