Going on the Account: Bretheren of the Vacuum

Got word tonight about an article in VARIETY regarding a new version of the Sabatini classic CAPTAIN BLOOD, a classic pirate story.

But this time, set in space.

I’m actually pretty good with this.  Pirates in space have been a staple in our culture since at least Captain Harlock (and probably a lot earlier than this), so hearing that they want to redo a swashbuckler in space makes a lot of sense.  You could probably make an argument that STAR WARS was a swashbuckler property, though I’d advise not doing that among the crowd that remember that the first movie (or fourth, if you’re under 25) was based on Kurosawa’s THE HIDDEN FORTRESS…

My main issue about this (which is spoken well before the first frame is shot by WB, so take it for what it’s worth) is the idea that combat in space would be anything akin to what one saw in the Golden Age of Piracy.  While I can understand the desire to recreate the excitement of being on the quarterdeck as the broadside goes off in an alternative environment (which we can thank Gene Roddenberry for, having stated plainly that the Horatio Hornblower books were a major influence on STAR TREK), I have to imagine that combat in space may not end up being the equivalent of what was seen on the Carib in the 1600s.

I rather imagine that when we do start fighting wars in space, it would look a lot less like PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN and more like RUN  SILENT, RUN DEEP.  Ships meant for combat for such theater would most likely have to be re-enforced, maximizing space like a submarine to allow them to take any serious damage while putting their weapons platforms forward to engage.

Mind you, if you haven’t seen RUN SILENT, RUN DEEP, which may be one of the best submarines at war movies ever made, you may want to do yourself a favor.  And frankly, the main meat of piracy, whether you use 12-pounders with black powder, RPG-7s discarded in your country after the Sovitet Union fell apart, or 12.7gW Zenon lasers to disable your prey, is still the same:  disable the enemy, snatch-and-grab the cargo, and haul butt!

All in all, this may be worth our time.  As the folks at io9 pointed out, this is all good in the aggregate.  And anything that draws people to even a reflection of Sabatini’s work can’t be dissed that badly…

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Filed under Fiction, Pirates

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