Monday, November 10, 2008

Fast Ships, Black Sails

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.


pattinase (abbott) said...

Naomi Novik and Charles Ardai are quite a couple, aren't they?

Vince said...

Bobby Driscoll from The Window is your cousin, Ed? I had no idea.

Ed Gorman said...

Yes, my mom is/was his aunt. I sort of remember him during the war years and then in the Fifties when he was hot. He had a terrible sad end. There are a few serious articles around about him, how he was into Sartre when he was sixteen and not getting jobs because of his acne. He ended up doing an avant garde movie with one of Andy Warhol's crews. He'd hoped it would bring him notice but despite it having some excellent scenes it flopped. He wound up a junkie and a homeless man. He tried to stop but the methadone killed him.