Re: Sink the Shigure Dear Mr. Cooke, In military novels technical details often foul up the large story. Your book “Sink…” starts off poorly. p1 – there were no computers in WW II subs. Computing machines, yes; computers no. p19 – “button-down khaki”? Not GI to best of my knowledge. p20 – The Uniform Code of Military Justice was passed by Congress and signed by Harry Truman in 1950. Before then the term was the “Articles of War.” p22 – A sailor in the sea looking up can only see sailors on the very edge of the flight deck, even for a small carrier like the Wasp. p23 – Asbestos was not known to be a carcinogen until after WW II and asbestos in PJs was more likely to be the short fiber, which was relatively benign. This all not to mention the exposure-to-incidence-of-disease was way too fast. I will keep reading — after a pause to let the taste of the bad details diminish — but the questionable technical side does reduce the enjoyment. Please get an old … er, curmudgeon read you manuscript or galley before press. Alas, your publisher’s copy editor, if existent, is probably useless for this task. Sincerely, MJ Ringo
Dear MJ, Thanks for your comments. I appreciate a good debate. You are totally right on about the UCMJ. As to your other comments…I must disagree with you on a few points.
First, the “computing machine” referred to on page 1 was the Torpedo Data Computer, aka the TDC. This was indeed an electromechanical analog computer used for calculating firing solutions. It was standard on U.S. submarines during WWII. No, it didn’t run Windows Vista… but it was a computer, all the same.
Uniforms – plain old button-down khaki shirts (button-down the front, not button-down collars which is what I think you were alluding to) were what just about every officer in the Pacific fleet wore during WWII, including CinCPac himself, Admiral Nimitz. Just do a google image search on Admirals Nimitz and Halsey if you want to see what the uniforms looked like. Or just follow this link USS Missouri Surrender Ceremony
Sailor in the sea looking up to the deck of a carrier – Okay, maybe you have a point here, except that the deck of the Wasp was listing heavily during the moment cited in the book, so it’s possible Fabriano could have witnessed his brother’s death…
Asbestos as a carcinogen – Sure, people suspected it, even back then. Some insurance carriers would not insure asbestos workers, even before WWII. But besides all that, “Sink” never mentions that the asbestos killed her, nor that Tremain thought it killed her. As for the aggressive nature of her disease, there are many diseases that a person can contract and succumb to within a year. But, alas,…it is, after all, fiction.
Thanks again for the comments. I hope you find the rest of the book more enjoyable.
All Best – RCC