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    O'Brian vs Forester
    From: Dan Allen
    Date: 2001 Jul 12, 12:37 PM

    George Huxtable wrote:
    Well, in matters of maritime fiction, everyone to his own taste. I've tried
    reading O'Brian but without much enjoyment. I do not think he comes
    anywhere near that master of the genre, C S Forester, in his Hornblower
    stories, for attention to detail and sheer believability. Just one man's
    view. Little is more enjoyable that settling down with a Hornblower book
    and a good atlas.
    Dan Allen replies:
    I have not read Forester, but I have read Patrick O'Brian.  I know quite a
    few people that prefer O'Brian to Forester for the same reasons you
    prefer Forester!
    There are quite a few passages in O'Brian that have lots of good navigation
    details.  History, philosophy, science, biology, religion, mathematics --
    they are all covered.  Actual naval battles only occupy a few pages in
    each volume.  The characters do not always win or succeed -- just as in
    real life.  They have weaknesses and problems, some of which are overcome,
    some which are not -- just as in real life.
    When I first tried O'Brian, I did not like it.  In fact, the first four
    volumes of the Aubrey/Maturin series are a bit slow and the first volume
    especially was hard for me to plow through, but then, then things change
    altogether.  From volume 5 to volume 20, these books are amazing.  They
    are the only books I have ever read where I have looked up from reading
    to be shocked at NOT finding the view out my window to be exactly the
    view that I had been reading in O'Brian.  No book of fiction or non-fiction
    has ever brought me into a story so completely.  "The Far Side of the
    "Desolation Island", "The Surgeon's Mate" -- these are as good as it gets.
    My challenge to George is to try O'Brian again.  Read one of the books
    from volume 5 upwards.  Highly recommended.

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