(a Lovecraftian pirate romance)
This is the story of a pirate and a creature of the deep, in something that might be called love by one who wanted to put it in ill-fitting terms for their own ease of understanding.
(Actually, this is a preface, because I’m a writer, and we love nothing more than to talk about ourselves and our work. We’re also rarely more tiresome than when so doing, so please feel free to skip ahead to the first chapter.)
Inasmuch as this story is anything easily described, it is a Lovecraftian pirate romance. And what does that mean? God knows. But here, let me try:
It is Lovecraftian in that I borrow from “the Sage of Providence” a slight tinge of color to the prose, and a landscape surfeited with thrilling monsters—that latter word, by the way, denoting not merely or even mainly horrors, but rather omens and wonders and wellsprings of knowledge, ready to share themselves with all who are interested.
Everything else about this story, were the man alive to read it, would turn him green with nausea, or red with apoplexy, or possibly both at once. I believe that means I’m doing something right.
It is piratical in that I set it aboard a quarterdeck sloop-of-war, a privateer taking prizes under letter of marque.
I should note that, as of this story’s writing, I had no familiarity whatsoever with the tropes and commonplaces of the Age-of-Sail genre, which I had not then discovered. I don’t think I did a terrible job with the setting, but I’m sure I goofed a bunch of small things, and if you’re able to spot them, I’d be obliged to you for letting me know about them.
And it is romantic in that…well, you’ll see.
On that last note, this story is far from chaste. Indeed, it is unabashedly erotic, at great length and in extensive detail.
If you find you’re not really here for this after all, I’ll rely on you to police your own boundaries, and to stop reading early on, before you get to the stuff that’s really going to discomfit you. It’s a slow burn; you’ll have plenty of time.
If you find you are really here for this, then: welcome! And enjoy, I hope. And if you care to offer critique, please by all means do so! My contact info is at the bottom of every page on this site, and I’ll be delighted to hear from you there.
The story has its origin in a game shared early in 2018, via chat, between myself and someone whom I know only as Friendly Pseudopod. Initially this game was intended to be interactive interactive fiction, hence the second-person presentation, but it worked out somewhat differently.
The game, as we played it, was simple: Friendly Pseudopod would provide a prompt, and I would write an update to the story, incorporating the prompt and turning in whatever direction I fancied from there. We played this way for the first few chapters; in their presentation here, Friendly Pseudopod’s prompts, italicized, head the chapter which they prompted, as the very first such prompt heads this preface.
After a little while, though, the prompts ceased to be forthcoming, and when I asked why this should be, Friendly Pseudopod’s answer was that they saw little further need to influence the course of the story, but were content—indeed, well pleased—simply to enjoy further developments as they occurred, participating to no greater extent than any other member of the small audience there.
Our paths have diverged since then, but I still owe Friendly Pseudopod a great debt of gratitude. Without them, this story would not have come into being; without them, I might very well never, after decades of quietude, have begun with determination to write again.
Wherever you may be, Friendly Pseudopod, and more sincerely than I can find words to express—thank you.
As I write this preface, early in 2019, I feel myself bound to note that, while I don’t really know what I’m doing as a writer of fiction now, I really didn’t know what I was doing as a writer of fiction then. That shows, I think, as does the fact that I’d never even attempted, much less completed, anything of such size or scope. But for all that the story is very rough in places—I’ve had a complete redraft on my list of things to do since I finished it—for all that it is little more than a sustained effort at eucatastrophe that, ultimately, probably doesn’t come off, I think it is not wholly without merit as it stands, and so I present it here.