It seems that if you wish to create a new subgenre, all you need to do is shove the word ‘punk’ on the end of it. Snowbook’s latest anthology, SharkPunk, doesn’t really create a new wave of shark-themed literature, but what it does do is bring together some very interesting talent to tell a whole bunch of stories about everybody’s favourite villain of the seas.
The editor, Jonathan Green, has curated an interesting collection and has presented them in the best possible order; some of the tales are deep psychological horror, others are deeply silly parody. It takes a firm editorial hand and a keen understanding of the tone of each piece to make a collection this diverse work, and Green makes it look effortless.
The sharp-toothed festivities begin with Peter and the Invisible Shark by Jon Oliver, a tale that sets the tone for the collection; subtle menace, psychological horror and humour. Things get sillier with the fantasy comedy tale The Lickspittle Leviathan, which showcases author David Lee Stone quite well by cramming a complex yet interesting world into a very small space. The fun continues with Toby Frost’s Deep Black Space, which is another gloriously daft Space Captain Smith story which features space sharks, of all blessed things.
Other highlights include Alec Worley’s Sharkcop 2: Feeding Frenzy, a parody of the detective genre more than anything else, though we really do want to see an American police procedural drama were the main character is a Were-shark. It’s not all daft fun though; Den Patrick’s Blood in the Water is a powerful tale of body horror and slow insanity, set in a world disturbingly close to our own. Similarly, Jenni Hill’s The Serial Killer Who Thought She Was a Shark offers us an all too likely scenario that will send a sharp shiver down the spine. Robert Spalding’s Rise of the Ubershark is the most cinematic of the lot; Pacific Rim meets Jaws. Shirley by Amy and Andy Taylor asks that popular pub question “Who would win in a fight between a shark and bear?”, but adds a deliciously sinister spin to it all. With a total of twenty stories, there is plenty of killer fish action to go round.
Al Ewing and Sarah Peploe finish off the collection with YOU ARE THE SHARK. Despite the title (which is a joke at Jonathan Green’s expense), this is not a small choose-your-own adventure piece. Instead, it’s a rather thought-provoking tale of childhood trauma and loss, with the commercialisation of all things shark-like as its backdrop. It’s a powerful conclusion to a great collection, and one that is a must for those who love the terrors of the deep.
INFO: SHARK PUNK / EDITOR: JONATHAN GREEN / AUTHOR: VARIOUS / PUBLISHER: SNOWBOOKS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW