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Fast Ships, Black Sails

(Sir Hereward and Mister Fitz #2-Beyond the Sea Gate of the Sch)

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  472 ratings  ·  84 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
Paperback, 272 pages
Published October 1st 2008 by Night Shade (first published January 1st 2008)
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Average rating 3.49  · 
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Jan 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Boojum / Elizabeth Bear & Sarah Monette -- Castor on troubled waters / Rhys Hughes -- I begyn as I mean to go on / Kage Baker -- Avast, abaft! / Howard Waldrop -- Elegy to Gabrielle, patron saint of healers, whores, and righteous thieves / Kelly Barnhill -- Skillet and saber / Justin Howe -- Nymph's child / Carrie Vaughn -- 68* 07' 15" N, 31* 36' 44" W / Conrad Williams -- Ironface / Michael Moorcock -- Pirate solutions / Katherine Sparrow -- We sleep on a thousand waves beneath the sta
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.
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
Mayank Agarwal
It’s anthology of pirate stories, I only read the story Araminta, or, The Wreck of the Amphidrake by Naomi Novik

I loved the world building and the main character, the story has the potential for a proper novel. The world setting is similar to ours 17th-18th century earth, time of ships and pirates, only this world has other wonders and dangers afloat, magic and beasts the likes of Leviathan. The plot revolves around our protagonist, a young woman sailing to meet her betrothed. She is one of the
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
Jamie Collins
May 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
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
Mar 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
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.
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.
May 29, 2011 rated it liked it
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. ...more
Aug 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Aug 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Really good collection. Favorites were The Boojum, Beyond the Sea Gate of the Scholar Pirates of Sarsköe, The Whale Below and The Voyage of the Iguana
Chris Jackson
May 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
A great anthology of pirate tales. Quite varied in style and substance. Some I loved, some I only liked...but well worth the read.
Jun 17, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a somewhat mediocre collection of pirate stories. They all involve pirates somehow, a number of them were fairly traditional pirate stories.

My favorite of the bunch was “Elegy to Gabrielle, Patron Saint of Healers, Whores, and Righteous Thieves” by Kelly Barnhill this was a beautiful story that was masterfully told.

Others in this collection that I really enjoyed were: “Boojum” by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette, “Skillet and Saber” by Justin Howe, “The Nymph’s Child” by Carrie Vaughn,
Alexander Gent
Jan 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Well swash my buckles and give me a jolly Roger, this was a treat. As I have chronicled many times here, I love an anthology it does not matter to me that they can be so variable - they speak to the Saturday morning cartoon fan in me. You get a fast sugar rush of concentrated storytelling and sometimes that is what you need to scratch the itch. Ann and Jeff VanderMeer are accomplished editors and writers so when you combine them with a topic as fertile as pirates then the result is going to be g ...more
Sep 09, 2017 rated it liked it
The stories by Nix, Novik, Batteiger and Baker were the best and more than a few of the others were worth reading. There were unfortunately a handful of stinkers too. I rated each story and they averaged out to 2.88, which rounds up to three stars.
Sheldon Wiebe
Aug 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Pirates in space. Rat pirates. Online pirates. Science fiction pirates. Fantasy pirates. Horror pirates.

If you love pirate tales, this is for you.

Of the eighteen tales included, only one was unreadable and several were brilliant (especially entries by Garth Nix and Naomi Novik).
Oct 16, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

A fair amount of dulse but an equal amount of oysters, and a few very lovely pearls.
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
As with most anthologies, there were a few I didn't like, but overall it was a good collection. I like how broad the definition of pirate got (space pirate, yay). ...more
Dec 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
An enjoyable collection of short stories about pirates. I'll write a full review soon. ...more
Oct 19, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Jul 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: anthologies
I chose Fast Ships, Black Sails because I love fun Pirates of the Caribbean style swashbuckling and several authors I like (Sarah Monette, Naomi Novik, and Garth Nix) had contributed stories. It was a bit of a slog to get through, especially in the middle, and overall I found it to be a tepid sort of mixed bag – most stories were at least okay but there was nothing I really loved.

Boojum by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette – Space pirates in a living sailfish ship are set upon by brain-harvesting
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
Apr 09, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Alex Telander
Nov 12, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Cyn Armistead
May 03, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Apr 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sff, slash-interest
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
Margaret Fisk
Nov 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 11, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
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 dis ...more
Aug 03, 2015 rated it liked it
I'm not a fan of short stories collections. This is really just a fact that can't be overcome. That said, that's mostly because I find it hard to take all the stories together, when in reality they stand alone. I did really enjoy several of those stories (although at least a few of them I definitely did not enjoy). My favorites included. "Ariminta," "Boojum," and "The Nymph's Child." (Perhaps it says something about my tastes that all of those stories have female protagonists. What can I say, I ...more
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Great stories in the book, Rhys Hughes' was best 1 13 Apr 12, 2009 07:04PM  

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Ann VanderMeer is an American publisher and editor, and the second female editor of the horror magazine Weird Tales. She is the founder of Buzzcity Press.

Her work as Fiction Editor of Weird Tales won a Hugo Award. Work from her press and related periodicals has won the British Fantasy Award, the International Rhysling Award, and appeared in several year's best anthologies. Ann was also the founder

Other books in the series

Sir Hereward and Mister Fitz (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • Fantasy: The Best of the Year, 2008 Edition
  • Year's Best Fantasy 8
  • The Best of Jim Baen's Universe #2 (The Best of Jim Baen's Universe)
  • The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2008: Twenty-First Annual Collection
  • Year's Best Australian Science Fiction And Fantasy, Volume 4
  • The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume 3
  • Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery
  • Rags & Bones: New Twists on Timeless Tales
  • Rogues
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30 likes · 5 comments
“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.” 3 likes
“Come back to me safe, Kate," Grace said, whispering, because her throat had closed and her own tears were falling. She had so much to tell Kate, so much more advice to give, but there wasn't time, because the tide was turning and David was no doubt waiting at the pier. But she had time for one last piece of advice. One last, desperate plea. "And for God's sake, don't fall in love with your captain.” 0 likes
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