Flying The Skull And Funnybones

Columbus Alive | November 17, 2005
Gideon Defoe is a silly, silly man, and he’s written two books as evidence. "The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists" and the newly published sequel "The Pirates! In An Adventure With Ahab" (Pantheon) are the loopiest things to hit bookshelves in recent memory.

Set on a rotting ship full of buccaneers who don’t know much about sailing or each other’s names (The Pirate Captain, The Albino Pirate, The Pirate with a Nut Allergy, etc.), the books are stylistically reminiscent of grade school fare like Encyclopedia Brown. There are maps and diagrams filled with misinformation, lists of reading comprehension questions at the end, tables of contents that have no connection to the actual chapter titles and surprisingly informative footnotes throughout (like the origin of “cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey”). There are also exclamation points. Loads of them.

If you were lucky enough to have someone from Monty Python for an uncle, this is the sort of story he would’ve told you at bedtime. It’s historical revisionism for the sake of a punchline. In "Scientists" the pirates sink The Beagle, befriend Charles Darwin and help him outwit the evil Bishop of Oxford. In Ahab they pursue a great white whale all the way to Las Vegas. It doesn’t matter how they or the whale got there; if you make it that far you’ll be laughing too hard to care.

Columbus Alive

Founded in 1983, Alive is the Capital City's oldest and only independent alternative and is known for providing a forum for the area's free thinkers. The paper's spirited and original perspective on music, arts and culture distinguish it from the...
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