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Fast Ships, Black Sails    edited by Ann VanderMeer Amazon.com order for
Fast Ships, Black Sails
by Ann VanderMeer
Order:  USA  Can
Night Shade, 2008 (2008)
Paperback
* * *   Reviewed by Alex Telander

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 with 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 biomechanical entities that grow and change and have mouths. The authors do an excellent job of creating an interesting world that leaves the reader wanting more. In Araminta, or, The Wreck of the Amphidrake by Naomi Novik - author of the successful Temeraire series the daughter of a very important noble is kidnapped by pirates and thought murdered. But Araminta is a special woman with unique powers, allowing her to outwit the pirates who have taken her hostage. In Michael Moorcock's too short story, Ironface is the most feared pirate in the solar system, who makes a 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 classic and unusual stories of privateers and buccaneers sailing both the high seas and the dark matter clouds of the cosmos.

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