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.