The Pilot's Prayer

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Title: Pilot's Prayer
Publisher: Monte Cristo - Amethyst Press/Be True To Your Press
Editor(s): Kitty Woldow
Date(s): 1986-1988
Series?: no
Medium: print
Fandom: Riptide
Language: English
External Links:
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The Pilot's Prayer is a gen Riptide anthology.

Issue 1

The Pilot's Prayer 1 was published in 1986. It contains 8 stories and poems and is 90 pages long.

cover of issue #1
1986 flyer (click to read), printed in The Seaview Sextant #8
  • A Fish Tale by Elaine Batterby ("On a peaceful afternoon cruise, Nick disappears overboard, and Cody can't place the strange sound he heard before the splash.")
  • Memorial by Linda Knights ("Cody is having trouble with dealing with a recurring dream in which Nick is killed, and then the case from his dream begins for real, forcing him into a decision.")
  • Peter Pan, poem by Sue-Anne Hartwick
  • Play Ball, poem by Sue-Anne Hartwick
  • Shattered Illusions, poem by Jean Thrower
  • You Can't Go Back, a missing scene from "Be True to Your School" by Carlotta Vaughan ("Covering the span of time between Nick finding Deke's body at the landing and the attack on the Riptide that night by Morgan's thugs.
  • Storm at Ebbtide by Virginia Ann Jacshuan ("A warm afternoon and a silly bet deteriorate into a sudden storm and Cody is lost at sea in the speedboat.")
  • Winter's Midnight Roar by Virginia Ann Jacshuan ("A battle at sea between the Riptide and a crew of modern pirates leaves Nick alone and believing that Cody's death is his fault.")
  • four pieces of art by Cathy Schein, Ann Larimer

