Skip to main content

Century to Starboard by Liz Williams

* Note: Some of the links on this page are affiliate and sponsored links. Learn more on my Disclosure page.

"Century to Starboard" is a 2004 science fiction short story by Liz Williams. It is about luxury liner that gets lost at sea during a bizarre storm.

Ghost Ship

Do you know the legend of The Flying Dutchman? Here is a bit of a modern SciFi take on the story – with some really cool results!

Non-spoiler Summary in a Nutshell

Cruise ship by quinet, CC 2.0 license

Vittoria Pellini is a rich Italian woman who travels all over the world with her husband. They are getting tired of traveling though, and have decided to purchase an apartment on a gigantic luxury liner that will roam around the globe catering to its super rich occupants. Sounds nice doesn’t it? Except soon after leaving the port in Singapore they start to experience some strange storms – and the places they visit afterwards get curiouser and curiouser… and a little bit scarier too!

My Two Cents…

  • This story was a fascinating read! I loved the built up suspense as the passengers tried to figure out what was happening to them.
  • Telling the story from Vittoria’s point of view was quite clever. A pampered, rich woman (who isn’t too bright either) made for a great narrator of this strange story.
  • I wish the story would have gone on longer – there were so many cool avenues to pursue! But, alas, it didn’t. At least we were given glimpses of strange people and places, and the boat was pretty nifty too.

Interesting Tidbits:

  • Page Count: 11
  • Word Count: 4,658
  • Did you know that Liz Williams is the daughter of a stage magician and a Gothic novelist? Yep. You can learn more about this fascinating author at Wikipedia.
  • Special thanks to Free SF Reader for suggesting this story.

Where You Can Find Century to Starboard:

  • This short story first appeared on the web site Strange Horizons – where you can still read it for free.
  • You can read more of Liz Williams other short stories in her collection The Banquet of the Lords of Night and Other Stories – available at or eBay.

Craving More Science Fiction Short Stories?

If you liked "Century to Starboard" then you might also enjoy “Under the Honey,” another story by Liz Williams – about a person who can come back to life after being killed, and her time in a traveling circus.