Ryan's Reviews > Master and Commander

Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian
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Apr 02, 10

Read from February 25 to March 25, 2010, read count: 1

In science fiction circles, there's often a debate about "hard" vs "soft" sci-fi, and which makes for better literature. Proponents of hard sci-fi argue that it's essential to get the scientific details of a story right, and that things which violate known rules about physics (time travel, faster-than-light spaceships, etc) should be avoided. Fans of softer stuff, on the other hand, argue that the story is what's important, and that scientific accuracy is important only to the degree that it advances or helps the plot of the story.

Master and Commander is kind of like the hard sci-fi version of a sailing novel set during the Napoleonic wars. It seems very historically and navally accurate, and from reading the author's forward it's obvious that achieving that accuracy was of great importance to him. It's almost *too* accurate, though - as someone without a background in sailing, it took me a good chunk of the novel to understand was was going on, when the relationship between Aubrey and Maturin was what I really cared about, rather than the technical stuff.

I can see what people like in this, it just isn't for me.
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