YOU ARE THE HERO Part 2 is now funding on Kickstarter

Thursday, 30 April 2015

SHARKPUNK - the first review!

SHARKPUNK is published tomorrow, but already the reviews are starting to come in.

The first can be read here at The Eloquent Page. Here's a taster:

Sharkpunk is twenty unique visions of what it means to be either predator or prey. This anthology contains stories that don’t just feature sharks, they also dissect the mind of a perfectly evolved killer. Nestled deep in the pages of this collection you’ll find everything from stories set in feudal Japan to tales featuring men with an impressive olfactory sense. Steampunk, horror, science fiction and thriller blend together to create a collection that revels in the raw, bloody savagery of an apex carnivore... this collection is well worthy of your time. Every story is a winner in my opinion and they are all a great deal of fun. In all honesty I’d have great difficulty picking a favourite.

Don't forget, you can purchase SHARKPUNK direct from the publisher and from midnight tonight until midnight Friday you can use the discount code SHARKS! to get 10% off anything on Snowbooks.com.


Wednesday, 29 April 2015

The Sharkpunk Interview - Laurel Sills

Laurel Sills is a fantasy reader, scribbler, and co-editor of holdfast magazine. She is also now a SHARKPUNK contributor...


Sharkpunk: What, do you think, is the reason for people's enduring fascination with sharks? 
Laurel Sills: As an English girl growing up on an island where all of our natural predators have been wiped out, the idea that something that powerful, something that might actually want to eat me, could just swan up to our beaches if it wanted, scared the living bejesus out of me as a child. Maybe that has something to do with our collective fascination. The ocean has few barriers, and although logic tells us that the great white is unlikely to be hanging out around Brighton pier, it’s hard to escape the idea that it could be. It goes back to the idea of something wanting to eat us. We have a rather reduced risk of being eaten by badgers, and the idea of being eaten is so alien, so bizarre, that perhaps we latch on to the one, tiny shred of possibility that we could be eaten by sharks on our bank holiday day trip. There are of course still a lot of other animals out there that would like to eat us, but, you know, lions can’t swim over and drag themselves onto our shores to feast on our blue goose-pimpled bikini-clad bodies...can they?!

SP: What was the inspiration behind your story Le Shark
LS: As much as I love Jaws and other shark films, I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking, how hard is it really to just stay out of the water?! So I wanted to play with that a bit. I also love a good old-fashioned deal with the devil gone wrong (that deal can never really work out can it?) so thought it would be fun to combine the two.

SP: What challenges, or surprises, did you encounter in writing your story? 
LS: I think I went into it thinking I’d just write a silly story about a shark god, (which I did!) but it surprised me that it got a lot darker than I thought it would. There is a point in my story where you’re not sure whether The Shark is real or a figment of Carlos’ imagination, and I think a lot of the story is about Carlos’ inner shark. How far is he willing to go for success or to protect himself? I also wanted to make sure that Leslie, the other main character in the story, was not purely a love interest or a victim. I had to think hard about making sure I didn’t fall into the tired tropes women often fall into, and I hope I’ve achieved that.

SP: If you had to pick a favourite shark, which would it be? 
LS: Probably the basking shark, because me and a friend of mine found a dead baby one (which was still pretty big) washed up on the beach in St Ives when I was little. I liked the fact that they were gentle giants.

SP: Do you have a favourite fictional shark (in books, comics, films, or video games)? 
LS: It would have to be Sharky of Sharky and George. I used to watch it with my dad and it reminds me of eating Rice Krispies in my pyjamas. Also, a shark detective? Yes. Just yes.

Thanks, Laurel!



Laurel Sills co-edits holdfast magazine with Lucy Smee. Holdfast is a free, quarterly online speculative fiction magazine, which is bringing out its first print anthology in 2015. She used to be in a touring band but gave that up in order to be able to afford regular meals. Laurel now works in publishing and holds a Master’s degree in creative writing from Goldsmiths University. She was also on the judging panel for the British Fantasy Society Robert Holdstock award for Best Fantasy Novel 2014. Go to www.holdfastmagazine.com and follow her @laurelsills and @holdfastmag.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Guest Author April - Lavie Tidhar

My latest novels are A Man Lies Dreaming, which is out in the UK now in paperback (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Man-Lies-Dreaming-Lavie-Tidhar/dp/144476294X/) and is about Adolf Hitler as a disgraced private eye in 1930s London, and The Violent Century, which just came out in hardcover in the US (http://www.amazon.com/Violent-Century-Novel-Lavie-Tidhar/dp/125006449X/), which is a sort of parallel history of the 20th century with Nietzschean Ubermenschen, a love story and a murder mystery. I also just published the dual anthologies Jews vs Zombies (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jews-vs-Zombies-Rebecca-Levene-ebook/dp/B00TQT6L9K/) and Jews vs Aliens (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jews-vs-Aliens-Naomi-Alderman-ebook/dp/B00TQT6L4U/) co-edited with Rebecca Levene, which raise money for charity.


Monday, 27 April 2015

The Sharkpunk Interview - Jenni Hill

I first met Jenni Hill when she worked as an editor at Abaddon Books. (It was Jenni who saw Pax Britannia: Anno Frankenstein through to publication.) Jenni is currently Commissioning Editor for Orbit UK, but as well as guiding writers to publication she is also a writer in her own right...


