Mex

Saturday, November 21, 2015

195 years of immortality

By Mex

… he came down upon us with full speed, and struck the ship with his head, just forward of the fore-chains; he gave us such an appalling and tremendous jar, as nearly threw us all on our faces. The ship brought up as suddenly and violently as if she had struck a rock, and trembled for a few seconds like a leaf. We looked at each other with perfect amazement, deprived almost of the power of speech… 

Owen Chase

Ahoy there!

I hope you are all well. Here we are working hard, addressing all the feedback received at the Milan Games Week and improving interfaces and game mechanics. But today I will not speak about Nantucket or, at least, not about the game.

Today (well, yesterday…considering the time) marks the 195th anniversary of the sinking of the Nantucket whaler Essex, the event who inspired Herman Melville to write his masterpiece Moby Dick and Nathaniel Philbrick’s In the Heart of the Sea (yes, Ron Howard movie is an adaptation on this book, based on the real events).

EssexAnniversary

For those of you who don’t know the story, the whaler Essex was struck by a sperm whale and sunk in the southern Pacific Ocean and the twenty-man crew had to spend months at sea. Just eight of them survived, after having to resort to cannibalism to survive.

I know, whaling is a thorny topic, and I will never stress enough the fact that Picaresque Studio condemns modern industrial whaling, but (yes, there is a “but”) I cannot deny I’m fascinated by the XIX century sailing adventures. If I had to pick ten novels to recommend to someone, Moby Dick is the second title in my mind (the first one, A farewell to arms by Ernest Hemingway).

Chapter 82 of Moby Dick is titled “The Honor and Glory of Whaling”. It’s a wonderful piece of literature and it contains a passage that I think summarizes my feelings towards those men:

Those were the knightly days of our profession, when we only bore arms to succor the distressed, and not to fill men’s lamp-feeders. 

Herman Melville

They were brave and tough men, living in danger and chasing mighty creatures like Ancient Greek heroes, but they were doing it for such a non-heroic reasons. Nonetheless, today I just want to toast to those men, not only the Essex crew, but all the unsung protagonists of those times.

See you next week,

Mex

 




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