Author Topic: PP631: The Last Sailing of the Henry Charles Morgan in Six Pieces of Scrimshaw..  (Read 2604 times)


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PseudoPod 631: The Last Sailing of the Henry Charles Morgan in Six Pieces of Scrimshaw (1841)

Author: A.C. Wise
Narrator: Alasdair Stuart
Host: Alasdair Stuart

“The Last Sailing of the Henry Charles Morgan in Six Pieces of Scrimshaw (1841)”, originally appeared at The Dark, and won the 2017 Sunburst Award for short fiction.

Show Notes
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Sperm whale tooth, lampblack
The first scene depicted is the whaling ship Henry Charles Morgan, beset by a storm. The waves are stylized curls, the wind traced as spirals battering the masts and tearing the sails. A series of dots arranged diagonally across the image stand in for rain. The lampblack is worked most deeply into the ocean bearing the ship up and tossing it around. The ship itself is second in darkness, with the spirals of wind touched most lightly, giving them a ghostly feel. Spaces of blankness within the waves suggest the presence of hands, shapes of absence rather than definitively carved things. It is possible the artist meant to metaphorically represent the storm, the ocean as a malignant force actively trying to pull the whalers from the ship and cause them to drown.

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I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


  • Extern
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This seems to be a theme for Pseudopod recently, with 631 and 633. I also find it rather funny that, as I write this, Spotify apparently seems to find fit to queue up "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" to listen to.

I don't want to listen to something like this every week, but every so often, it works. This was a good story. I quite enjoyed listening to the story and letting my own imagination run away with those pieces of scrimshaw.


  • Matross
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I really liked this one. The format of it, with the scrimshaw-snapshots progressing through time, was pretty neat. It sort of reminded me of an epistolary story in art form, except who was the carver making the scrimshaw for? Himself? History? Because what else was he doing with himself as doom loomed?
I was also amused by the reviewer's frequent asides -- repeating that things were possibly metaphorical -- and wondering whether the artist was really that skilled and intellectual, or just carving what he saw.


  • Palmer
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I enjoyed this story very much, and I appreciated the depth of knowledge and inspiration required to write in a non-contemporaneous style. While listening to the story (I don't generally read story notes or pay attention to intros/outros before listening to the story) I was uncertain as to whether or not the author was working today. I thought perhaps this was another story from the past.

Thank you, Mx Wise, for your story!


  • Matross
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Good episode. Cool variation of the MS. Found in a Bottle/Found Footage formula. Nice reading too.

P.S. Has anyone ever written a Moby Dick/Call of Cthulhu pastiche? An "Ahab vs. the Great Old Ones" story would be awesome if done right.