McAuslanAs noted in the comments to my post about the new Aubrey/Maturin movie below, I fully intend to take on Kathy the Cake-Eater over the issue of whether Russell Crowe is the right actor to play Lucky Jack Aubrey.  Furthermore, I intend to go right through the series of novels,citing primary text to blow mon ami du gateau right out of the water.  (I shall smite her.  Oh, yes.  I shall.)

However, Madame’s chastisement is going to have to wait a bit, because I suddenly find myself deep into George MacDonald Fraser’s hy-larious WWII-Era collection of stories, The Complete McAuslan. Private McAuslan, J.,  is described as “the Dirtiest Soldier in the World (alias the Tartan Caliban, or the Highland Division’s answer to the Pekin Man).

I am only a few chapters into the first novel of this collection, The General Danced at Dawn, so I cannot yet give you any overall picture.  But I can assure you that I have already recieved many a glance on the Metro as a result of my uncontrollable giggling over Fraser’s workmanship.  How the hell could that man have really been a Scot?

(Yes, in case you’re wondering, I’ve also recently purchased a copy of Fraser’s own WWII memoir, Quartered Safe Out Here.  I gather that there is a considerable amount of biographical detail that makes its way from Fraser’s non-fiction to his fiction.  Indeed, it was in my hunt for this volume on the devil’s website that I stumbled across the McAuslan series.) 

Oh, one other thing: As in the Flashman series, Fraser here makes extensive use of the adjective “slantendicular” as in “a slantendicular glance”.  Although I know the word essentially means “side-long”, damme if it appears in my Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary.  Where the hell did Fraser find it?  And why is he so partial to it?