Going On The Account: Taking to Space in Ships

I just heard about a new Captain Harlock movie coming in 2012, via WIRED.  Color me interested.

If this isn’t making you smile a little on the inside, I’m assuming you’re not aware of the character:  Harlock is one of the most famous space pirates ever to have his adventures chronicled.  A history of the character at Anime News Network gives some sense as to the long production history and the international reach of his adventures, and provides some sense of the appeal of the character.

Of course, one of the driving memes behind the whole concept is the combination of two strong thematic elements, swashbuckling and space opera.  Which is just me using a few over-priced words to say, “Space pirates are cool!”  And let’s face it, if you like either genre tag separately, getting them both together in one well done property is going to make your day.

And for those of us awaiting this film (which despite being done this time around in CG is apparently getting good notices) who want their buckles swashed in zero-G now, there are some good online tales to keep you happy:

Greyhawk and the Starbucklers of the Caribbean by Mark R. Largent & Mark McCrary

–         I’ve already sung Largent and McCrary’s praises before for their main strip, and can’t say enough good about their strips.  Their space opera was actually done years before their current main project, THE WANNABE PIRATES, and as of this writing there’s a crossover going on between the two.  Apparently, right now at that site, in space everyone can hear you laugh…

Phoebus Krumm by L. Neil Smith and Scott Bieser

–         Probably one of the most unique space-set swashbuckling tales out there.  Because the technology for space travel involves using forcefields to collect solar winds for propulsion, the series feels closer to a traditional pirate tale than most stories set in space.  With the artist who made ODYSSEUS THE REBEL such a delight, this title is worth getting into.

Celeste the Pirate by Lily Mountjoy and Peter Prellwitz

–         The tale here is set in the Caribbean, true, but thanks to Celeste’s trips through the fourth dimension, which in an Einsteinian cosmology allows for the existence of the concept of Space-Time and the movement through same as equitable with deep space travel, I’m giving her a pass…

And if somehow these aren’t going to do it for you, there a handy list of space pirates courtesy of Wikipedia, which like many such lists there is probably incomplete, and in any event not everyone reading it (like me) has had time to experience.  So, if you have any recommendations to offer here, hailing frequencies are open…

Going On The Account: Sightings From Far Off Shore

Some random notes coming to me while I’m away from port (at a place that has a hotspot as warm a Duluth in mid-January, which means you may have trouble hearing from me if you’ve sent e-mail):

  • Back to pirates taking physical goods, word comes of an increase of piracy off Africa’s other coast, with a recent incident off the coast of Nigeria.  Surprised there hasn’t been more such incidents like this as of late…

More than this, I cannot say, at least not quickly enough; connectivity here is like trying to move through the Sargasso.  Please, let the FCC give us all faster Internet connections

Going On The Account: What Business Be It of Yours, Now?

There were two posts recently about the Security Council report on Somali pirates, where their business model was discussed.  The posts at the Atlantic and the UN Dispatch both were written with the (I wish was less common) tone of surprise that those not on station show when looking at the workings of the gangs that ply the Indian Ocean.

The articles pull from the main report (all 110 pages of which can be read online) summarize the business model simply:

  • Pull together your investor pool
  • Venture out for prey
  • Split the shares, with additional allotments going to valued crew members who provide additional service above and beyond the call

And this is news how?  Compare the business plan the UN report detailed with Bartholomew Roberts’ Articles or George Lowther’s Articles and one sees a proud tradition being carried forward.  In fact, these two documents were of great assistance in helping me get into the mindset to come up with Abigail Sanders’ Articles earlier in the novel.

Many crews on the account signed articles to insure that the business of going to sea would run smoothly.  With a ship full of cutthroats, brigands and ne’er-do-wells on station for months on end, something was needed to insure if not shalom bayit then at least an operating environment that guaranteed people who came to work would see something for their efforts.

And if we go further and look at examples of corporate bylaws (like this PDF online) one sees how the Brethren of the Coast can claim lineage of not only the gangs in Puntland, but on Wall Street as well…

Two things we can draw from this:

One, there are lots of folks writing about pirates these days with very little sense of history or understanding as to how closely connected the rovers of both the Golden and Modern Age of Piracy are.

Two, I have to spend a little time after posting this considering what kind or articles Hope is going to have to sail under now.

Either way, I now have an excuse to start muttering to myself again…

Going on the Account: Terms of Endearment

There’s now a movement afoot to stop calling copyright infringers “pirates.” Said Agnete Haaland, the president of the International Actors’ Federation, on the release of a study by TERA Consultants for the International Chamber of Commerce that focused on piracy in Europe’s music, film, television and software industries:

“To me, piracy is something adventurous, it makes you think about Johnny Depp. We all want to be a bit like Johnny Depp. But we’re talking about a criminal act. We’re talking about making it impossible to make a living from what you do.”

Oh.  Kay…