What, do you think, is the reason for people's enduring fascination with sharks?
We’re fascinated by anything that can knock us off the top of the food chain. Us monkeys worked hard to get up here at the top, but we fall in the water with a shark and bam, another species makes us its dinner. We can’t help but be fascinated by it. People’s fascination with predators – from serial killers to endangered species, is a big part of the story I submitted for this anthology.
What was the inspiration behind your story ‘The Serial Killer Who Thought She Was A Shark’?
I enjoy shows such as Hannibal and Dexter but I wanted to write about a female serial killer, as they’re so rare in fiction. I also discovered that in Australia,sharks ‘tweet’ at surfers when they’re nearby, and I wondered how we might use that technology in future. I also started reading about shark fin soup, how we’re combating the cruel fishing practices around that, and how absurd yet kind of wonderful it is that some of us – charities, ecologists etc. – are often trying so hard to help all these endangered species that want to eat us alive.
What challenges, or surprises, did you encounter in writing your story?
I discovered that death scenes, especially gory ones, can be really difficult to write. I think I put the manuscript away for at least a month or two, and only urging from Jon and from my husband made me pick it up again, grit my teeth and write!
If you had to pick a favourite shark, which would it be?
Stethacanthus, a.k.a. the anvil shark. He’s a prehistoric shark I saw on Walking with Dinosaurs and he looks absolutely ridiculous.


Do you have a favourite fictional shark (in books, comics, films, or video games)?
I’ve a soft spot for another ridiculous shark –King Shark in DC Comics, especially when written by Gail Simone in Secret Six, where his battlecry was “I’m a shark! I’m a shaaaarrk!” Memorably, when the team were shown their personal hells by a supervillain, the rest of the team saw some pretty angsty, dark stuff, whereas King Shark found himself trapped in a restaurant where all the food was vegetarian.

Jenni Hill has written short stories for several anthologies and is also working on a fantasy novel. She lives in London with her husband and their several million books, but you can find her on Twitter at @Jenni_Hill.


Thought for the Day

"Comic writers don't eat SCONES! We live on a diet of booze, ego and self-loathing!"

~ Gordon Rennie, comic writer

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Guest Author April - Graham McNeill

The project taking up the bulk of my writing time just now is a Horus Heresy novel called The Crimson King, which is a direct follow up to my previous novel, A Thousand Sons.

At the end of that novel, Magnus the Red - the titular king - and the Thousand Sons legion had barely escaped the burning of their homeworld at the hands of the Space Wolves and found themselves exiled on the Planet of the Sorcerers. The Crimson King follows the remnants of the Fifteenth Legion in the wake of that battle as they seek to restore their former greatness in the face of inevitable damnation, relentless hunters and revelations from their own ranks that threaten all they once believed in.

The Crimson King will be available later in 2016, but you can prepare for that moment by reading A Thousand Sons by following this link.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Sharkpunk Saturday - Ian Whates

To fans of science fiction, Ian Whates will need no introduction. An award-winning writer, editor and publisher, I was delighted when he agreed to submit a story to SHARKPUNK.

Sharkpunk: What, do you think, is the reason for people's enduring fascination with sharks?
Ian Whates: Sharks are streamlined killing machines, perfectly adapted to their environment.  Enough of the hunter-gatherer’s fear of predation lurks in our genetic heritage to make them unnerving.  At the same time we can’t help but admire just how fit for purpose they are.  Add to that the fact that because of their habitat you don’t see a shark coming (unless you’re tooled up with specialist equipment) until that ominous fin breaks the surface (cue theme music to Jaws), and how could we not be fascinated?  People are intrigued by killers in general, whether human or animal – raptors, big cats, wolves – sharks have all that going for them with an added dose of the sinister.

SP: What was the inspiration behind your story “Sharkadelic”?
IW: A few years ago I watched a documentary investigating why great white sharks had disappeared for more than a year from a territory they were known to frequent.  The conclusion was that a pod of orcas were responsible, that this particular group had perfected a method of preying on sharks, even great whites, and their presence was enough to cause the sharks to flee.  I found the idea that even an apex predator such as the great white had reason to fear, and possessed the intelligence to know it was outmatched and communicate that to others of its kind, remarkable.  That was the starting point for the story.  Where the rest of it came from, I’ve no idea, except that I was able to weave in persistent but unsubstantiated reports of great whites being spotted off the coast of Cornwall.  Other than that, well… making stuff up is what I do. 

SP: What challenges, or surprises, did you encounter in writing your story?
IW: I’d never honestly considered writing a shark-related story before being approached for this anthology.  When I was, two stories occurred to me, both very different.  One was a fairly action-packed pulp-ish tale involving genetically enhanced sharks being utilised to guard a precious shipping convoy (which seemed perfectly in line with the anthology’s brief), the other was a psychological horror set in the art world.  It was the latter story that gripped me, that demanded to be written. To be honest, the story itself flowed with uncharacteristic ease, though I reworked the end section a couple of times before I was happy with it.  My greatest challenge was whether or not the anthology’s editor would like a story whose nature veered away from the guidelines.  Fortunately, he did, and “Sharkaneer”, the sharks-guarding-shipping story, remains unwritten.  Sharkpunk 2, maybe? [SP: Definitely!]

SP: If you had to pick a favourite shark, which would it be?
IW: Ooh, that’s a toughie.  I’m going to keep the definition of ‘shark’ pretty narrow, so that I’m not tempted to consider such graceful giants as the manta ray, but even then I’m not sure I can decide between three: the basking shark because they’re so huge and atypically harmless, and because I stand a chance of actually seeing one off the UK coast someday (I haven’t yet, though I have twice been out on boats looking for them), the great white because they are so formidable, not to mention persecuted, and the hammerhead, because, I mean, how could you not?  They are so stunningly bizarre.  Okay, three is cheating, but hey, I’m an author, I’m allowed to bend the rules.

SP: Do you have a favourite fictional shark (in books, comics, films, or video games)?
IW: I’m going to have to be very predictable here and go with the shark in Jaws, primarily because I’ve never really taken note of sharks in fiction, being fascinated enough by them in real life.  So, when it comes to picking a favourite fictional shark I’m choosing from a field of, ehm… one. (Unless you include the sequels, but hey, we all know that the first was the best.)