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

Advertised as an all Riptide hurt/comfort zine, THE PILOT'S PRAYER was not to be missed, especially at a cover price that was amazingly low. It turns out to be every bit the bargain it seemed. THE PILOT'S PRAYER is that rarest of zines — a good quality, reasonably priced showcase for consistently fine material. Visually, THE PILOT'S PRAYER is a joy. Attention has been paid to details. It is perfect-bound with a blue cover printed in dark blue ink. The entire zine is typeset in an extremely readable typeface, on pale green deckled paper. It is spartanly unadorned — no presstype or gee-gaws to clutter. What you do get is 90 pages of material — which, due to the typesetting would equal a lot more in any conventionally typed zine. There's a smattering of artwork by several artists, all nice pieces, but sparse. Riptide has a small but tenacious following; it's a pity more interest hasn't been generated in this show, which has some of the most interesting, believable heroes we've seen lately. The adventures of this special triad — Cody, Nick, and Murray — are aptly displayed in the zine. Every story allows us to see the special camaraderie they share, and each character is treated equally well by the authors. Even some of the weaker material, such as "Fish Story" by Elaine Batterby, covers its lack of direction with its vivid character portrayals, which makes it an interesting read. Two lengthy stories are by Virginia Ann Jacshuan: "Storm at Ebbtide", a fine hurt/comfort in which Cody is caught out at sea during a storm on the smaller boat, the 'Ebbtide', and is hypothermic when Nick and Murray finally rescue him. There are wonderful scenes which follow, in a story which essentially explores the relationship between Nick and Cody and the macho veneers behind which they hide. My impression of Cody is that he is much more open, but it's a subjective opinion. Virginia's other story, "Winter's Midnight Roar," is a well-plotted, interesting tale with fully developed secondary characters, lots of twists and turns. It's essentially a "somebody-dies" story without somebody dying. All the agony, but it doesn't have to be forever. This author is truly a treasure. Also included is "Memorial" by Linda Knights, again dealing with death, but in a different way, and again, having the relationship as the focal point. "You Can't Go Back", a vignette by Carlotta Vaughan is a sensitive pick-up on a scene from the episode, Be True to Your School. Poetry by Sue-Anne Hartwick and Jean Thrower are all right, although bordering on schmaltz. It's hard to believe this is the first zine for this editor. There is some question whether or not there will be a second issue. My response is: Please! Do another. Do it as well and do it as inexpensively. On a scale of 1-10, I'd rate this one about an 8. [1]
Pilot's Prayer is an all Riptide zine with a heavy emphasis on the hurt comfort theme. "A Fish Story" by Elaine Batterby starts the theme by mixing a little fantasy in with the concern. Nick has disappeared overboard but a long and frantic search by Cody fails to turn up the body. Lt. Quinlan is notified and after a few well chosen words from Murray he offers his assistance. Nick suddenly reappears, alive and well but where he's been and who he's been with make up the humorous finale of the 'tale'. The plot is lighthearted and breezy and all three of the main characters are very true to the TV series. Even Quinlan's responses are on the mark. "Memorial" by Linda Knights delves deeper in the get'em theme with a psychological study on the relationship between Cody and Nick. Cody is having dreams, horribly realistic ones about Nick's death. As the story unfolds you learn more and more details about the dreams and, as Cody fears, it's starting to come true. Cody's reluctance to 'tell' the dream for fear of making it come true, his final confrontation with Nick on his dreams builds to a wonderful climax. Again, the characters are true to their TV counterparts. Linda explores Cody's difficulty in expressing his emotions and looks at Nick's patience and depth of understanding when dealing with his friend. Poetry - Most of the poems in this issue, "Peter Pan" by Sue-Anne Hartwick, "Play Ball" also by Hartwick, and "Shattered Illusions" by Jean Thrower, are derived from Episodes and pertain to feelings and emotions not fully expressed on the air. All are very well done and reveal a deeper look into the characters of Nick and Cody. "You Can't Go Back" by Carlotta Vaughan is a 'missing scene' story centering on the episode, "Be True to Your School". It gives a very plausible and intriguing theory on Nick's background. I'd like to have seen this on the aired episode. It might have been the best of the lot. "Storm at Ebbtide" by Virginia Ann Jacshuan needs to be read in stages or at least out in the open air. You'll have to come for deep breaths in this one. It gets very intense. In an attempt to prove that his skills with repairing the Ebbtide are unchallenable, Nick accepts a bet from Cody. He says he can repair the Ebbtide and still beat Nick and Murray back to King Harbor who will take the Riptide. Engine failure prevents Cody from getting back to King Harbor at all and he's stranded in the ocean during a vicious storm. Prevented from rescuing his friend due to the severe conditions, Nick wallows in guilt. When the weather lifts, they, with the help of Murray's computer locate and rescue Cody. However, he's in shock and nearly frozen to death. The ministrations that Nick and Murray administer are very touching. Especially Murray's bringing in his overheated computer equipment to help keep Cody warm. I can't say if the techniques used in keeping Cody warm are valid first aid procedures or not but they sure sound plausible and that's all that matters. But the strongest part of the story are the scenes after Cody is home from the hospital and back to his old self. Despite the emotional confessions from Nick, the obvious love and caring displayed by both Nick and Murray, Cody still finds it hard to accept their open affection. How he overcomes it is very touching. Once again, the characters are all in true form, dialogue, actions, motivations are all well thought out and in keeping with the men we saw on TV. "Winter"s Midnight Roar", by Virginia Ann Jacshuan has got to be to get' em to end all get'ems. Nick thinks he' s shot Cody during a fire fight on board the Riptide. Consumed with guilt and grief he briefly entertains the thought of suicide. Events unfold and his guild and despair build nearly pushing him over the edge. Only Murray's foresight prevents it. To reveal more details would diminish the impact of the plot. It's a finely woven piece of plotting that revolved on Nick and Cody's friendship, their love for one another and their willingness to sacrifice for each other. A wonderful study on their relationship and the good and bad aspects of it. Excellent story. Artwork - is very much in keeping with the tone of the zine. Cathy Schlein's work is up to it's usual standards of quality and reflect the emotion of the story extremely well. Ann Larimer's work is equally effective. There are only four pieces of art (plus the cover) in this issue but in this case, less is more. The tone of the stories did not require vast amounts of art. They stand very nicely on their own. The whole zine is very good looking, the bold print on the pale green paper is very easy on the eyes. The printer sometimes jumped to a new line in the middle of a sentence but once you got the hang of that little glitch it was no problem. A minor flaw in an otherwise beautiful publication. If you're a Riptide fan and just a fan of the hurt/comfort genre you'll love this one. I hope Cathy repeats it in issue #2. [2]
