Res's Reviews > Fast Ships, Black Sails

Fast Ships, Black Sails by Ann VanderMeer
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's review
May 17, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: sff, slash-interest
Read in May, 2009

A collection of speculative pirate stories -- not without flaws, but far better than average.


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 into pirates (though I'd like very much to know exactly what the code they're writing actually does). A bit of nonexplicit but nice M/F/F in this story is why I tagged the collection slash-interest.

Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette's "Boojum," sf with living, sentient pirate ships that eat their enemies.

Rhys Hughes' "Castor on Troubled Waters," which is basically a pub joke, but a funny one.

Kage Baker's "I Begyn As I Mean To Go On," a revenge tale of a fairly traditional sort where innocents stumble into a guilty party's just desserts, and David Freer and Eric Flint's "Pirates of the Suara Sea," where the fun is seeing the trap sprung from the POV of the avenger.

Where stories go wrong, it's either because they're all quirky or romantical atmospherics that add up to nothing or because they wildly overestimate the hilariousness of their premise.

Garth Nix's "Beyond the Sea-Gate of the Scholar-Pirates of Sarskoe" is a big cheat; the scholar-pirates of the title are long dead, replaced by something much less interesting.

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