Fast Ships, Black Sails
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Fast Ships, Black Sails

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3.41 of 5 stars 3.41  ·  rating details  ·  313 ratings  ·  65 reviews
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 An...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published October 1st 2008 by Night Shade Books
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Treasure Island by Robert Louis StevensonBloody Jack by L.A. MeyerPeter Pan by J.M. BarriePirates! by Celia ReesThe Princess Bride by William Goldman
Pirates!
62nd out of 357 books — 472 voters
Night by Elie WieselThe Nostradamus Prophecies by Mario ReadingThe Fortunate Pilgrim by Mario Puzo1776 by David McCulloughIn Jail with Charles Dickens by Alfred Trumble
Great Non-Fiction to Read
32nd out of 104 books — 2 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,081)
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Wealhtheow
A collection of pirate stories, ranging from sf to fantasy to a HMS Pinafore/Peter Pan cross-over. The stand-outs were:
"Boojum," by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette. A low-level grunt on a living space-ship grows increasingly uneasy about their latest cargo.

"Skillet and Saber," by Justin Howe. Hilarious tale of the cook's apprentice on a pirate ship. So good that I intend to seek out more of Howe's work.

"Pirate Solutions," by Katherine Sparrow. Futuristic coders start drinking bone rum and beco...more
Jamie
I’ve only read a few of these stories so far, and I don’t usually enjoy short stories that aren’t part of a larger series, so don’t put much stock in my rating.

I thought these were well-written:
"Boojum" by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear - a living spaceship run by a pirate crew.

"I Begyn As I Mean To Go On", Kage Baker. She was a hell of a writer and this is a good read, although the opening scene is the best part.

"Araminta, or, The Wreck of the Amphidrake" by Naomi Novik. Fantasy, cyberpunkish...more
Sheila
The stories I liked I really really liked...particularly "Araminta, or, The Wreck of the Amphidrake" by Naomi Novik (awesome, awesome heroine) and "A Cold Day in Hell" by Paul Batteiger, where the ocean froze over at the turn of the 17th century and ships catch the wind but slide on skates.

I read Araminta out loud to a friend, and was intrigued by the different way I understood the story, speaking it instead of reading it to myself. It made everything more immediate, since I couldn't stop and lo...more
Lori
Like most short story collections, this one is a decidedly mixed bag. A few are incredible, while the others barely mediocre.

The best of the collection are:

"Boojum" by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette

"Skillet and Saber" by Justin Howe

"Pirate Solutions" by Katherine Sparrow

"Pirates of the Suara Sea" by David Freer and Eric Flint

"Beyond the Sea Gate of the Scholar Pirates of Sarskoe" by Garth Nix

The rest of the collection I cannot begin to recommend, even as a way to pass the time.
Trin
After slogging through the first story in this collection, I realized that rather than make myself grind through the whole book, I could just read the one story I checked it out from the library for: the one by Naomi Novik, which was excellent. And now, mission accomplished, I can take the book back, guilt-free!

This may seem like a duh thing to most of you, but I feel very adult and proud of this revelation.
Shauna
Some traditional pirate stories, some pirate stories with a twist. All fall within the fantasy or sf genre. If you like pirate stories, you'll love this book of short stories.
David
I usually avoid mixed short story collections. Even when a single author writes every story in a collection, the results can be mixed. But if you like the author, then you will usually like the overall collection. With a different author contributing each story, the chance for positive results drastically decreases. Fast Ships, Black Sails is a prime example of this.

The good aspect of having so many different authors writing such a wide range of stories is that you're almost guaranteed to find...more
Barbara Martin
In the VandeMeer Anthology pirates have moved into space and beyond, chartering the vast unknowns while making their livelihood at what they know best. Within these covers is the perfect pirate story for any reader, presenting classic and unique stories of buccaneers sailing the seas of the cosmos.


Boogum by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette – This is about piracy in space with unusual cargo taken from a captured freighter and a semi-sentient spaceship with Captain Black Alice who finds herself ma...more
Cynthia Armistead
I meant to write this review with the book in my hands, which is really the only way I can properly review any anthology. Alas, the volume had to be returned to the library before that happened (and before that, Sam was enjoying it). As it is, some stories just didn't register strongly enough for me to remember them.

On the other hand the stories I do recall were really, really good, and if I could rate them on their own they'd get 4s and 5s.

