Fast Ships, Black Sails–Pirate Antho Details

Although Night Shade is still working on the cover, they have announced the pirate anthology on their blog and in their online catalog, so I figured I should post the info here, too. Ann and I are so excited about this anthology–it just kicks so much ass. So many great adventure stories, written at a very high level. We’ve also chosen a selection of new and established writers, which is a bit of a risk in the current publishing environment, but one you can help us out with. Send a message that you’re as interested in new talent as in your favorites–pre-order the anthology today! A high number of pre-orders will continue to justify (1) open reading periods (where we got a lot of our best stuff) and (2) a commitment to publishing the next generation now. Honestly, this is over 100,000 words of piratey goodness. As cool an antho as I’ve ever been associated with.

Here’s the catalog copy and TOC:

Do you love the sound of a peg leg stomping across a quarterdeck? Or maybe you prefer a parrot on your arm, a strong wind at your back? Adventure, treasure, intrigue, humor, romance, danger–and, yes, plunder. Oh, the Devil does love a pirate–and so do readers everywhere.

Swashbuckling from the past into the future and space itself, Fast Ships, Black Sails, edited by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer, presents an incredibly entertaining volume of original stories guaranteed to make you walk and talk like a pirate.

Come along for the voyage with bestselling authors Naomi Novik, Garth Nix, Carrie Vaughn, Dave Freer, Michael Moorcock, and Eric Flint, as well as several new writers and such stellar talents as Kage Baker, Sarah Monette, Elizabeth Bear, Steve Aylett, and Conrad Williams–all offering up a veritable treasure chest of piratical adventure, the likes of which has never been seen in the four corners of the Earth. Highlights include a brand-new Garth Nix Sir Hereward & Mr. Fitz novella, as the two clever ne’er-do-wells storm the sea-gates of the scholar-pirates of Sarkoe.

If ever you had a yearning for adventure on the high seas, now’s the time to indulge it, with Fast Ships, Black Sails. You’ll return with a sword shoved through your sash, booty in a safe harbor, and beer on your breath. We promise.

Introduction: “Raising Anchor” – Ann & Jeff VanderMeer
“Boojum” – Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette
“TBA” – Naomi Novik
“Avast, Abaft!” – Howard Waldrop
“I Begyn as I Mean to Go On” – Kage Baker
“Castor on Troubled Waters” – Rhys Hughes
“Elegy for Gabrielle, Patron Saint of Healers, Whores and Righteous Thieves” – Kelly Barnhill
“Skillet and Saber” – Justin Howe
“The Nymph’s Child” – Carrie Vaughn
“68Ëš06’N, 31Ëš40’W” – Conrad Williams
“Pirate Solutions” – Katherine Sparrow
“We Sleep on a Thousand Waves” – Brendan Connell
“Pirates of the Suara Sea” – David Freer & Eric Flint
“Voyage of the Iguana” – Steve Aylett
“Iron Face” – Michael Moorcock
“A Cold Day in Hell” – Paul Batteiger
“Captain Blackheart Wentworth” – Rachel Swirsky
“The Whale Below” – Jayme Lynn Blaschke
“Beyond the Sea Gate of the Scholar-Pirates of Sarskoe” – Garth Nix

Trade Paperback 978-1-59780-094-5
272 Pages $14.95


  1. says

    If I can’t get a review copy of this, I certainly would put down money on this (despite a wariness about pirates in general) based on the names that I recognize (well over half of them). Looks like a great lineup. October release, right?

  2. Timblynod says

    Wow. Can’t wait to see what Garth Nix has up his sleeves this time. And Carrie, too. She rocks.

  3. says

    I’m definitely interested and would pre-order, but unfortunately Night Shade’s postage for delivery here is pretty steep — 14.95 for the book plus 22 for the postage is a bit much. So I’ll have to wait until the book is available at a shop a bit closer to me.

  4. says

    Should be lots of fun. I’ll definately be preordering a copy, especially since Amazon is painfully slow in receiving stock from small presses.

    Jeff – Do you ever wish you were contributing a story, or do you prefer editing when these kinds of projects come up?

  5. Jeff VanderMeer says

    Yeah, I understand Tero. I hate the new postal rates.

    Seth–Generally, except in something like the fake disease guide where I had to provide connective tissue anyway, I don’t feel comfortable having stories in stuff I edit. I feel like there is an ethical consideration–stealing space another writer could have. For pirates, I put my piratey-story-desires into having a pirate in the Predator novel. But I do sometimes wish I edited anthos I wouldn’t see the guidelines for and go “Wow–it’d be cool to be in that.” Probably the most regretful I got was while editing various Leviathans, since I was having trouble placing my more slipstreamy stories at that time. Certainly, there was a temptation.


  6. Gio Clairval says

    Same as Tero, here–no, worse. Shipping to Paris costs $22! It’s piratical! What do they use, the Flying Dutchman?

    But pirates are my foible. I’ll see whether I can pre-order via the local WH Smith.

  7. says

    Unfortunately, the US Postal Service did away with media rate airmail. It seems to me like a way to curtail free speech and screw over indie publishers, since sometimes the postage costs more than the book ordered!

    The book may not be in bookstore systems for a couple more months.

  8. says

    Unfortunately, it’s a two-way deal. I remember looking up the import costs for the Spanish translations of Andrzej Sapkowski’s works (this being a few years before the English translations started to hit the market) and finding that it would cost me about $25 for the first book and about $10 for each book afterwards. This was in 2003, when the dollar was much stronger. And recently, I had to pay over $40 to ship some books to a friend of mine in Serbia. I easily spend $200/year on shipping costs and the knowledge that the dollar is still weakening is very worrisome for me.

  9. James says

    I’m not sure if the new postal rates are to blame, but I looked for an untranslated copy of 2666 to revive my dormant college Spanish and found that it’s at least a sixty dollar investment. Sounds insane, although I don’t know what I’d be expected to pay for it in Spain or Mexico.

  10. says

    It’s because it’s basically out of print and the demand is high in the US. Cheapest I could find was around $30 in Europe, with a $29 shipping charge, while in the US, it’s $67-80, with the usual $2-6 shipping rates. If you really want to try Bolaño’s writings in Spanish, go for Los detectives salvajes – Amazon should still have those in stock for under $30.

  11. says

    Thanks for the response Jeff. I understand the conflict of interest in an editor including a story of his own. I guess the excitement of reading something fantastic from a new talent must be just as rewarding.