Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Fast Ships, Black Sails -- Edited by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer

I couldn't resist buying this book of pirate stories. I've read three of the tales so far, so I thought I'd make a couple of comments.

First up is "The Whale Below" by Jayme Lynn Blaschke. I'd read about this one on Blaschke's blog, so I went for it first, and I'm glad I did. I got a big kick out of it. I don't know if it was Blaschke's intention, but I was reminded of some of the old high-adventure SF from the '50s digests like Imagination. This is a fast-action yarn with (of course) pirates, but it also has airships, whales, humor, and action galore.

I was hooked by the first paragraph of Rachel Swirsky's "The Adventures of Captain Black Heart Wentworth: a Nautical Tale" because I learned that the aforementioned Captain Wentworth is the "Rat Pirate of the Gully by the Oak." The tale is a condensed novel, and all the usual pirate tropes are there, but made charming by the cast of characters.

In "Avast, Abaft!" Howard Waldrop takes two or three well-known stories with pirates, shakes them around like dice in a cup, and rolls them out. A moderately amusing trifle.

I plan to read more stories in this volume, since a lot of the others look good to me. If you're a pirate fan, you should check it out.


Gar Haywood said...

Hey, Bill, how appropriate do you think these stories would be for youngsters? My son Jackson (6) is on a pirate tip right now and I'm always looking for new stuff to read to him at bedtime.

Bill Crider said...

These might be a little too much for him. They're definitely for grown-ups. I think he'd like the one about the Rat Pirate, though.

Juri said...

Bill, who's the writer of "The Adventures of Captain Black Heart Wentworth: a Nautical Tale"? I don't think you said that.

Word up: "noperse". (If any Finnish reader notices this, he'll burst out laughing.)

Bill Crider said...

Thanks for pointing that out, Juri. I've added it.