I'd read Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette's "Boojum" on...more
le-trombone
An anthology of stories of pirates, in a wide variety of settings. What the best stories seem to have in common is a use of pirates as a background to the story.

“Boojum” by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette. Piracy aboard a living ship.

“Castor on Troubled Waters” by Rhys Hughes A very tall tale of piracy at the local pub.

“I Begyn as I Mean to Go On” by Kage Baker The newest members of a pirate crew follow a truly unlucky pirate captain.

“Avast, Abaft!” by Howard Waldrop The Pirates of Penzan...more
Helmut
Weltraumpiraten gegen Seedrachen

Die Herausgeber haben Mut: Direkt die erste Geschichte ist eine reinrassige Science-Fiction-Story, und sie setzt die Richtung, in die alle Geschichten dieser Sammlung gehen. Wer auf der Suche nach den klassischen Piraten mit Papagei und Hakenhand ist, muss sich woanders umschauen, denn in "Fast Ships, Black Sails" wird kreativ und mit viel Augenzwinkern mit dem Thema Piraterie umgegangen.

Von der schon erwähnten Auftaktgeschichte "Boojum", die Weltraumpiraten auf i...more
Alex Telander
FAST SHIPS, BLACK SAILS EDITED BY ANN AND JEFF VANDERMEER: 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 swash...more
Res
A collection of speculative pirate stories -- not without flaws, but far better than average.

Highlights:

Naomi Novik's "Araminta, or the Wreck of the Amphidrake," a marvelous age-of-sail-with-sorcery story where the plucky heroine, instead of being rewarded only with a chance to vanish into a stifling marriage with the man she likes rather than the one she hates, actually gets the life you'd wish for her.

Katherine Sparrow's "Pirate Solutions," in which a bunch of geek programmers are transformed...more
Margaret
I resisted buying this for a long time, because I am really not a short story person and thus don't usually get along well with anthologies, but eventually I broke down and bought it. It turned out to be rather a mixed bag: some really good stuff, especially near the beginning and the end, but some I was less enthralled by (and a couple I frankly skipped, after reading a page or two and not being hooked).

I really liked Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette's "Boojum", about a living spaceship and one...more
KiplingKat
A thoroughly enjoyable collection of modern-penned pirate tales (short stories) of all kinds, from straight up, genre cross overs with SciFi and Fantasy, the dramatic, the action packed, and the hilarious. Great stuff.

The only quibble I have as someone who has actually sailed a tall ship, in one story the use of nautical terms is unintentionally, embarrassingly uninformed. If you don't know the lingo, you shouldn't try to write it.

But that is the only quibble I have, otherwise I loved this colle...more
Margaret Fisk
Fast Ships, Black Sails is a pirate-focused anthology that has some wonderful tales in it. This anthology spans the range of the past, future, and even pirates with fur over more than their chins. I could not name a favorite as I almost always found the next story as captivating as the previous, and only one story did not resonate with me at all, but it may very well be the favorite for someone else. The stories were sweet, creepy, thoughtful, and just down right strange, held together by a love...more
Maura
This was a mixed bag for me. I liked the stories by the authors I already knew I liked: Garth Nix, Kage Baker, Elizabeth Bear & Naomi Novik. There were a few other ones that stuck in my brain, many more that were forgettable and some that I still don't think i really understood. I mean, I appreciate that pirates can be in many time periods and planetary systems and possibly parallel universes. But I really don't do well with narratives that parcel out information bit by bit because isn't the...more
Deanna Knippling
I wanted to like this book. I really did. But I just didn't.

I felt like the book was filled with what the editors considered shining, irresistible jewels - that had nothing in common. From slapstick in-jokes to steam punk. I started to skip stories. I dreaded coming to the ends of stories, because then I'd have to start something completely different. It was like the editors picked the most original stories, the ones that took the biggest risks - but didn't make sure those were the stories whos...more
Jen
Yar! I am now convinced that I will develop a time machine. When I do, I will go back in time a couple of years and tell the editors of this collection exactly what they need to include to make me the most happy. That's the most likely explanation for the sheer awesome contained in these pages.