No matter how attached we are to the subject, works by first-time editors are generally approached with caution. Numerous typos, crooked paste-ups, mediocre stories, bad art and a certain level of illegibility Is expected—and tolerated, because we realIze this is being done "as a hobby." As with anything else, some people are better at their hobby than others, and for most conscientious zine buyers, this often translates into purchasing from the established editor rather than the neo when a choice has to be made. Considering the quality of many first efforts, this is wise decision making—in the short run. Over time this cautiousness could prevent many new zines displaying none of the aforementioned shortcomings, from breaking into the marketplace the way they should. And that would be a shame... Particularly in the case of PILOT'S PRAYER, a zine by a first-time editor not to be missed, no matter how many bad experiences you've had, or even how you feel about Riptide. Encased in perfect-bound, textured blue covers are 90 completely typeset pages of intelligent, emotionally affecting stories written with a style and originality one would have thought Impossible after so many years of repetitious hurt/comfort, male-bonding scenarios. The inside pages are printed on green parchment paper, giving off the desired "sea water" effect surrounding Its subjects. At $7.00 book rate, special handling. It's a steal, even for those most sensitive to the spiraling consumer price index. Of the five stories and three poems, only Elaine Batterby's A FISH STORY fails to provide a suitable climax. Lounging on deck one lazy afternoon, Nick is suddenly swept overboard, vanishing from Cody's sight in a matter of seconds. Mysteriously reappearing In his bunk a day later sporting bruises and a massive headache, Nick mumbles something about "mermaids" befng the cause of his disappearance. With scant evidence and even fewer clues, the guys set out to prove mermaids really are on the loose in Kings Harbor, and that Nick Is not simply spinning another "tall story" to aggravate Quinlan. Writing is straightforward, and at times, a bit pedestrian; but the story Is well told and interesting, although the pay-off is somewhat disappointing. MEMORIAL by Linda Knights centers around a recurring dream of Cody's, in which Nick meets death through his involvement with a woman, who, unknown to him at the time, will be a client in one of the agency's future cases. Even when the woman appears (giving reality to the dream), Cody Is unable to communicate his fear; silently watching the relationship grow until Nick's sudden announcement of marriage prompts him to reveal his nightmarish vision. Caught between true love and a "maybe/maybe not" prophecy from his best friend, Nick's reaction provides one of the story's real strengths. One of the things I really liked about this tale was the supporting character Marie (naturallyI). Never having watched the show with any regularity, I don't know If this Is a real character or the author's invention, but her relationship with Cody was an interesting subplot. Let's see more of this woman! Beautifully written and realistic in its portrayals, "Memorial" is a sure-fire, gut-wrencher that will retain its impact after many readings. Virginia Ann Jacshuan has contributed the zine's two most powerful tales, STORM AT EBBTIDE and WINTER'S MIDNIGHT ROAR. For the h/c aficionados among you, you're not going to do much better than this. Of the two, "Ebbtide" provides the most realistic (as these things go) setup. Finding themselves surrounded by sparkling water, balmy temperatures and lots of time on their hands, the Riptide (with Ebbtide In tow) takes off for a nearby Island, where Boz can conduct his weather experiments, Cody can work on the speedboat's engine, and Nick can get down to some serious sunbathing. Out of the (literally) clear blue sky, storm clouds appear, cutting short their various activities. Cody, sensitive as ever to criticism of his pride and joy, claims the Ebbtide js as good as she ever was, and challenges Messrs Bozlnsky & Ryder to a race back to the dock. So confident is he, the Riptide Is allowed several minutes head start; guaranteeing that when the lightening starts flashing and the waves begin crashing on deck, Cody will be all alone In the middle of the in ocean In a tiny little boat that doesn't work. Need I say more? WINTER tackles the subject from the "Oh, my God...he's dead and I killed him!" angle, but provides much more substance than one usually finds In stories of this type- Investigating a rash of attacks by modern day pirates, Cody gets caught In the crossfire when the boys come face-to-face with their quarry; and Nick is convinced that it was his bullet that sent the Blond overboard to his fate. One of the great things about having characters who live on a boat, is that when it's time for a body to disappear, dark, murky waters are conveniently located just the other side of the railing. The author takes full advantage of this, leaving Nick to search aimlessly among the waves, while providing cover for the pirate/kidnappers to make off with Cody. At this point I braced myself for the inevitable separation, and although those elements are there in quantity, I made an amazing discovery. Insplte of all the emotional confusion wrought by the above, everyone continued to work on the case. Not only did they work, they worked hard and kept going until they solved It. Don't let my colorful treatment lead you to believe Virginia Is doing anything less than top-notch storytelling. A certain amount of theatricality Is necessary; that is, after all, what most people are paying for. The main problem with most h/c scenarios is that the story is generally little more than a short break between the grieving and suffering. While I wouldn't classify "Storm at Ebbtide" or "Winter's Midnight Roar" as tales where the bonding aspects are secondary, I do feel there's a hell of a lot going on besides. What makes this pair even more of a standout, is the style and grace of the writing. Every word is chosen with care; every adjective provokes the desired response. Also included in this volume are some excellent poems by Sue-Anne Hartwlck and Jean Thrower, plus YOU CAN'T GO BACK by Carlotta Vaughn, based on the episode "Be True to Your School." Artwork by Catherine Schleln and Ann Larimer is superior. Although many zines feature more intricate work, what makes the illustrations standouts is their simplicity and direct relation to the story. You won't find much of it, but what there is fits like a glove. For future isssues I would suggest Cathy attempt to solicit a few lighter pieces, as the humorous side of the Riptide crew is as attractive and involving as the serious. The most impressive thing about PILOT'S PRAYER Is the effect of the zine as a whole. Rather than a hodge-podge of fiction, the stories flow together seamlessly, emphasizing the total picture rather than its parts. The colored covers and paper mentioned earlier add to the effect, and at 90 pages. It feels comfortable in your hand. The dedication page indicates that this is the first in what is a series of Riptide zilnes. Let me be the first to say, I hope so. [3]

Issue 2

The Pilot's Prayer 2 was published in May 1988 and has 138 pages.

cover of issue #2


  1. from Communications Console #1
  2. from Datazine #45 (1986)
  3. from Pop Stand Express #12