Thanks, Ian!


Ian Whates lives in a quiet Cambridgeshire village with his partner, Helen, and Honey, a manic cocker spaniel.  Ian is the author of six novels to date, most recently Pelquin’s Comet, released in April 2015. Also, the City of 100 Rows trilogy (Angry Robot), and the Noise duology (Solaris). Sixty-odd of his short stories have appeared in various venues, two of which were shortlisted for BSFA Awards, and his second collection Growing Pains (PS Publishing) appeared in 2013. Ian has edited some two dozen anthologies and in 2014 one of these, Solaris Rising 2, was shortlisted for the Philip K. Dick Award. He has served a term as Overseas Director of SFWA and spent five years as chairman the BSFA, stepping down in 2013. In his spare time Ian runs multiple award-winning independent publisher NewCon Press, which he founded by accident in 2006. Find out more at www.ianwhates.co.uk.

And don't forget - SHARKPUNK is published on Friday!

Friday, 24 April 2015

The sharks are circling...

SHARKPUNK is published one week today...

Sharks – the ultimate predators, masters of their watery domain, a world that is entirely alien and inhospitable to man. So many aspects of the shark are associated with humankind’s most primal fears. The tell-tale dorsal fin slicing through the water, the dead eyed-stare, the gaping jaws full to unforgiving teeth, the remorseless drive to kill and feed…

Inspired by such classic pulp movies as Jaws and Deep Blue Sea – as well as such ludicrous delights as Sharknado and Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus – the stories contained within are rip-roaring page-turners and slow-build chillers that celebrate all things savage, pulp and selachian.


Covering the whole range of speculative fiction genres, from horror and steampunk, through to SF and WTF, these are stories with bite!

Come on in. The water’s fine…

Pre-order your copy today!

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Where there's a Will there's a... poem?

In honour of Mr William Shakespeare's possible birthday and probably death-day, here's a poem what I wrote...

There once was a playwright called Will, 
Who wrote with a goose feather quill. 
He spent all his days
Writing poems and plays,
And some are considered quite brill.

(c) Jonathan Green, 2015

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

The Sharkpunk Interview - Steven Savile

Steven Savile is the best-selling writer you've never heard of (unless you've heard of him). He has written for countless well-known IPs, from Primeval to Doctor Who, as well as numerous original projects including the #2 eBook-charting thriller SILVER.


Sharkpunk: What, do you think, is the reason for people's enduring fascination with sharks? 
Steven Savile: The easy answer, for my generation, I think, is JAWS. I can still remember my older cousin handing me a copy of Peter Benchley's novel when I was maybe 8 or 9 and saying it's the scariest thing he'd ever read. I sat in his bedroom listening to Spandau Ballet or Duran Duran or well, you get the picture, and read the opening shark attack and the description of the severed leg and the blood. Straight into nightmare territory and it's never gone away. You see National Geographic films in beautifully shot HD of this killer cutting through the deep blue and all you see, really, is muscle mass and razor sharp teeth. There's no reasoning with that kind of threat. It's almost elemental in its nature. A few years ago I did a Top Trumps book for Penguin, and the Great White was by far my favourite card. I loved scouring the research for fun facts about that particular beastie. Oh my word. So, yeah...

SP: What was the inspiration behind your story Swimming with the Fishes
SS: Is this where I own up that I pitched Jon a completely different story to Swimming with the Fishes and right up to the point of stretching the deadline incredibly thin (remember that famous Douglas Adams quote about loving the sound of deadlines whooshing by?) finally sat down to write what I thought was going to be a very serious JAWS-like homage... and then... this voice took over and the first line hit the page, this unexpected noir-esque Godfather kind of thing, and I wrote to Jon saying 'Mate, I'm REALLY sorry...' and probably said a dozen times that I'd understand if he didn't want it, because I'd gone so far off the reservation I was pretty sure he'd never read anything like it and may not again... in terms of inspiration, several years ago I sold a story I'd co-written with a mate to Sony Entertainment of development as a possible TV series, and while it had got close, I've got the pilot scripts etc, it just never made it out the gate... well, that had the same kind of irreverent vibe and mash-up for classic horror tropes and, well, that was more like NYPD BLUE with Monsters... where Fishes became The Godfather with Monsters... and a very wicked sense of humour...

SP: What challenges, or surprises, did you encounter in writing your story? 
SS: See Above. Nothing went as planned. Jon was expecting an entirely different story about a neolithic shark that had survived all these millennia and was attacking an oil rig... so the biggest surprise was when he said 'I love it!'

SP: If you had to pick a favourite shark, which would it be? 
SS: I always had a soft spot for the Hammerhead... it's kinda like the Thing of the shark world... I imagine it turning around to its Great White and Basking Shark super-buddies and saying 'It's clobberin' time!'

SP: Do you have a favourite fictional shark (in books, comics, films, or video games)? 
SS: It's got to be Jaws, it just has to be... that music, the unforgettable image of the fin cutting through the water...then the blood. Perfect.

Thanks, Steven.




