james fitzjames

lost-carcosa  asked:

The Terror is about Franklin's expedition to find the North-West Passage (the Arctic), not Shackleton in the Antarctic.

Aw, nuts. You’re right. To correct my dumbass mistake, I quoth the Wikipedia:

The Terror is a 2007 novel by American author Dan Simmons.[1] It is a fictionalized account of Captain Sir John Franklin’s lost expedition of HMS Erebus (1826) and HMS Terror (1813) to the Arctic, in 1845–1848, to force the Northwest Passage. In the novel, while Franklin and his crew are plagued by starvation and illness, and forced to contend with mutiny and cannibalism, they are stalked across the bleak Arctic landscape by a monster.[2]

Most of the characters featured in The Terror are actual members of Franklin’s crew, whose unexplained disappearance has warranted a great deal of speculation. The main characters in the novel include Sir John Franklin, commander of the expedition and captain of Erebus; Francis Crozier, captain of Terror; Dr Harry D. S. Goodsir; and Captain James Fitzjames.[3]

I’m not sure why I thought it was about Shackleton. I blame being awake since 0618 today.

A much reproduced image of James Fitzjames, from the original daguerreotype taken before the Franklin Expedition left England. Fitzjames had penned the sparse yet only known first hand written account of the fate of the expedition. Writing in the margins of the Victory Point Record, he revealed that by 1847 Franklin had died and by 1848 the ships Erebus and Terror had been deserted. As with the rest of the crew, his ultimate fate is unknown. Speculation has ranged from his returning to the abandoned ships to his being one of the last survivors aided by the Inuit before walking off to their presumed deaths. I suppose it depends on how romantic the writer’s view is. If the hopes Parks Canada seems to have placed on the new remote operated vehicle to be used in the future dives on the Erebus pay off, there might be some more definitive answers in the coming years.

The bitchin’ shirt I had printed with a daguerrotype of Captain James Fitzjames. This photo is old, but I don’t wear it out of the house and I’ve never really shown it to anyone.

Fitzjames was a British naval captain who, in the 1840s, was assigned to take charge of the HMS Erebus (my blog namesake) on a quest to find the Northwest Passage with Sir John Franklin. He died, as did the other 128 men.

Supposedly, I’m related to him, even though he was very flamboyant (read: gay) and never married or had children or any direct descendants. He was a reckless man and his legacy taught me that the only way to get anywhere in life is to run full force at the edge and throw yourself into it. You don’t have to be good at what you do to be great. If you’re going to fail, you might as well make it a grand, spectacular failure.