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Paperback Fast Ships, Black Sails Book

ISBN: 1597800945

ISBN13: 9781597800945

Fast Ships, Black Sails

(Part of the Sir Hereward and Mister Fitz Series and John James Series)

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Good*

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Book Overview

Do you love the sound of a peg leg stomping across a quarterdeck? Or maybe you prefer a parrot on your arm, a strong wind at your back? Adventure, treasure, intrigue, humor, romance, danger -- and, yes, plunder Oh, the Devil does love a pirate -- and so do readers everywhere Swashbuckling from the past into the future and space itself, Fast Ships, Black Sails, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, presents an incredibly entertaining volume of original...

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Fiction Literature & Fiction

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Excellent pirate anthology!

This is a very strong anthology with some absolutely excellent pirate fiction. The stories range from traditional pirate tales to genre spoofs to tales with a touch of fantasy to space pirate stories, and I enjoyed the heck out of nearly all of them. Just a couple fell flat for me, but overall, this is a fantastic anthology that would be a great addition to the pirate section of your bookshelf. You don't have a pirate section? I can't be the only one who does. I think my favorite stories are "Boojum" by Elizabeth Bear & Sarah Monette, "The Nymph's Child" by Carrie Vaughn, and "Pirate Solutions" by Katherine Sparrow. "Boojum" is the aforementioned space pirate story, narrated by Black Alice, a junior engineer on a living ship. Boojums are strange space creatures that allow humans to use them as transports; they will allow their crew to pillage ships as long as the boojum gets to devour the ship itself-and whatever crew is left on board. Alice develops a bond with the ship, and when they're attacked by the vicious Mi-Go (yes, that is a Lovecraft reference), Black Alice must do something desperate to survive. This is a very strange story, but it is incredibly imaginative and very well-written. "The Nymph's Child," written by Carrie Vaughn of the Kitty Norville series, is about a woman who had sailed with pirates disguised as a man. When they are captured, the captain-who is her lover-tells the Marshal that Gregory Lark es actually Grace Lark and is with child. Years later and Grace keeps a tavern and has a proud teenage daughter who seems desperate for adventure. When an old face shows up and asks the secret to crossing the Strait of the Iron Teeth, where a dragon is rumored to dwell, Grace must face up to her past and come to terms with her daughter's desires. I adored this story; the blend of fantasy with a more traditional woman-in-drag pirate tale is very well done. "Pirate Solutions" is another genre-bending story with three hackers named Jack, Anne, and Mary finding a bottle of bone rum and setting sail with their group of cyber pirates. And I mean that literally, they set sail on a semi-restored sloop with the uncanny knowledge of their pirate forebears: Calico Jack Rackham, Anne Bonny, and Mary Read. The story is a strange blend of sailing-the-seas and cyberpunk piracy and a ragtag group of pirates looking for a home. It was really difficult to pick just three favorites; I could go on and on and on about how great the stories are in this anthology, but I unfortunately have papers to grade and other stuff to write, alas! But you! I know yer not a yellow-bellied landlubber, so get thee to a bookstore and pick up this anthology! Just don't pillage it. Bookstore managers don't look too kindly on those bent on plunder.

Read like a pirate!!! ARRRGH!!!

An anthology of short stories about pirates past, present and elsewhen that was generally quite a hoot. Elizabeth Bear & Sarah Monette's story "Boojum" is about a pirate living space ship and a very low ranking pirate on that ship. "Skillet and Saber" by Justin Howe is about the cook's mate on a pirate ship and his adventures. "The Nymph's Child" by Carrie Vaughn is about a woman pirate who pleads her belly to save her neck, when she is caught, but then must give up her grown daughter so she can sail the seas. "Araminta, Or the Wreck of the Amphidrake" by Naomi Novik is dragon-free, but has a title character a young woman who is both titled, and when confronted with pirates, becomes their leader. There are other wonderful stories in here, but these are some that spoke to me.

Some great stories

Naomi Novik's name drew me to this anthology, since I like her Temeraire series so much, but the standout story of this collection is the first one, BOOJUM by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette. Of the others, some were enjoyable diversions, while others had me skipping pages. Some were engaging stories, others felt self-indulgent (taste is an individual thing, after all). An anthology like this can serve a couple of purposes - not just enjoyment for itself but also as a taster of various authors' work. I've found a couple of new ones to follow up, so that's good. There is such diversity that it doesn't necessarily read well story after story, but as a dipper, one story at a time rather than several in a row. It's an engaging and varied collection of bonbons, pirates in all sorts of times and places, not all involving peglegs and parrots. But the one I've read over again, the one that will stay with me, is Boojum.


While this may not be the first pirate story anthology, Fast Ships, Black Sails doesn't hold back, with its captivating cover featuring a classic pirate standing proud at the prow of his ship, while small glowing-eye dragons fly around, a tiny dragon skeleton sits on his shoulder, and in the cloudy distance is what appears to be a ghost pirate ship. This collection edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer features a combination of classic swashbuckling pirate tales, as well as fascinating stories of the fantastic from authors like Conrad Williams, Garth Nix, Elizabeth Bear, and many more. In the opening story, "Boojum" from Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette - possibly the best in the collection - we are in space, and the mighty spaceships are living entities that grow and change and have mouths; they are biomechanical. The authors do an excellent job of creating an interesting world that leaves the reader wanting more. In Naomi Novik's -- author of the successful Temeraire series - "Araminta, or, The Wreck of the Amphidrake," the daughter of a very important noble is kidnapped by pirates and thought murdered, but Araminta is a special woman with some unique powers allowing her to outwit the pirates who have taken her hostage. In Michael Moorcock's too short story "Ironface," there are pirates in space and Ironface is the most feared in the solar system, who makes the trip to Venus to accept the expensive bribe that he collects each decade, then his ship, Pain, floats back out into the dark realms of space. Fast Ships, Black Sails has the perfect pirate story for any reader, as it presents both the classic and the unusual stories of privateers and buccaneers sailing the high seas, as well as the dark matter clouds of the cosmos. Find more reviews, as well as a selection of my writing, and a link to the book review podcast BookBanter at

Pirates Pick Particular Prose

An entertaining collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy pirate stories. Eighteen all-original pirate tales, all good. The VanderMeer's have done several previous collections (Steampunk, New Weird) and this is as good. Authors include Kage Baker (I Begyn as I Mean to Go On), David Freer & Eric Flint (Pirates of the Suara Sea), Michael Moorcock (Iron Face) and a story by Garth Nix (Beyond the Sea, Gate of the Scholar-Pirates of Sarskoe). In total, stories that make it feel ok to talk like a pirate. Though we don't recommend getting a peg leg just for the authenticity. A parrot would be ok though.
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