I came by my love of priate stories dishonestly, not by Robert Louis Stevenson or Rafael Sabatini. I was eight years old when my cousin Bobby Driscoll played the boy in the Disney version of Treasure Island and from then on I became a fan of pirate stories, fiction and non-fiction alike.
Fast Ships, Black Sails edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer is an anthology of short stories that deals with all things piratical and in just about every way imaginable. There is whimsy, there is violence, there is adventure, there is realism, there is fantasy. What is remarkable--and how often can you say this?--there's not a bad one in the bunch. And most of them are excellent.
Of course with a line-up that includes Michael Moorcock, Elizabeth Bear and Naomi Novik it would be difficult to go wrong. I mention these three because I enjoyed their stories the most. But each piece takes an element of pirate legend and gives it new--and sometimes startling--life.
An impressive and enjoyable book for the fireplace nights ahead.