A Flashman Question

Will we ever learn how Flashman came to fight on both sides of the American Civil War? I have been waiting forever for this packets of the “Flashman Papers” to be revealed.

::: shrug :::

I, for one, hope that George MacDonald Frasier goes on “publishing” the Flashman papers forever, but the man is in his 70s. Someday, I want to go through the books and chronologicalize them, but haven’t so far.

Actually I was surprised that Fraser’s “only” 77. I thought he was in his eighties by now.

My hope is that when Fraser steps down, some other author picks up the series. I’d like to see S.M. Stirling, who’s a good writer and a big Flashman fan.

The closest we may ever get is in the buildup to the Civil War, already described in “Flashman and the Angel of the Lord”.

Fraser’s clearly slowing down, and may be simply bored with the series. If that’s so, perhaps it’s just as well that he not try another. I’m as intrigued as anybody by the comments Flashy has let slip, and don’t know of any other book hints Fraser has left us there.

Other quickie book reviews: “Mr. American” had his usual detail, but the characters and plot were too unbelievable (yet not unbelievable enough to be a Flashmanlike satire). “Black Ajax” was fascinating and realistic, but may not be of interest to a non-sports fan. Haven’t read “The Pyrates” or “Quartered Way Out There” - have any of you?

I liked Mr. American; didn’t find the characters unbelievable. The Pyrates is a fun satirical comedy. I’d also recommend McAuslan in the Rough and The Hollywood History of the World.

My opinion:

“Mr. American” was, to my mind, the most “realistic” of all Fraser’s books. My only objection to it was that the plot was not, IMHO, strong enough to carry a book of that length.

“Black Ajax” was excellent, and I think of great interest. I am no sports fan, but I was fascinated at the way Fraser handled the issues of race and history in this book! The hero was no perfect man, nor yet an antihero like Flashman, but a tragically flawed figure struggling for pre-eminence against his own inherent weaknesses. Great stuff, one of the best.

“The Pyrates” is Fraser’s homage to the cartoon world of fictional pirate lore. The problem with it was that it was too much of a cartoon. IMHO, the weakest of Fraser’s work.

“Quartered Safe Out Here”, by contrast, is in a class of its own. This is Fraser’s autobiography of his war years in Burma. If Fraser had written nothing else, his reputation would be made by this one book. It is a must-read for anyone interested in WW2 history - one of the absolute best accounts of “what it was really like”, written by a great writer at the top of his form.

The MacAslin stories - “The Shiek and the Dustbin”, “The General Danced at Dawn”, and “MacAuslin in the Rough” - are all very good reads indeed. Apparently, they are semi-autobiographical – fictionalized stories of Fraser’s post-war experiences in the army. Very very funny - laugh-out-loud funny, in parts.

I’ve read “Quartered Safe out Here” and I have to agree, it’s terrific. I enjoyed “The American” and count myself as a Flashy fan.

Did this happen before or after he got his butt kicked by Megaman?

I’m not sure I even want to know what this is about.

I was quite disappointed that Flashman and the Tiger included so little on Flashman’s so-far-unaddressed military exploits, and in fact implied that little more may be revealed about his Zulu War experiences.

Besides Flashman’s U.S. Civil War campaigns and the disaster of Isandlhwana, the series still hasn’t considered Flashman’s service with Emperor Maximilian of Mexico, or had much on his encounters with the Fuzzy-Wuzzies in Sudan. At this point, I doubt we will see them, at least from Fraser’s hand.

I read an interview with Fraser, and the question came up of when Flashman and the Civil War would be written. Fraser said “When I feel like it” and that was it.