My being uninspired to write much about Fast Ships, Black Sails Edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer (US, UK, Canada, Indibound) actually makes sense because I was quite uninspired while reading it. I found the majority of the stories to simply be uninteresting. I’m not sure why – it could be that the stories tend toward a more literary side than I fully appreciated, it could be that I’m not really into pirates (which I’m not sure is true), it could be that I read this just before (and a bit after) the a book I was very excited to read, and it could be that the stories just didn’t appeal to me. Whatever case is, I simply didn’t enjoy reading most of the stories in this anthology, or I didn’t enjoy them enough to care.
Of course there were a few that I did enjoy – generally the stories that tend towards the absurd (people who know me and my sense of humor well would not find this surprising in the least). “Castor on Troubled Waters” by Rhys Hughes and “Voyage of the Iguana” by Steve Aylett are prime examples of these sorts and they both amused me greatly. I also quite enjoyed “Elegy to Gabrielle, Patron Saint of Healers, Whores, and Righteous Thieves” by Kelly Barnhill. But the rest failed to stand out at all. And one comment that I don’t want to forget – just how many gender-bending twists with surprise female captains are necessary? By the end of the anthology, I couldn’t help but think ‘surprise, yet another female captain’. I understand (and approve of) the idea, but it just felt way overdone by the end.
So, Fast Ships, Black Sails is an anthology that really missed the mark with me (with only a few exceptions out of the 19 stories). Tread at your own risk with this one. 4.5/10