Naomi Novik. Araminta, or, The Wreck of the Amphidrake. (The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2009).

Originally in : Fast Ships, Black Sails.

A fairly routine pirate story. Sure, there’s a fantasy element in that the female heiress making a risky sea journey, is able to use magic to transform herself into a man, but that’s about it, so on that basic you could count Pirates of the Caribbean as fantasy. Which I wouldn’t.

The opening promises more, with the background to the society in which the heiress lives being described, but after that its a chase and boarding by pirates, getting close to the pirate captain (!) and then a dramatic ending with a goddess, but I was skimming the final paras then. For my money, several nautical miles behind Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette’s ‘Boojum’ from the same collection, chosen by both Dozois and Hartwell/Cramer for their Year’s Best volumes.

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