This lovely sketch card was drawn by Joe Gravel and you can try to buy it on ebay. There is a lot to love about this image, from the crab to the pouty look on the mermaid, but it brings to mind a problem I am experiencing. I am not sure whether to include such supernatural hijinks in my pirate anthology next summer.
When one writes about male and female pirates on a ship together in the 1500’s, you are essentially writing science fiction. That kind of stuff didn’t happen and the kind of sexual pleasure orgy ship I am envisaging would have trouble sailing much less looting with all the fucking they are doing. Porn trumps historical accuracy in this book.
Yet I find myself holding back when it comes to adding things like mermaids and sea monsters. They are such a rich part of the lore and yet once I have mermaid sex in the book, I cross a mythical line on the deck. That would be the point where readers expect Captain Long John Cock and singing pirates.
(Pirates did sing chanties and I plan to have some in the book, but you know what I mean)
Suspension of belief in porn is a funny thing. By funny I really mean it is a pain in the ass. Perfect tits can break suspension or they can make a story. Simultaneous orgasms can make readers roll their eyes or cinch the moment in their memory for the rest of their lives. It is a question of taste, style and execution and sometimes it can be just plain dumb luck. I have written stories about clone women fighting giant lobsters and it was the improper gun safety that one reader complained about. You can’t predict these things and if you try to head off every possible problem you can go insane.
Which is what makes writing such an adventure sometimes. Even when you write about zombies, witches and mad scientists, you don’t have automatic license to throw in a ship swallowing whale. You have to make that judgment with every story you do. If you do include the fantastic, you have to see how it fits with the rest of the story. Just like perfect cocks and buoyant tits, they might sound great but they don’t fit with everything. I wish I had a hard and fast anwser or guide to refer to but the truth is that you just start to develop a sense over time. It doesn’t feel right to add mermaids to my book so I probably won’t. Only you can tell if weird shit is right for your story.
Pirates however, are always okay.