Friday, April 1, 2011

Up at 6S: "Lessons On Salt Water," and Book Review: "Pirate Talk or Mermalade" by Terese Svoboda

Lessons On Salt Water: My humorous stab at relationships of the... strained sort. If only I were as good a pugilist in real life...

I like Six Sentences, I do. Like the Prediction, it's a challenge.

After you read, you may wonder, "Darling, where did you get the strange idea to tell it like that?" And I will tell you:

"Pirate Talk or Mermalade" by Terese Svoboda, a slim novel told entirely in dialogue, sans the typical quotation marks and dialogue tags. A challenging read, despite the book's slender silhouette.

An amusing tale of two brothers who are pathetic pirates, it follows their misadventures from their life on land with their rope-obsessed mother to various ships, none of which work out well for them. Along the way, meet a (possible) mermaid half-sister and a parrot who shows up at inopportune times to squawk, "Hanged!"

Honestly, it's a bit difficult to describe this book. But the dialogue is effervescent, and Svoboda continually charmed me with turns of phrase and delightful imagery. Not a book for everyone, but a suitable book for those of the peg-legged, one-eyed persuasion, or those who feel romantic longings deep in their parts for such folk.


  1. That's a wonderful 6s, Rebecca. Glad I read this post first, as I immediately had the "how to" to fully enjoy the first time out!

    Love the interplay, and the real violence hiding behind the thin veneer of humour.

  2. Thanks, Chris! I almost feel as if I should add a note the piece itself. "For an explanation, see this entry." :-)

  3. Bizarre 6s -- I like it! I´m seduced by the speed in this and the imagery is great. Also, perfect last line!

  4. Thanks, A! Speaking of bizarre, did you read Jenny D's new one? I had to prop up the ol' brain, now I can go back and comment properly.

  5. Yes, well, I have this crazy photo of my sister posing with a pineapple (a pineapple fruit?), it mixes weirdly with da piece...

  6. Great piece, Rebecca. There seemed to be so much in the story for so few words. Well done!

  7. Well done. I was thinking that dialogue would be one of the harder stories to tell in the 6S style, but you did it in grand style.

    This style of writing was also done in Michael Swanwick's "Steadfast Castle", published in the Sep/Oct 2010 F&SF. It's on my list to review this story on my blog.

  8. David, thanks!

    Aidan, I could see the dialogue being a problem in 6S style, so I'm glad it worked -- this time. Now you've got me intrigued re: "Steadfast Castle," so I'm going to see if I can find it.