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Deb Geisler
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Deb Geisler [userpic]
About that Pirate thing...

I offer this little poll. Check off as many as seem appropriate. Please feel free to suggest additional names in the comments.

Poll #1149613 Piratical Writers

Which of the following science fiction writers are really defrocked pirates living in the wrong century?

Charles Stross
Neil Gaiman
John Scalzi
China Miéville
Robert Silverberg
Connie Willis
George R.R. Martin
Joel Rosenberg
Steven Brust
Michael Swanwick
Elizabeth Moon
Terry Pratchett
Ken MacLeod


Your voters are idiots. Neil is in no way a pirate. He's a very nice man and in the seventeenth or eighteenth century he'd have been a very nice man, much too nice to be a pirate.

Ken MacLeod, Charlie Stross, now those guy would have been pirates.

Aside from China Miéville, who I've met once and never been introduced to (so can't really form an opinion), I think all of the men and women on that list are very nice people. (I never poke at people I dislike.)

Edited at 2008-03-06 11:39 am (UTC)

I think I tripped on my own left-handed irony. I didn't mean to imply that any of these people are un-nice, only that some of them are folks who I can actually imagine being lawbreaking freebooters in a different life, and some of them definitely aren't. No moral judgement is implied, only my own sense that Neil, for all his leather jackets and sunglasses-after-dark, is actually a mild-mannered kindly country gentleman at heart.

I think I tripped on my own left-handed irony.

We perhaps tripped over each other...I didn't want anyone (especially the folks whose names appear here) to think they were on the list 'cuz they were creepy or un-nice (exactly the reverse).

Neil, for all his leather jackets and sunglasses-after-dark, is actually a mild-mannered kindly country gentleman at heart.

He strikes me the same way...a gentle man, in all senses. (I just think he'd look pretty good in the right pirate suit.)

So you are saying more of a privateer than a pirate?

i'm sure jean bart was a nice guy. at least, (the sadly absent) neal stephenson would have me believe so!

China is also an exceedingly nice man. However I think the redistribution of wealth and collective decision-making process of Golden Age piracy might appeal to his politics.

Walter Jon Williams is definitely a Pirate .. well, a Privateer, actually.

Robert Rankin, Richard Morgan (he's even got the name).

How did Jay Lake miss the first cut for this list?

Well, I've never actually met him...and the list is populated with those people. :-)

Maybe there'll be a second round.
I was looking for Elizabeth Bearrrrr

[Thinking of recent convention guests, I can *so* picture both Bruce Coville and Tammy Pierce as pirates...]

The late Bob Tucker. PIRATE.

Definitely Jay Lake should be in this. Total pirate.

Charlie Stross is definitely a pirate, and I'm not even sure about the defrocked part. However, Elizabeth Moon would more likely be hunting the pirates down on Her Majesty's behalf.

Re: Elizabeth Moon

I second this vote. Call for the question, or shall we debate further?

I had to go with Robert Silverberg, he's the only one I've met so the only one I can form a true opinion of.

Looking like pirates

Sorry, I guess I don't belong here. I am not shallow enough to judge people by their looks.

Re: Looking like pirates

How pure and wonderful of you. Run along, now, and let us have fun being shallow.

Hi there. I'm here by way of The Whatever. This might just be the best poll I've seen all week.

I have to agree with Patrick, though-- Neil is way too nice a guy to be a pirate. If he was a pirate, he'd be the sort who was forced into piracy for some entirely noble reason, like True Love or the welfare of a loyal pet. Like Carey Elwes. Actually, now that I think about it, he could very well be a pirate if he were like the real Dread Pirate Roberts. Bartholomew "Black Bart" Roberts preferred tea to rum and held his crew to a code that included Sunday leave for musicians and a pension for injured crew-members. He also apparently robbed people rather politely, at least by piratical standards.

Even if we're going by looks alone, though, Neil looks so much like a writer that I'm pretty sure he'd still be writerish in a frock coat and cravat. He'd go to rob people and they'd swarm him for autographs and ask where he gets his ideas.

I also have to concur with the assessment that Elizabeth Moon would be more likely to be a privateer or pirate-hunter than a pirate herself. I think it's the chin.

Now, Maddy Gaiman--there's a pirate queen in the offing if ever I saw one.

Thank you and welcome aboard. :-) Yes, this was all about whether people would look good in pirate suits, and it was never intended to be a commentary on whether they'd actually take a cutlass in their teeth, swing to the next vessel on a rope, and fight their way to the governor's payroll chest of gold.

I admit it -- I'm shallow.

(Elizabeth made my list 'cuz she looks so natural with a sword. But, as you say, she may be more the privateer sort.)

Glad people are having fun with it.

Edited at 2008-03-07 10:20 pm (UTC)

Well, yes, but you really can't be deep about your pirates, can you? They only use the very top part of the water; I can't help feeling it would be dilatory not to do likewise in discussing them.

Besides, if you try to get all 'deep' about pirates, you have to square with the fact that they were actually hardened criminals who committed the sorts of atrocities we now consider crimes against humanity (well, depending on how broadly you're reading the Rome Statute, anyway). Which just sucks all the piratical fun right out of it.

Back to the subject at hand, I think Scalzi would definitely need a parrot to go with his eye patch and frock coat. A blue one. Possibly a blue one that looked more like a sheep than a parrot. Is there such a thing as a pygmy sheep? If so, would it be an acceptable piratical pet?

