On a rational level, we know there’s not much to fear from sharks. Sharks are responsible for ten human deaths a year worldwide, compared with the hundreds killed by Nile crocodiles or the thousands by hippopotami (though the latter might be a myth). Even cows manage to kill around twenty-two people in the USA every year. And we all know that, out of the four hundred and eighty shark species out there, only four are any frequent danger to humans. In some aquariums there are shallow petting pools where you can stroke a bonnethead shark’s rough skin as it glides by.
That said, the shark-as-ravenous-killing machine makes for a more compelling narrative. While Jaws takes much of blame for this, I think there’s something inherent in the design of a shark’s body that makes them terrifying. A species like the Great White is basically made up of two parts: the jaws, which are filled with teeth and big enough to swallow you whole, and the rest of the body, which is streamlined and essentially a jaws delivery system to let it devour whatever it wants.
And yet there’s always writers ready to take an already terrifying monster and make it even more terrifying. For example, a few years ago the anthology Sharkpunk came out which featured (among other things) space sharks, ghost sharks, Franken-sharks, cyborg sharks and even psychological sharks. It was good fun.
Today the Kickstarter for Sharkpunk 2 goes live. This anthology contains 19 stories (or 25 if you get the bonus e-book), which features “rip-roaring page-turners, slow-build chillers, and darkly humorous comedies – which celebrate all things savage, pulp and selachian – [and] cover the whole range of speculative fiction genres, from contemporary horror and science fiction, through to gritty crime and action-adventure. There are stories set during the Viking era, the Golden Age of Piracy, and the present day, as well as in the far future, and on far-flung alien worlds.”
Sharkpunk 2 contains a new Shintaro Oba story by C L Werner, a new Charles St Cyprian story by Josh Reynolds, and a brand new Richards & Klein story by Guy Haley. There are new stories by James Lovegrove (he’s written the Age of Ra/Zeus/Odin series I’ve been meaning to try), Gav Thorpe (he, Josh Reynolds and Guy Haley are all Black Library alumni and reliably entertaining) and Michael Carroll (a new Judge Dredd writer who’s so good, I initially assumed he was a pseudonym for Dredd co-creator John Wagner).
There’s also stories by David Smith, Violet Addison, David Guymer, Michael J. Nicholson, Tim Major, Jonathan Oliver, George Pickett, Su Haddrell, Adrian Chamberlin, Nate Crowley, Jan Siegel, Alexandra Peel, Scott Aniolowski, David Annandale, and Andy Taylor.
And there’s also a story by me. Elevator pitch: ‘a dying whaling captain tries to save her life by seeking out the god of sharks.’ So if that sounds like fun, or if any of the authors I mentioned grab your interest, feel free to click the banner below. The Kickstarter runs until 7am EST on February 28th, but there are early bird rewards if you pledge by February 3rd.