Posts Tagged ‘ships’

Let’s Look at the Hope’s Redemption

Happy Tuesdays, squiders! Nano continues apace. I’m keeping about a day ahead of where I’m supposed to be, which is actually a little slow, but we do what we can.

Most of the story takes place on a ocean-faring vessel, known as the Hope’s Redemption. This is a bit interesting, having the entirety of the characters stuck in a tiny place that nonetheless has a lot of moving parts. So I also spent a lot of time on developing the ship, since it’s so important to everything going on around it.

Humans have, of course, been sailing for millennium, so that’s a lot of history to pick through. I went into it with a couple of criteria:

  1. The ship needed to be capable of a cross-ocean trip
  2. The ship needed to be relatively big, but not too big (to save on number of characters)
  3. Based on the state of humans in the later years (during the Trilogy) they couldn’t be at the point of the Age of Sail (late 1700s-mid 1800s)

So I settled on modeling the Hope after a carrack, which is a 15th-century sailing ship. It looks a little like this:

Image by Joseolgon

This type of ship was used a lot by European explorers in the late 1400s/early 1500s. It’s designed to be relatively stable and hold a lot of cargo. And it’s not that big, not compared to later ships. A carrack tended to be about 75 feet in length and have a crew of between 40 and 80 people. I went a little smaller, and settled on a crew of 36 (for my own sanity).

(I have 16 or 17 named crew at this point, so we’re about halfway there.)

I’ve added a couple of boats onto the Hope, which I don’t actually know if was standard practice or not, but I can’t imagine you’d want to beach a giant ship every time you find somewhere new. Or wade between the ship and the beach. Also I have read a lot of the Hornblower books and admit they’ve worn off on me to some extent.

The boats are called the Promise and the Dream, because there’s a theme here.

I also made myself some notes about terminology and how things work, so I hopefully vaguely sound like I know what I’m talking about. Here’s a page of that:

Scanned out of my drawing book

Even with my carefully crafted notes, I’ve noticed me messing it up a few times, so, eh, things to consider once the book is written, I suppose.

So, that’s the Hope! And a very good ship is she, though my landlubber narrator isn’t sure, as of yet.

How’s your month going? Thoughts about sailing ships?

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.)

Too Many Books?

My husband and I will soon have a free shelf. You see, it’s currently occupied by a wooden ship model that I inherited from my grandfather, but the ship will soon be moving to a new room that has a nautical theme. So, free shelf.

There’s so many possibilities for a free shelf. Admittedly it’s not very large, but we could put movies on it, or video games, or decorative turtle sculptures. But we might put books on it, even though it’s in the middle of the family room and every other shelf on this particular case is, indeed, filled with movies and video games.

(We are sadly lacking in decorative turtle sculptures.)

We are in desperate need of more book shelf space. We have three six-and-a-half foot tall bookcases that are stuffed to the gills. Additionally, there are books hiding around the rest of the house. I’ve got at least two on my nightstand. There’s a new Orson Scott Card on the kitchen counter, partially concealed by the wine rack. My newest purchase – The Day of the Triffids, found at my local second-hand store – has joined a stack on the buffet in the dining room.

Plus there’s two boxes of books in the basement, and another three and a half wedged in the office between the reading chair and the bookcases.

One might look around and come to the conclusion that we own too many books. I would argue that there’s no such thing as too many books, but that may be semantics.

On the other hand, I may never get through all the books I do own, and maybe we could stand to stop buying more.

(Admittedly, we have so many boxes of books because our mothers recently made us come home and clear out everything from our old rooms. But still.)

I can’t help it, though – I love the things, and I love that each and every one contains a journey inside. Even if I never get to all of them, there’s something about just being surrounded by them.

How about you, Squiders?