Back to the subject at hand, I think Scalzi would definitely need a parrot to go with his eye patch and frock coat. A blue one. Possibly a blue one that looked more like a sheep than a parrot. Is there such a thing as a pygmy sheep? If so, would it be an acceptable piratical pet?

On the one hand, I like this very much. (Do android pirates dream of electric blue sheep?) On the other hand, sheep are so...cute and fluffy. They just don't seem to go with the overall pirate motif. Hmmm. Choices, choices.

That's true. I mean, when you think about it, birds are pretty vicious. From park geese to petting zoo emus to good old fashioned parrots, it's pretty much a given that any bird bigger than a hamster will frak you up oldschool as soon as look at you. Much like a pirate.

On the other hand, Scalzi might just be enough of a pirate to get away with an electric blue pygmy sheep.

What about a long-haired, dreadlocked sheep, like a Lincoln? Surely they have pirate credentials.

So we can take up a collection to get John Scalzi a Lincoln sheep (dyed electric blue). He's got the land; it would eat well on good Ohio grass.

ah, see! moon's obvious distaste for piratery (evidenced in the planet pirates) counted her out for me.

If we are going on looks alone, it just has to be China Mieville. Can't you just see him with a knife in his teeth? We won't even talk about those high leather boots...

You do know that one person's privateer is another person's pirate, right?

yes, but it was a true insult to call a privateer a pirate. While there may have been little difference between them from a practical standpoint, they considered themselves very different animals indeed. And attitude is important when discussing science fiction writers who may or may not have been nautical property redistribution specialists in their past lives.

But the real difference, in keeping with the spirit of this poll, is that 'privateer' sounds more Elizabeth Moon-like. :D.

Now, Maddy Gaiman--there's a pirate queen in the offing if ever I saw one.

I've met Neil, but not Maddy. However, I'll have to suggest to my & Neil's mutual friend Mimi Ko that her next portrait of Maddy involve pirate garb. ;-) And while I think Neil would look dashing as a pirate, I can't help seeing him with a very slightly embarrassed, ironic grin on his face the whole time.

And among other writers I've met, I'd add Elaine Isaak (she could definitely make her own garb, and look good in it!), and the recently deceased Gary Gygax (who is almost certainly starting up a gaming con in Fiddler's Green by now...).

Yes, that's the trouble with Neil-as-a-pirate. Even going by looks alone, he just looks too gosh-darn nice.

Not to say that Maddy's not nice--wouldn't know; never met her; sure she's a vision of sweetness and light and all that--but something about her just says 'pirate queen' to me.

Also, you know who's totally a pirate? Mary Robinette Kowal.

And having said that, I'll never be able to watch Muppet Treasure Island the same way again.

Re: Here via Gaiman's blog:

I'm relatively sure Brust is a pirate, and has just sort of forgotten where he left his ship.

this is why kirk tells everyone to remember where they parked in iv!

Re: Here via Gaiman's blog:

Oh, I'm pretty sure he's got it hidden up but good somewheres in the desert. He's not the sort to lose his ship!

Re: Here via Gaiman's blog:

Thanks for stoppin' by. Steve really *does* look the part, doesn't he?

!!! I came via Neil Gaiman, but considering that the photo I have of me, Terry Pratchett, and a friend from 2003 is captioned "He's either saying that she's short, or he's a pirate. I'm not sure which", I got incredibly excited when I saw him on the poll. Hurrah!

Me, Terry Pratchett, Angie, 2003.

I had to vote for Mieville, as well; I can totally see that. Especially those super-egalitarian pirates that attacked slaveships and freed slaves. And as for Neal Stephenson, as mentioned above - I see him as way more of a cowboy, than a pirate, for some reason.

Yes, Terry looks very pirate-ish. Unless he's wearing a duck on his head. [BTW...the photo in the link above was taken by my husband, Mike Benveniste...even though the poster filched the photo and gave him no credit. *grump*]

This is amazingly timely, as the Pratchett fan group on a knitting site I'm on (there's an amazingly large cross-over!) was just talking about Duck-man today. I feel incredibly good about popping that picture into the mix. So, thank you, and to your husband!

Also, boo to photo-stealers.

Heh. My mother is a weaver, a spinner, and spends a lot of time talking wool. I, on the other hand, am not a fiber person.

At the world science fiction convention in Boston, Terry dragged me off for a beer at one point (Not that I minded...and it was a great excuse to sit and chat. "Have to take care of our guest of honor."), and my mom joined us eventually.

Imagine my horror when the conversation turned to things woolish and knittingish. On the other hand, it gave me time to concentrate on my beer.

Neil as a pirate

I can see Neil as a pirate; considerate, thoughtful, honorable, however, I think he would have the most creative dark methods for carrying out the piracy. And we know he can grow a beard!


Neil Gaiman a pirate? No way.

Alan Moore as Blackbeard, though...THAT I could agree to. Instantly.

I'd add Bob Asprin, Steve Barnes, Ben Bova, Pat Cadigan, Joe Haldeman, Harry Harrison. I second the nomination of Walter Jon Williams. For Most Likely to Cause a Mutiny Among His Own Crew, Jerry Pournelle. For Person Able to Supply His Own Outfit, Charles Sheffield.

And Cory Doctorow as Smee.