Steven Savile has written for Doctor Who, Torchwood, Primeval, Stargate, Warhammer, Slaine, Fireborn, Pathfinder, Arkham Horror, Risen, and other popular game and comic worlds. His novels have been published in eight languages to date, including the Italian bestseller L'eridita. He won the International Media Association of Tie-In Writers award for his Primeval novel, Shadow of the Jaguar, published by Titan, in 2010, and the inaugural Lifeboat to the Stars award for Tau Ceti (co-authored with Kevin J. Anderson). Silver, his debut thriller reached #2 in the Amazon UK e-charts in the summer of 2011. It was among the UK's top 30 bestselling novels of 2011 according to The Bookseller.  The series continues in Solomon's SealWarGod, and Lucifer's Machine, and is available in a variety of languages. His latest books include HNIC (along with the legendary Hip Hop artist Prodigy, of Mobb Deep) which was Library Journal's Pick of the Month, the Lovecraftian horror The Sign of Glaaki, co-written with Steve Lockley, and has recently started writing the popular Rogue Angel novels as Alex Archer, the first of which, Grendel's Curse, is out in May. He has lived in Sweden for the last 17 years. His online presence can be found at www.stevensavile.com.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

SHARKPUNK exists!

SHARKPUNK is back from the printers and in the offices of Snowbooks.


There's no long to go now before the official publication date of 1 May, and not long until the official launch at London's Forbidden Planet store.

Review copies have gone out but if you know of a reviewer who would like one, drop me a line at info@jonathangreenauthor.com.

Monday, 20 April 2015

The Sharkpunk Interview - Robert Spalding

Rob Spalding is a short fiction writer with an eye for the pulp homage. In fact, his story is the one in SHARKPUNK that probably celebrates the original Sharkpunk movie JAWS most directly. Here's what he had to say about the experience of writing the piece...


Sharkpunk: What, do you think, is the reason for people's enduring fascination with sharks?
Robert Spalding: I think it's the silence of them that continually terrifies people. If you think about all the other monsters and fearsome creatures we are scared of, they roar and hiss and yowl. Sharks don't do any of that.  They just appear and start eating you without a kindly forewarning sound. Couple that with the fact that they patrol an area that is physically off limits to humans, in that we cannot survive where they live without specialist equipment, and you've got a creature that it would take an awful lot of effort to encounter in the wild. They are mysterious and I think that's what keeps them alive in our minds.

SP: What was the inspiration behind your story Rise of the Übershark?
RS: To anyone who reads it, the most obvious inspiration for this story will be anime.  Specifically Mecha anime.  I've always enjoyed seeing big robots smash the hell out of each other and all of their fancy weaponry. What I first pitched to Jon when he told me about the anthology my suggestions (Sharks in Spaaaaaace!) were met with “Someone's already doing that.” So I thought about the type of stories I wanted to tell.  Post-Apocalyptic Waste World is my favourite phrase in the English language.  I love the sound of it (the phrase, not the reality). So it had to be a post-apocalyptic shark story. 

Where do I go from there? Well, very quickly I had my world and the weaponry and the big idea behind it all. The one thing I didn't actually have was a story to tell. I actually started this story four times in different ways with different characters because I couldn't find an “in” that was going to be just a short story. Finally I landed on the “last survivor of an elite squad discovers a terrible revelation.” And then I had it. The hero of the story in all its variations was always a woman because I hadn't tried to write a story with one before.

SP: What challenges, or surprises, did you encounter in writing your story?
RS: Finding a story that I could tell in the word limit. I completely fell for the world I created for this story.  Then I created a character that I thought would be unique or at least less obvious than the norm for the type of Mecha-Monster-Military mash up I was planning. But then I realised they needed a novel length story to fit in everything I wanted to say about them. As such I had to set them aside and start again, new protagonist, new conflict for the story.  New everything except the world.

I have to say I have never had more trouble getting something started that I was excited about than I have with this story. I was constantly having to revise my central ideas until I ground it down enough to fill just the one story. Even then I opened up a whole new level to the world with the ending. I think I might have found a place I want to spend my writing time in future – which isn't something I ever expected when I started to think about a submission to this anthology.

SP: If you had to pick a favourite shark, which would it be?
RS: I think I'd have to say Hammerhead. I know the Great Whites are the Daddy of shark fiction, but just look at a Hammerhead.  The description of them is right in the name! They have such a distinctive look.

SP: Do you have a favourite fictional shark (in books, comics, films, or video games)?
RS: I've got a soft spot for the smart sharks in Deep Blue Sea, especially for their sense of dramatic timing in saying Samuel L Jackson's part has served its purpose. But my favourite shark in all of fiction is Sharky, from Sharky and George. He was one half of a crime-busting aquatic duo and they had the best theme tune. I'll be honest and say I haven't watched an episode in years because I'm worried it will taint my memory of the show.  But yeah, Sharky.

SP: Apart from SHARKPUNK, what's coming next from Robert Spalding?
RS: I am currently writing a quirky novel called Lost on the Traveller's Road. Its based on several ideas I've had over the years all being amalgamated into one crazy road trip story. I've only just started it but I like where its heading so far. Then I plan to try my hand at some serial fiction. I've got a few worlds to work in and one of them will be the world Rise of the Ubershark is set in. I'm planning them out like an anime series (the influence strikes again!) and hope to be releasing them for free on the web with collected editions sold as ebooks with added extras when they are done. At the moment this will probably end up being a self-published idea, but if I can find a publisher then I'm going to go for it.

Thanks, Rob!


Robert Spalding lives in Sussex, quite near the seaside but he never goes for a paddle. He had stories published by Whispers of Wickedness near the turn of the Millennium but then went radio silent for a few years due to what he describes as “Purely mundane reasons.” His recently had Men with False Faces published in Terror Tales of the Seaside. Rise of the Übershark marks the beginning of what he hopes will be a series all set in the same world. He occasionally blogs and posts short fiction at robspalding.wordpress.com and Tweets at @robspalding.

Thought for the Day

"I am lucky to have written as many books as I have. It has been a joy."


~ P D James (1920-2014)

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Guest Author April - Michael Jecks

 Michael Jecks is a writer of historical mystery novels. Indeed he is known as the master of the medieval murder mystery.

