I’m a huge fan of nautical fiction. And by that, I mean age of sail stuff, not WWII submarines (though I loved Das Boot ). The literature is much deeper than Hornblower and Aubrey/Maturin (though it doesn’t get better than O’Brian). I’ve read hundreds of these books. If you want to join me, you might find the following helpful.
- Bob’s Amazon List:
First Books in Fictional Series about Britain’s Royal Navy
I think I’ve pretty much read every nautical fiction book published in the last 50 years. I had to go back to sci-fi and even fantasy (thank you, Patrick Rothfuss, for making my life better a book at a time).
Given that nautical fiction almost always focuses on the officers, I’ve come to realize that the books are really about organizational structure and management. I see a strong relation to the academic pecking order, which I summarize in the following table.
|tenured faculty||post captain|
|department head, dean||admiral|
Non-Commmissioned and Warrant Officers
What about the rest of us?
|research scientist||sailing master|
|research programmer||boatswain (aka ‘bosun’)|
|grants officier||Admiralty bureaucrat|
Sailing master because us research scientists know the technical bits of being an officer, namely navigation and how the ship works. Programmers are bosuns because they’re the most technically adept at the low-level functionality of academia. I guess if you weren’t in computer science, the research programmer would be a lab tech.