Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fanfic Review: KIM POSSIBLE in "PRIVATEER POSSIBLE" by Richard Smyers

Richard Smyers' latest Kim Possible fanfic... well, actually isn't a Kim Possible fanfic, technically speaking. Kim's contributions to the fun are limited to the Prologue and the Epilogue. The tale spun (no Disney TV Animation pun intended) out of an offhand remark that Dr. James Possible made during Richard's earlier story, "The Claws of the Kitten," about one of the Possibles' ancestors being a privateer. Said ancestor, Captain Rodger Possible, left behind a written account of his service during the War of 1812, and it is this tome that Kim finds herself perusing on an atypically boring night when her family and friends are away and no "sitches" have turned up...

One thing I've always liked about Richard's stories, dating back to the good old days of the APA WTFB, is the essential seriousness with which he approaches his scenario-crafting. He's never been about creating "Mary Sues" or working out some bizarre personal fantasy involving cartoon characters; he simply wants to tell a good story. This lends an extra layer of believability to whatever tale he chooses to relate, even if he is tinkering with such fantastical notions as gremlins, time travel, or futuristic space stations. Here, with no exotic flimflammery to deal with, Richard's careful spadework shows to extremely good advantage. The tale of Rodger Possible, his privateer Kimberly Ann, and his "sure-to-be-genetically-significant" encounter with a resolute British female captain who bears an amazing resemblance to a future cheerleader/globetrotting heroine is enhanced by all manner of technical terms concerning early 19th-century seafaring. It's not on the Patrick O'Brian level, certainly, but it makes the story seem real... provided that you can wrap your head around the very notion of a female commanding an 18th-century Royal Navy vessel. Anna Shchetinina would not be amused if she heard of this. In all honesty, given what we know about the hidebound nature of His Majesty's naval service during that period, the inclusion of a female knight in the 1990s Prince Valiant animated series is easier to buy than the existence of Captain O'Neill. Perhaps Richard has some additional info about distaff heroines of the British fleet that he chose not to mention in his story?

Amusingly, Kim thinks that she's getting to the "good part" of Rodger's story when Rodger brings Captain O'Neill home to Boston and appears to be feeling the first stirrings of romantic feelings for the latter. I would think that a tale of high adventure would hook Kim just as easily, but she is a teenage girl, after all. If Richard chooses to continue writing stories about Kim's ancestors -- and I wouldn't mind that at all -- perhaps he can turn the Possibles into a version of John Jakes' Kent Family and run them headlong into various famous events in American history. After all, they have quite a descendant to live up to -- so to speak.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, Chris: Just to let you know, another person has asked me if I plan to write more about privateer captain Rodger Possible. The answer is Yes! I will keep you posted as to when the story appears.

Richard Smyers