Saturday 7 March 2015

Short Story Saturday: Sharkpunk Saturday - Kit Cox

I know, I know... First Zombie Zunday and now Sharkpunk Saturday... Whatever next?

Well, the thing is (in case you haven't already heard), in May SHARKPUNK, an anthology of killer shark stories, will be published by Snowbooks.

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!

As part of the build-up to the book's release, I am going to be posting interviews with some of those authors who have contributed to SHARKPUNK and I'm going to start today with, appropriately enough, the author who completed his short story first - Mr Kit Cox!

Sharkpunk: What, do you think, is the reason for people's enduring fascination with sharks? 
Kit Cox: A perceived fear keeps fascination levels up. Until you realise the shark is actually quite unlikely to attack you think about them in every strange stretch of water. If however you go beyond that fear of the fantasy killer shark you find possibly one of the most interesting fish in the sea.

SP: What was the inspiration behind your story 'Ambergris'?
KC: Ambergris comes from the continuing adventures of my character Major Jack Union. A monster hunter for Queen Victoria who keeps the fact monsters exist out of the public attention. I always wanted to do a Moby Dick kind of story for Jack but the original is so good it's hard to top, then I saw a programme about Victorian whaling and the problems they faced with sharks feeding off the carcasses and I realised that was my angle. I couldn't just have a shark I had to have a monster and the easiest way to do that was to take the shark back to its primeval heritage.

SP: What challenges, or surprises, did you encounter in writing your story?
KC: I always want to get a historical message across in my stories, something factual that will make people want to look up the real history of something or someone. In a short tale like Ambergris I didn't have a lot of space to get a fact in. The boat that Jack hunts from is therefore a real vessel of the British Navy of the Victoria era and although it appears fully factual under the correct name in my story it has been featured in a story before as the ill fated Iron clad "Thunderchild" that brings down a Martian War machine. I even have a connection as my great great grandfather was one of the riveters that put her together.

SP: If you had to pick a favourite shark, which would it be?
KC: My favourite shark is the Great White, for all the cliché reasons. I ate in a restaurant next to a shark aquarium, in the states and the Great White was by the glass the entire time and it is a beautiful fish. 

SP: Do you have a favourite fictional shark (in books, comics, films, or video games)?
KC: I have many. In movies it has to be Jaws but in comics it is HookJaw, a rip-off of Jaws but with a harpoon through his lower jaw, it came from Action Comics and I loved it. However, honourable mentions have to go to the rubber shark that attacks Adam West's Batman and gets hit with shark repellent spray and the many sharks of James Bond villains, over the years.

SP: Apart from your story in SHARKPUNK , what's coming next from Kit Cox? 
KC: Well I currently have a trilogy on the go "The Adventures of Benjamin Gaul". With only one part out "The Monster Hunter" and the rest coming out over the next couple of years, I am very proud of it. The story of a young mixed race boy, growing up in a Victorian world, and discovering monsters are real and prey on the unwary. This will be followed by my Cold War story - 1965 spies dealing with the encroaching world of dark Celtic faeries.

Thanks, Kit!

Kit Cox, and his alter ego Major Jack Union, create stories in an alternate history where monsters really do hide in the shadows. Kit writes in his Victorian-inspired study, surrounded by monster relics and jet packs. 

An illustrator who wanted more than a thousand words, his pictures supposedly spoke, to tell his stories, Kit turned to the stage, acting and writing. 

He owns a retro space suit, Le Matt Revolver and is fully prepared for the Zombie apocalypse. Umbrellas are his natural enemy.

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