Probably best known for his Knights Templar Mysteries, his latest book is FIELDS OF GLORY,  the first in his new Hundred Years War series, from Simon and Schuster (available in paperback and ebook format), with the second, BLOOD ON THE SAND, coming out in June as a large paperback and ebook.

Why not check out Michael's website for more information? I can also highly recommend the videos he posts weekly on YouTube. In these he not only talks about his books, but also about the nitty gritty business of being a writer, and he has some great pearls of wisdom for anybody wanting to follow in his footsteps.


Saturday, 18 April 2015

Sharkpunk Saturday - Alec Worley

Alec Worley is probably best known as a comics writer and film reviewer, but he is also a skilled prose writer, as is evidenced by his forthcoming story in the forthcoming SHARKPUNK...



Sharkpunk: What, do you think, is the reason for people's enduring fascination with sharks? 
Alec Worley: The fascination, I think, is more to do with the myth we’ve created around sharks than the animals themselves. Great Whites are actually at a high risk of extinction in the wild due to trophy fishing and you’re more likely to be hit by lightning than eaten by a shark. Reality has nothing to do with the reputation we’ve built for them. Sharks have become this symbol of our fears about the natural world, and, I guess, are a reminder of our vulnerability in the face of an element that covers 71% of our planet. Then there's our uncertainty about the future of the natural world and our place within it. Scientists are limited in what they can observe in sharks and this just adds to their mystique. I mean, even the name sounds cool: Sssssssh-arrrrrgh! Kkkkk! Death in miniature.

SP: What was the inspiration behind your story, Sharkcop 2: Feeding Frenzy
AW: I had an idea for a story that began with someone waking up naked on a beach somewhere and with no idea how they got there. Are they a shark that’s turned into a person or a person that can turn into a shark? But the story ended up turning into a comedy, specifically a send-up of '80s buddy cop movies. I just wanted to write something that made me giggle as much as possible while still telling a solid story, as well as maybe getting into why we find sharks so cool.

SP: What challenges, or surprises, did you encounter in writing your story? 
AW: I always seem to find comedies harder to write than straight drama. I’ve found this writing Robo-Hunter and Dandridge for 2000 AD. I end up spending hours agonising over whether ‘dog’ is funnier than ‘warthog’ or whatever. You have to get that tone just right, which is really hard.

SP: If you had to pick a favourite shark, which would it be? 
AW: Megalodon or a giant octopus with a Megalodon head on the end of each tentacle.

SP: Do you have a favourite fictional shark (in books, comics, films, or video games)? 
AW: I’m fascinated by Bruce the mechanical shark from Jaws. Physical special effects like that just mesmerize me and I love the story behind what happened to the three mechanical Bruces. Two were left to rot on the Universal backlot while another ended up as a mascot in some California auto-junkyard. There’s a real ‘uncanny valley’ thing going on for me there, like they’re somehow both objects and living creatures.

SP: Apart from your story in Sharkpunk, what's coming next from Alec Worley? 
AW: Nothing I can really talk about right now as they haven’t been announced. But more Judge Dredd and Dandridge from 2000 AD, hopefully, and more Judge Anderson for Abaddon Books.

Thanks, Alec!


Alec Worley was a projectionist and a film critic before he got to write for legendary British anthology comic 2000 AD, for whom he’s written Judge Dredd, Robo-Hunter, Age of the Wolf and Dandridge. His prose credits include the Judge Anderson: Rookie series for Abaddon Books. His lifelong love of sharks began when he saw Jaws at the age of 7 and fell off his chair in fright at the bit with Ben Gardener’s head. More recently he achieved a lifelong dream of going cage-diving, which he did off the coast of Guadalupe, Mexico. He got pooped on by a Great White.

Friday, 17 April 2015

SHARKPUNK launches 2 weeks today!

Friday 1 May sees the launch of the anthology you've all been waiting for... SHARKPUNK!

Review copies have gone out, and here's what one reviewer has reported so far:


I also visited the London Book Fair yesterday where I caught up with publisher Emma Barnes and managed to take a sneaky selfie with the very cool SHARKPUNK banner.



So keep an eye out for SHARKPUNK, coming your way in just 2 weeks! And don't forget, if you're in London on Saturday 9 May, why not come along to the official launch at Forbidden Planet, and have your copy signed by 13 of the contributing authors?

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

The Sharkpunk Interview - C L Werner

I have known Clint Werner since we both wrote for Inferno! magazine back in the early days of the Black Library. So I was delighted when he agreed to write a brand new short story for SHARKPUNK...


Sharkpunk: What, do you think, is the reason for people's enduring fascination with sharks?
Clint Werner: I think the appeal of sharks is two-fold. First there is, of course, the fact that your bigger sharks are quite capable of eating a person. As a species we have a vested interest in keeping tabs on the creatures that can kill us and most especially the ones who sometimes add us to the menu. Most of your ‘man-eaters’ are heavily represented in folklore, heraldry and language, as though by invoking these creatures we might also draw on their power and in some way control their ferocity.

The second point when it comes to sharks is that they are largely an enigma. We still can’t say for certain how old or how large some of these animals can get. Their social lives, limited as they might be, are an utter mystery. We aren’t even sure what can drive some species to explode into the gruesome spectacle of a feeding frenzy. These are creatures that defy many of the rules laid down by science. They haven’t changed in any substantial manner in millions of years. It reminds me of Nestor Pavia in the classic Creature from the Black Lagoon: ‘I tell you what I think, this thing is stronger than what you call evolution.’

SP: What was the inspiration behind your story ‘Feast of the Shark God’?
CW: I suppose the germ of the idea began with an episode of In Search Of…, a paranormal/speculative series that aired in the late 1970s and early 1980s when I was growing up. Hosted by the late Leonard Nimoy, the show always presented interesting topics, some more based in reality than others. 