There are sky pirates, space pirates, computer pirates, and ship pirates. There are people hunting them, people using them, and people becoming them. The stories are consistently well-written and delightf...more
Medrith Nuttle
Science fiction/fantasy pirate stories, huzzah! Several of these stories were truly fine, some just ok, some didn't work for me at all. I bought the book for the Kage Baker story "I Begyn as I Mean to Go On", which is an excellent straight-out pirate story. Kage is, alas, gone (although her sister Kathleen Bartholomew is doing a great job of carrying on her work). There are a lot of her stories out there that I don't have yet, so I take every opportunity to buy another. There's plenty of other g...more
Ken McDouall
Generally disappointing collection of pirate tales. A few are innovative and wonderful, but most are just pedestrian re-hashings of pirate cliches.
Julia
An anthology of short stories about pirates past, present and elsewhen. Elizabeth Bear & Sarah Monette’s story “Boojum” takes place on a living pirate space ship. “Skillet and Saber” by Justin Howe is about the cook's mate on a pirate ship. “The Nymph’s Child” by Carrie Vaughn is about a woman pirate who pleads her belly to save her neck, but must give up her grown daughter so she can now sail the seas. “Araminta, Or the Wreck of the Amphidrake” by Naomi Novik is dragon-free, but has as a ti...more
Marinda Bland
I checked this book out from the library after watching the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie because, I am ashamed to say, I wanted a more satisfying pirate story. I found it in Kage Baker's "I Begyn as I Mean to Go On." As a collection of stories, it is highly varied (though not always in a good way). I was surprised and pleased by the number of stories that had female pirate protagonists, and I will search all the rest of my days for a bottle of bone rum. A girl has to have something to li...more
James
AN AMAZING BOOK
Misakyra
A good mix of sci-fi and fantasy pirate stories. I may be alone in my opinion, but the highlight for me was "Skillet and Saber" by Justin Howe. The food described was alternately disgusting or horrifying, but there was an odd sense of culinary ingenuity to it that I really liked. Other good stories were "Boojum" by Elizabeth bear and Sarah Monette, and "Pirate Solutions" by Katherine Sparrow.

Bottom line: Get this if you like pirate stories.
Donald
This collection is a mixed bag. It started fairly well, but after the first story dropped off until about 2/3 of the way through. After that it was strong again, but the drop off was a bit too much to rate this book any higher.

Stories worth a read were from these authors.

Elizabeth Bear & Sarah Monette
David Freer & Eric Flint
Paul Batteiger
Naomi Novik
Jayme Lynn Blaschke
Garth Nix

The rest I didn't find worth the time.
Clickety
The short stories were too tightly packed with characters and details... I felt like I was studying for an exam rather than reading for pleasure. It was like it wasn't enough to have stories about pirates. No, you had to have rival pirates and descriptions of various parts of the ship and names and job descriptions for each of the crew members and a detailed explanation of the cargo on the ship they captured... blah blah blah.
Naomi
Short stories are such tasty reads and this tome of high to urban fantasty piratical tales is a particularly yummy nosh for lovers of both types of broad genre (pirates, fantasy/sci-fi).

True to the genres, there's a lot of swash to be buckled and gender to be bended, freedom to be claimed and tricks to be employed for treasure.

Sail along and have yer grog to swill in these sometimes dark, sometimes merry adventures!
Catherine
This was a definitely mixed read for me. I liked the beginnings of several of the stories and would like to see the characters from Novik's story, for instance, developed at length. But there wasn't enough "story" in here for it and the other stories I liked to make up for what didn't work for me. A few too many stories that went nowhere or left me with a "So what?" reaction for me to enjoy this book fully.
Vasha7
Some of the more notable stories here were "Boojum" by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette; "The Nymph's Child" by Carrie Vaughn; "Araminta, or, the Wreck of the Amphidrake" by Naomi Novik; "The Adventures of Captain Black Heart Wentworth: A Nautical Tail" by Rachel Swirsky; "The Whale Below" by Jayme Lynn Blaschke. On the whole, easily digested and easily forgotten.
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Great stories in the book, Rhys Hughes' was best 1 13 Apr 12, 2009 07:04PM  
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Jeff VanderMeer's most recent fiction is the NYT-bestselling Southern Reach trilogy (Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance), all released in 2014. The series has been acquired by publishers in 15 other countries and Paramount Pictures/Scott Rudin Productions have acquired the movie rights. His Wonderbook (Abrams Image), the world's first fully illustrated, full-color creative writing guide, won...more
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“Araminta had generally considered the laws of etiquette as the rules of the chase, and divided them into categories: those which everyone broke, all the time; those which one could not break without being frowned at; and those which caused one to be quietly and permanently left out of every future invitation to the field.” 1 likes
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