Out of the Mouths of the Butt Pirates: Angelia Sparrow
Posted on April 30, 2013
I love writing sequels, which is why I’ve already got a second episode of the Spacehunters series in mind. However, one thing I hadn’t considered that fellow author Angelia Sparrow did was the serial. What an absolutely perfect idea for an anthology like Butt Pirates in Space, which is meant to encompass a throwback to the science fiction days of yore with a camp sensibility! And who better to tell you about her latest, Pride of the Rangers, and what she wants it to bring to the Butt Pirates universe?
Butt Pirates Angelia Sparrow: There is one film genre Errol Flynn never made: science fiction. And it’s a sorry shame because he would have looked amazing in the jumpsuits and helmets so prevalent at the time.
Cliff Cody is my attempt to right this wrong. Cliff probably got his name from the band Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen. He started as a tribute to Flash Gordon and all that, with a side tribute to Duck Dodgers in the Twenty Fourth and a Half Century!
If you heard that in your head, then you know exactly how “Commander Cliff Cody of the Space Exploration Rangers” should be said. Lots of rolling that R on Rangers and one finger thrust firmly at the sky.
I first recall talking about Cliff at MediaWest Con in 2006. I hadn’t written anything about him then, but I was already feeling the outlines of the universe.
Cliff and Jake made their debut in a 2009 short story called “Plumbing the Depths,” in the Queer Dimensions anthology. It was an odd piece that was originally intended to be humorous, but became a meditation on love and grief and saving the world even as they saved their marriage.
“A Taste of Knowledge,” involving rift-tripping elves who gained knowledge by osmosis, and having laborers consume the brains of scientists never quite got off the ground. Err, so to speak. And I never finished “The Brain Eaters of Algol 3,” which in the best pulp fashion involved shape-shifting slugs.
So when this anthology came around, I knew it had to be the story of how Jake, Cliff and Frank got together. The plot bounced right into my head (and if it looks too much like Captain Blood, then I didn’t get enough coats of scarlet liquigloss on it) and I prodded it.
Some serious poking and prodding occurred over the next few months. “Pride of the Rangers” came easily enough for the title. But there were quandaries that hamstrung me. Was it racist to make Frank a voudou practitioner? Is Rafe Fioved too much of a stereotype? (The answer is yes, deliberately, it makes people underestimate him) Is it sexist to have a post-plague universe where women are so scarce that they are no longer allowed into dangerous jobs? And the story remained stubbornly snail-paced.
The boys finally lost their stubbornness and got into the swing of things and once they did, the story flowed nicely and came together around the end of November.
So, let’s talk a little about the story and not just the writing.
As mentioned, Cliff, in my head, looks like Errol Flynn, dashing and handsome, complete with three-dimpled smile that breaks every heart in a five parsec radius. The Space Exploration Rangers are, of course, well aware of this. Cliff is a good ranger, but without his looks and charm, he’d never be a Commander. The Rangers advance him and use his looks cynically as a recruiting method. They’ve even got a series of holo-adventures, aimed at the pre-teen boys, that glamorize the life of a Ranger and make Cliff out to be one in a long line of great heroes.
The pirate captain, Rafe Fioved, says that Cliff was probably the sort that had Ranger footie pajamas as soon as he was out of the crib. He’s not far wrong. He’s the oldest son in a family that includes two daughters who not only survived birth but lived through menarche, so his family was already locally famous. Cliff was raised on tales of valor and heroism, but never really expected to become The Pride of the Rangers as they call him.
So, when our story opens, Cliff is being stripped of his uniform and rank on galaxy-wide holovid. All of the Seven Worlds, the Disney Pleasure Planet, all of the marginal settlement world, they are watching him have his whole life torn away from him. Every thing he’s dreamed of, since he was wearing footie pajamas and cuddling a stuffed space-ship is being taken, in front of billions of people.
That’s just where we start.
From there, Onward and Upward!
Angelia Sparrow is the author of 14 novels and over 70 short stories. She works as an inventory counter and runs Inkstained Succubus Press. Her work, alone and with co-authors can be found at http://www.brooksandsparrow.com She can be found as valarltd on Livejournal, Dreamwidth and FetLife, Angelia Sparrow on Facebook and Google+, and asparrow16 on Twitter.
Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the recently re-published novella Falling Awake, its sequel, Falling Awake II: Revenant and Falling Awake III: Requiem.
7 Responses to “Out of the Mouths of the Butt Pirates: Angelia Sparrow”
April 30, 2013 at 8:37 am
Sounds like a fun addition to a fun anthology. I’m always intrigued by women writing stories about gay men, and the fact that I had to look up the word ‘menarche’ told me just how chauvinistically gay I really am.
Angelia Sparrow says:
April 30, 2013 at 9:17 pm
Hi Dorien. I write about everyone. I have gay and straight and lesbian and bi and trans characters in my work. I even have a couple of asexual ones. I prefer writing male sex, because there are no words I like for the female body.
I tend forget a lot of people have never heard the word menarche, even women. Hazard of a 50,000 word vocabulary.
Naomi Brooks says:
May 1, 2013 at 3:20 am
Awful, offensive title. Even more awful that you’re using it as shorthand for the authors within it in this post. #Dislike. #NotBuyingIt
May 1, 2013 at 10:46 pm
Not a fan of comedies, I see.
Naomi Brooks says:
May 2, 2013 at 12:04 pm
Not a fan of slurs and bullying. So when does Niggers from Neptune come out? Just a comedy, right?
Gabriel Belthir says:
May 2, 2013 at 1:39 pm
I wish Naomi was the first person to say that. Satire is amazing, and I want to read the stories, but the title’s offputting to me and all the LGBT community I’ve tried to market it to.
May 2, 2013 at 2:28 pm
Bullying? Really? And you’re comparing Butt Pirates with the ‘N’ word? While you’re certainly welcome to your opinion, I’m relieved to know based on feedback so far that you are the minority opinion.