One of these episodes was devoted to Dakuwanga, a shark god worshipped in the Fiji Islands. While presenting this tradition, the show also explored anecdotal accounts that the islanders who dutifully worshipped Dakuwanga were never menaced by sharks, even swimming about in waters infested with known man-eaters. Of course, the catch there is that when they did mention a local who was eaten by sharks, he was of course somebody who’d fallen out of his faith.

So, the idea of doing a story revolving around Dakuwanga was there. Over time, it metamorphosed into a fantasy tale removed from our own world and set in the sword-and-sorcery landscape of Shintaro Oba. I conceived a story pitting the demon-hunting samurai against a fearsome shark god and the community who worships it.

SP: What challenges, or surprises, did you encounter in writing your story?
CW: One of the biggest challenges with my Shintaro Oba stories is trying to maintain a Japanese mindset within them. Prior to the Meiji Restoration which saw the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate, Japanese society was broken into a very strict caste system and the majority of the Japanese people abided by the traditions and obligations of that system. The concept of self, of the individual, was trivial compared to being a part of something bigger, whether that be a farming community or the retinue of a great samurai clan.

I think the big surprise for me when writing the story was realising that, well, let's just say the end turned out a bit different than I’d envisioned it in my outline!

SP: If you had to pick a favourite shark, which would it be?
CW: I’m sure it is as stereotypical as possible, but the Great White. Ever since I was a kid, these immense monsters have been a source of awe. Going to the beach in California, it was always at the back of your mind that these sharks were out there, somewhere under the very water you were looking at. To drive the point home, there’d be news stories when a Great White would hit a surfer or maybe swim up to a pier and nab somebody’s catch.

SP: Do you have a favourite fictional shark (in books, comics, films, or video games)?
CW: Again, I’ll be stereotypical and say Jaws. When I was growing up, the spectre of the first Jaws film and of course Peter Benchley’s novel, still loomed large over the landscape. There were Jaws shirts and toys and such and when the movie played on broadcast TV it was a major event that they’d hype for weeks beforehand and take full-page ads in TV Guide.

And then there was the Jaws attraction at Universal City Studios, the highlight of their tram tour. I’m not sure how old I was, certainly not more than six, when my parents took me to Universal for the tour. Now, I wasn’t so terribly interested in the Bates Motel or the I Love Lucy bungalow, and there was only passing interest in seeing the Munsters mansion. I wanted to see Jaws, and I kept letting everybody on the tram know it. Well, when the time came and the tram approached the lagoon where the mechanical shark lurked, my father took hold of me and held me over the side so I’d get a real good look as Jaws came lunging up from the water. Being a snot-nosed punk I screamed and cried out that, ‘Why doesn’t somebody shoot that thing?’

All these years later, I still like Jaws.


SP: Apart from Sharkpunk, what's coming next from C L Werner?
CW:

Thanks, Clint!


C. L. Werner was a diseased servant of the Horned Rat long before his first story in Inferno! magazine. His Black Library credits include the Warhammer Hero books Wulfrik and The Red Duke, Mathias Thulmann: Witch Hunter, the Grey Seer Thanquol and Brunner the Bounty Hunter trilogies. In the Time of Legends series he has penned the Black Plague trilogy and Curse of the Phoenix Crown, the final volume in the War of Vengeance series. Deathblade is his contribution to the Warhammer ‘End Times’ event, featuring the dark elf tyrant Malus Darkblade.  His first full-fledged foray into the gothic sci-fi universe of Warhammer 40k occurred in 2012 with The Siege of Castellax. He is the author of Moving Targets, a novella set in Privateer Press’ Iron Kingdoms featuring the iconic heroes Taryn and Rutger. In the sci-fi Old West of Wild West Exodus, he contributed An Outlaw’s Wrath in the Jesse James trilogy as well as some short fiction for an upcoming anthology. Samurai warrior Shintaro Oba has previously appeared in several anthologies published by Rogue Blades’ Entertainment. More recently, his short fiction has been featured in anthologies like Kaiju Rising, Fantastic Futures 13, Marching Time, A Grimoire of Eldritch Inquests and Sharkpunk.

An inveterate bibliophile, he squanders the proceeds from his writing on hoary old volumes – or at least reasonably affordable reprints of same – to further his library of fantasy fiction, horror stories and occult tomes.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

YOU ARE THE HERO receives its 50th 5-star Amazon review!

I thought it a worthy landmark to celebrate. My history of Fighting Fantasy gamebooks has received its Return to Firetop Mountain of reviews. That's right, the 50th review of my 50th published book has been posted on Amazon.co.uk, and it's another 5-star one.



Here it is in its entirety.

In case you haven't yet picked up a copy of YOU ARE THE HERO yourself yet, you can still do so here.

Guest Author April - David Guymer

My latest book, Slayer, marks 14 books and 16 years since the first novel of the Gotrek and Felix storyline, Trollslayer, introduced us to the doom-seeking dwarf, Gotrek Gurnisson, and his chronicler, Felix Jaeger. Over that span, they’ve slain villainous rat-men, daemons, dragons, vampires, hordes of zombies, and taken time out for numerous short stories, novellas and side novels. The author has changed more than once over that time, as has the Warhammer world itself, but Gotrek and his long-suffering companion have carried on slaying with a characteristic blend of action and humour. But now their long career comes to an end. Gotrek and Felix’s final adventure takes them through the wreckage of the world’s last days, battles on land, in the air, and deep beneath the halls of the mythical Fortress of the First Slayer. Readers can look forward to all of the action and laughs that they rightly expect from a Gotrek and Felix novel, but with the added tragedy of approaching the end of the Slayer’s long quest for a mighty doom.

