A Sailor of Austria: In Which, Without Really Intending to, by John Biggins

By John Biggins

During this ironic, hilarious, and poignant tale, Otto Prohaska is a submarine captain serving the almost-landlocked Austro-Hungarian Empire. He faces a number of not going conditions, from petrol poisoning to exploding bathrooms to trigger-happy Turks. All indicators aspect to the whole cave in of the bloated empire he serves, yet Otto refuses to desert the Habsburgs of their hour of want.

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Extra info for A Sailor of Austria: In Which, Without Really Intending to, Otto Prohaska Becomes Official War Hero No. 27 of the Habsburg Empire (The Otto Prohaska Novels)

Example text

So, to cut a long story short, during the five years between her launching and the time that I made her acquaintance, U8 was offered to the Netherlands, Brazil, Portugal, China, Norway, Russia, Turkey and even (I was told) to Bolivia, who proposed using her against the Peruvians on Lake Titicaca—thereby establishing what I imagine would still be a world altitude record for submarines. But petrol engines were giving way to diesels and Mr Holland’s designs were rapidly becoming out of date, and in the end the whole project was given up in disgust.

To my surprise he became very contrite at this.  . ” Then, moving up closer to me: “ ’Ere, how ’bout tellin’ 31 A Sailor of Austria me then? ” Then, in a low conspiratorial tone, fumbling in the back pocket of his jeans: “Wanna fag, do you? That ol’ cow Felicja’s out for the day so she won’t come botherin’ us. ” Sister Felicja is a large, ugly nun from Pozna who controls the day-to-day business of the Home with all the tact and charm of an old-style Prussian Feldwebel—except that she seems not to wax the ends of her moustache.

There was a great deal of bustle about us as the pinnace hissed smooth­ly across the waters of the harbour: picket boats and liberty boats and tugs and small craft by the dozen; also a couple of destroyers lying at the oil wharf, even though most of the light forces were now down south at Cattaro. I had been away from Europe when the war broke out, on the China Station with the Kaiserin Elisabeth, and it was not until February that I had managed to get home, after many adventures that need not concern us here.

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