The Bilge Pumps 2 – The Sequel

By Alex Clarke

We are The Bilge Pumps, a podcast crew of three naval geeks, with occasional guests, who squeak a lot about naval stuff and sometimes when moving. We include myself – Alex Clarke – known as much for my addiction to Irn Bru as my PhD and NavalHistoryLive Youtube channel, Alex ‘Drach’ Pocklington, also known for his love of Irn Bru and being an engineering savant, but mainly for the excellent Drachinfinel Youtube channel, and Jamie Seidel, journalist with a passion for armored carriers so great he has set up a website, a Youtube channel, and a Twitter feed all about them. Join us for our second episode to enjoy what is an informative, but also humorous take on current-ish affairs in the maritime and naval world.

These roughly 70-minute podcasts will hopefully make you smile as much they think you think, so please listen, enjoy, and feel free to send us topic suggestions to our Twitter feeds, just make sure to include #Bilgepumps when you do.

Download The Bilge Pumps 2 – Launch Episode!


Alex Clarke is the producer of The Bilge Pumps podcast.

Contact the CIMSEC podcast team at

One thought on “The Bilge Pumps 2 – The Sequel”

  1. Enjoyed this episode. For me, the most realistic, well thought-out, and compelling space navy combat scenes are from ‘The Expanse’ – including both the novels and television series.

    However, in sci-fi literature for me geopolitics, diplomacy, and combat in the ‘Honorverse’ novels by David Weber are as good as ‘The Expanse’. I would highly recommend the first book in the series and its spinoffs, ‘On Basilisk Station’ – I have reread this book several times, and along with ‘In Honor of the Queen’, ‘The Short Victorious War’, and ‘Field of Dishonor’ you could have a nice film or tv mini-series.

    I actually got a letter-to-the-editor printed in the USNI’s ‘Proceedings’ citing a early event ‘On Basilisk Station’ in support of a previous essay advocating for the US Navy in its exercises for it to declare high ranking officers as casualties so to force more junior officers to take command should admiral or ship’s captain be killed or out-of-communication.

    Comment & Discussion, July 2019 Proceedings

    The 1955 novel ‘Earthlight’ by Arthur C. Clarke has a big space combat scene, very unusual for him since his novels have very little combat or gunplay. It starts out as a spy story and ends with a battle between three spaceships and a battery based on the Lunar surface. Its sorta of like a ‘Expanse’-lite story, and in fact the writers of ‘The Expanse’ have stated how influential his works were to them. ‘The Expanse’ is a bit like a merger of Star Wars with Clarke’s novels and short stories. The Protomolecule in ‘The Expanse’ is the Monolith from 2001, 2010, 2061, and 3001. The type of solar colonization is a more violent version of Clarke’s future solar system in his 1976 novel ‘Imperial Earth’.

    My favorite sci-fi francise is Star Trek – primarily The Original Series, TNG, and DS9 – I grew up on Star Trek and I really love the mix of bridge drama, moral monologuing, and comedic moments with all the playful bantering between characters. YouTube is just fall of great little 5 to 10 min scenes that stand alone as great television, for example the “Root Beer” scene from DS9 or “Sheliak treaty” scene from TNG.

    New Star Trek both film and television have been great disappointments, especially Star Trek ‘Discovery’ and ‘Picard’ which I found to be dark, humorless, and unimaginative; stuff full of blatantly gratuitous violence and sex to make the shows “edgy and modern”. The CGI in both runs amok creating ridiculous battle scenes that seem more Looney Tunes then sci-fi. Worse was the Section 31 station guarded by spin buzz saws in space – really, the Reagan Administration did better with the “Brilliant Pebbles” and “Nuclear Lances” of its SDI “Star Wars” program.

    It’s a shame because I think Michelle Yeoh would be great as a starship captain and Sonequa Martin-Green looks and sounds great as a starship officer, but her character is an idiot. Overall compare to the care that went into films like “The Wrath of Khan” – which actually did the “space navy” feel very well – ‘Discover’ in terms of dialogue, mannerisms, and procedures is so un-military like, and yet it is the most violently militaristic of the Star Trek TV series. If your going to make Starfleet landing parties like special forces in space, maybe as a writer you might research how military units actually work.

    Closer to our current times and naval affairs, I just reread James H Cobb’s 1996 novel ‘Choosers of the Slain’ which is about a US Navy stealth-ship that is everything we wish the Zumwalt could be (the guns of the USS Cunningham work!) and I found it a exciting and thought provoking read. From what I gather online the other three following books of the series descend in quality with more “jumping the shark” moments, but the first book seems fairly grounded in possibilities of near future naval warfare.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.