Follow David Guymer on twitter @Warlord Guymer

Monday, 13 April 2015

The Sharkpunk Interview - Toby Frost

Toby Frost is well known for his Space Captain Smith stories, set in the comedy science fiction universe of the British Space Empire. So you can imagine how pleased I was when Toby agreed to write a brand new, original Space Captain Smith story for SHARKPUNK...


Sharkpunk: What, do you think, is the reason for people's enduring fascination with sharks?
Toby Frost: I think it’s because they seem so deadly, and so unsympathetic. They’re perfectly made to kill things, and they’re completely unlovable. Even rats have nicer eyes. A shark is like a biological missile: they don’t even stop moving around to sleep. There’s a line in Alien about the Alien being unclouded by conscience, remorse or delusions of morality – that, to most people, is what a shark is like. They’re perfect villains. Of course, they’re also rather impressive animals, but that’s not the point, at least here...

SP: What was the inspiration behind your story Deep Black Space?
TF: I’d mentioned the void sharks in the first novel of mine that was published, Space Captain Smith, but I felt that I hadn’t quite done them justice. But I needed something beyond them just randomly attacking. It seemed “logical” that someone sufficiently crazy would have been breeding them or trying to domesticate them, with predictable consequences. That sort of thing seems to happen a lot in space.

SP: What challenges, or surprises, did you encounter in writing your story?
TF: It’s surprisingly difficult to make shark-related puns – at least, new ones.

SP: If you had to pick a favourite shark, which would it be?
TF: It’s got to be the Great White shark, hasn’t it? They’re the classic shark, but with all the dials turned up to 11. That said, the basking shark is pretty impressive. It’s rare for an animal to be awe-inspiring whilst drifting through life with its mouth wide open.

SP: Do you have a favourite fictional shark (in books, comics, films, or video games)?
TF: Well, Jaws is the Citizen Kane of angry shark films. But it’s hard not to like the Pathetic Sharks from Viz, and I’ve got a certain amount of time for the bizarre creature in Sharktopus. It must have been very confused, especially since it seemed to have both a mouth and a beak.

Thanks, Toby!


By day, Toby Frost lives the life of a mild-mannered law reporter. By night, he is the author of five comedy science fiction novels about the misadventures of Captain Isambard Smith of the British Space Empire, published by Myrmidon books. He has also written several short stories and the Warhammer 40,000 novel Straken for Black Library. He is currently working on a fantasy novel.

His website is at www.TobyFrost.com.



The fifth Space Captain Smith adventure End of Empires is available now.

Thought for the Day

"A good idea is insistent; it just keeps knocking on the door. But bad ideas just leave you alone after a while."

~ Graham Linehan, comedy writer

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Guest Author April - Ian Whates

Pelquin’s Comet
Ian Whates

Ian Whates’ first novel in three years is the opening volume of a new space opera series which takes recognised tropes and turns them on their heads.  The series is set in an age of expansion, with humanity spreading out to the stars aided by caches of ancient alien technology which they don’t fully understand.  Man has recently encountered its first extant alien culture, the Xters, and the two races eye each other warily across ragged and fairly arbitrary borders, not really competing for habitat due to physiological differences, but not trusting each other either.

The book’s unlikely central protagonist is a banker, Drake, whose constant companion, Mudball, is a cute bundle of fur mistakenly thought of as a pet.  In reality, Mudball is far more than he seems.

The crew of the freetrader Pelquin's Comet – a rag-tag group of misfits, ex-soldiers and ex-thieves – set out to claim a cache of alien technology that they hope will make them rich; but they are not the only interested party and find themselves in a deadly race against the authorities and corporate agents. Contending with enemies without and within, they are forced to do so under the watchful eye of an unwelcome guest: Drake, agent of the bank funding their expedition; a man with a past that is fast catching up with him, a man who may prove to be the greatest threat of all.


(Cover art by Jim Burns)

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Sharkpunk Saturday - Kim Lakin-Smith

Kim Lakin-Smith is a Science Fiction and Dark Fantasy author of both adult and children’s fiction.


Sharkpunk: What, do you think, is the reason for people's enduring fascination with sharks? 
Kim Lakin-Smith: In the regimented sterility of the modern world, sharks have come to represent the virile savagery of unpoliceable Nature. They are uniquely designed to represent threat, from their tiny, dead-seeming black eyes to their angular fins, recessed jaw, projecting snout and rows full of oblique, serrated, ever-replacing teeth. Apex predators in the Deep – that unknowable world where the Earth’s crust bubbles and alien species phosphoresce and the darkness stretches – sharks cannot be domesticated or placated. Instead, it is we who are quite literally caged if we dare to go among them.

SP: What was the inspiration behind your story Goblin? 
KL-S: Without giving too much away, I wanted to focus my story on the most extreme version of a living monster. I am always fascinated by genetic modification and biomechatronics; Goblin explores the fragility of the human body and how the power of the shark is sustained even at a biomolecular level.

SP: What challenges, or surprises, did you encounter in writing your story? 
KL-S:  For me, the challenge is always to balance research with storytelling. I find that rooting my fiction in fact is the best way to breathe life into scenarios and characters. This is especially true of Science Fiction; the science is the binding agent which unites the imagination’s creative flow. In terms of surprises, I didn’t expect the ‘punk’ aspect of my story to be in the form of a scary little girl who likes to dance with the devil – especially if that devil lives in a lightless pool in a cavern hundreds of feet below ground.

SP: If you had to pick a favourite shark, which would it be? 
KL-S: Read my story to find out ;-)

SP: Do you have a favourite fictional shark (in books, comics, films, or video games)? 
KL-S: Hmm, a favourite may be stretching it. But the movie, Jaws, did have a profound effect on me. For some unintelligible reason lost to the eons of Time, my dad decided it would be a good idea to take me to see a showing of Jaws at the senior school he taught at. This was around 1976, a year after the movie’s official release. I was four years old. I think it probably goes without saying that I was more than a little traumatised by the event! But what really cemented this event in my mind was the movie themes album my two elder brothers decided to purchase soon after. Blocking both doors out of the living room, my brothers - a.k.a. Dementors - played the Jaws theme over and over while mimicking the snapping jaws of said fish. Hearing the terrifying drawl of those two alternating tuba notes was enough to send me into a screaming frenzy! These days, I am more restrained in my reaction to the Jaws soundtrack. Externally at least. In truth, my inner four year old me is still pegging it for the door before a grinning brother tries to block it!

SP: Apart from your story in Sharkpunk, what's coming next from Kim Lakin-Smith? 
KL-S: This year I am concentrating on writing my latest adult Science Fiction novel. There are historical passages in the book and I need to get the research spot on. It is a bit of an epic. My novelette, ‘Black Sunday’, will be reprinted in The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk, out from Prime Books, July 2015. I’m speaking on panels at various events over the year, including the SFWeekender, the Writers Conference at the University of Nottingham, Eastercon, Edge-Lit, and Bristolcon.


Kim Lakin-Smith is a Science Fiction and Dark Fantasy author of adult and children’s fiction. Kim’s short stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, including the 2011 British Science Fiction Association shortlisted, ‘Johnny and Emmie-Lou Get Married’ (Interzone Issue 222). Her novel, Cyber Circus, was shortlisted for both the British Science Fiction Association Best Novel and the British Fantasy Award for Best Novel 2012. Cyber Circus’s twin novella ‘Black Sunday’ has been selected for The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk, Prime Books 2015.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Guest Author April - Nik Vincent

Since both last year's novels were co-writes, I’m going to sneak in a little something extra. Smiles.

Fiefdom from Abaddon Books was a spin-off from Dan’s Kingdom strip for 2000AD, and I’d wanted to get my hands on it for long form fiction since its inception. It's always a pleasure to work with the husband, but I think this particular novel played to my strengths, and he rather let me run with it. Fear not, the novel stands alone.


I also had my first independent short story The Stranger Cards published in the Dangerous Games anthology, edited by Jonathan Oliver for Solaris. I was thrilled to find myself in some great company.


Solaris has since bought my first independent novel, Savant, to be published in 2016, so watch this space.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

The Sharkpunk Interview - Richard Salter

Richard Salter describes himself as a 'Writer of sorts...' and he is an editor as well as an author.


Sharkpunk: What, do you think, is the reason for people's enduring fascination with sharks? 
Richard Salter: I reckon it's that iconic image of the dorsal fin moving through the water, like a preview of what's to come, a warning flag letting you know it's time to get the hell out of the water. You can draw two sides of a triangle with a wavy line at the bottom, and everyone will know what it is. Also teeth. Lots of teeth.

SP: What was the inspiration behind your story Sharkbait? 
RS: Nothing specific. The idea I pitched was mostly the structure the story ended up with, though my helpful editor helped me define the nature of the titular little girl. I'm not sure where it all came from, other than a feeling of panic that I wouldn't be able to write a story without ANY fantastical elements. So I came up with the idea of the girl who can "charm" sharks, and I knew I wanted her to be called Sharkbait. Everything else came from there.

SP: What challenges, or surprises, did you encounter in writing your story? 
RS: Anything that requires me to do any level of research is a challenge for me. It feels too much like work so I tend to hurl oodles of unreal stuff into my fiction, be it time travel or ghosts or magic, to avoid having to actually know anything. I can get straight down to the fun part, the writing! It was a struggle to ground my fiction in a more "realistic" setting. There are supernatural elements to the story, but they're not overt and most of the narrative concerns a diamond heist that goes wrong and the consequences thereafter.

SP: If you had to pick a favourite shark, which would it be? 
RS: I think Mr Wonderful himself, Kevin O'Leary. Never a dull moment in the Shark Tank (the US equivalent to Dragon's Den) with Mr Wonderful around!

SP: Do you have a favourite fictional shark (in books, comics, films, or video games)? 
RS: I'm tempted to go with the plastic one from the 1966 Batman movie. It terrified me as a six year old! My slightly more serious answer would be the sharks in Open Water. That film terrified me as an adult! The sharks are treated realistically (as far as I can tell) and the tension as they circle nearer and nearer to the stranded couple is masterfully handled. In fact now I feel the urge to dig that one out and watch it again.

SP: Apart from your story in Sharkpunk, what's coming next from Richard Salter? 
RS: I am working on a super-secret project for a fairly big series that's tremendously exciting but also very hard work. It has consumed all my writing time for months, so for now there's nothing new that I can talk about. I did recently have my first novel released. It's called The Patchwork House and it's a haunted house story with a time travel twist. Reviewers are saying it's very scary, which is very nice to hear. I'm also busy promoting Fantasy For Good, which is an anthology of fantasy fiction I co-edited featuring the likes of Neil Gaiman, George R. R. Martin, Piers Anthony, Kelley Armstrong, Michael Moorcock, Carrie Vaughn and a ton of other talented folks. All proceeds go to the Colon Cancer Alliance, so please do check it out.

Thanks, Richard!


Richard Salter is a British writer and editor living in Toronto, Canada. His debut novel, The Patchwork House, is a ghost story with a time travel twist. He co-edited Fantasy For Good, a charity anthology featuring huge names in the genre such as Piers Anthony, Neil Gaiman, George R.R. Martin and Michael Moorcock, which benefits the Colon Cancer Alliance. He has written short fiction for Doctor Who and Warhammer, and has a story in This Is How You Die, the sequel to the popular Machine of Death. Find out more at http://www.richardsalter.com