From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Saintly pirates, loony pirates, pirate cooks and talking animal-buccaneers slash and swagger through the Caribbean, the Internet, the perpetually frozen Atlantic and the seas of distant planets in this collection of 18 original stories. The anthology begins strongly with Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monettes Boojum, a tale of one space pirates self-discovery, and concludes equally well with a gentleman rogue and his magical puppet in Garth Nixs Beyond the Sea Gate of the Scholar-Pirates of Sarsköe. The levity of Castor on Troubled Waters, Rhys Hughess playful romp through time and space, and Howard Waldrops conflation of fictional pirates, Avast, Abaft!, are balanced by 68° 07' 15" N, 31° 36' 44" W, Conrad Williamss baffling little chunk of horror. These ingenious variations on a theme deserve to be savored slowly. (Dec.)
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The VanderMeers impressed some high-quality scribes into contributing, and, whether comic or dramatic, almost every one of this pirate-themed anthology’s 18 stories is well worth reading. Naomi Novik’s “Araminta, or, The Wreck of the Amphidrake” is a beaut of a variation on the theme of the (disguised) lady who outwits pirates and receives her heart’s desire. Rachel Swirsky’s “Adventures of Captain Blackheart Wentworth” is a wonderfully funny tale of pirate rats. Carrie Vaughn’s “Nymph’s Child” tells the bittersweet story of what happens after a female pirate is spared because of pregnancy. Howard Waldrop’s “Avast, Abaft!” takes off on Gilbert and Sullivan, while Rhys Hughes’ “Castor on Troubled Waters” is a complex, comic story of pirates and gambling debts. Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette’s “Boojum,” while referencing another deucedly clever Victorian’s work, is the scary tale of a semi-sentient pirate spaceship. The other 12 are mostly up to snuff with those half-dozen. By the way, the editors’ preface includes various references that those interested in piracy may find very interesting. --Frieda Murray