The Gunner's Mate

Publication(s)

  • First publication
    • Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, October/November 2005
  • Wolfe collection(s)

Summary

A woman vacationing at a hotel on an isolated tropical island attracts the amorous interest of a pirate's ghost.

Analysis

  • "That for itself can woo the approaching fight..." is from Lord Byron's "The Corsair", which may be found in this book. That pirate risks his wife to save a slave from a sultan's harem.
  • The Lory reference is from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter 3. The Lory tells Alice "I am older than you, and must know better," but refuses to tell its age. (Parrots can live a hundred years or more, but for this parrot to belong to an original crew member of Sir Henry Morgan, circa 1665, seems unlikely).
  • Muriel is misremembering the Alice in Wonderland story when she thinks about giving a thimble to the bird. In fact, Alice is given back her own thimble as a "prize" for "winning" the Caucus-race; she gives comfits to the birds for their prizes. This may foreshadow Muriel being given back her lover Rick at the end, possessed by the gunner's mate ghost. The Alice story also foreshadows that Muriel may not be happy with the pirate in the long run: the Caucus-race was pointless and Alice got into it after nearly drowning in a pool of her own tears. The pirate doesn't treat women well, as shown by his "sharing" a woman with his crew-mates.

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