This week, we asked our esteemed panelists the following question:
BRIEF SYNOPSIS:: A collection of 25 stories revolving around the idea of Kaiju — Giant Monsters in the tradition of Godzilla and Pacific Rim.
PROS: Some very strong stories that transcend the limitations of the subject matter; a good editorial hand in story choice based on perspective and point of view; well done illustrations add to the impact of the stories.
CONS: Story quality varies somewhat wildly.
BOTTOM LINE: SF readers interested in pursuing their Kaiju cravings from movies over to the written word should look no further.
Ever since our ancestors were shrew-sized dwellers in the shadow of the dinosaurs, we’ve been fascinated by and terrified by giant monsters. When Godzilla destroyed Tokyo, we shivered in our seats and reached for more popcorn. T-Rex gobbling up a repulsive lawyer in Jurassic Park is a funny moment.
And yet, for the average watcher of a Godzilla movie on TV, or even most SF fans, these were merely giant monsters, some of them with names, but no single word to tie them together. The movie universe of Pacific Rim, a taxonomic name for Giant Monsters and always present within the subgenre, was adopted and spread from there to wider culture. That name for Giant Monsters is derived from the Japanese: Kaiju. Kaiju Rising is a kickstarted anthology edited by Nick Sharps and Tim Marquitz that brings the power, the pathos, and even the humor of Kaiju to print, in an anthology of 25 stories.
[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]
Sure the books are almost always better than the movie, but that hasn’t stopped Hollywood from adapting genre fiction. So with that in mind, we asked our esteemed panel…
This is what they said…
The best for me is The Exorcist. Because the screenplay adaptation is by the original novelist, it hews closely to the book and it never gives into either backing down from the book’s most controversial scenes nor inflating them. I’d also suggest that director William Friedkin chose the perfect style to compliment William Peter Blatty’s story — he eschewed the Gothic trappings that had been common in horror films up to that point, and instead took a documentary approach to the material, treating it in a dramatic and very realistic fashion.
For my worst, I’m going to choose the film version of Alan Moore’s brilliant Watchmen, because I’ve never seen another adaptation that so completely inverted the intent of its source material. Moore’s original graphic novel is a deconstruction of superheroes, but the film is a ludicrous celebration. My favorite example is a scene in which the very disturbed character of Rorschach crashes through an upper-floor window and falls into a ring of police. In the graphic novel, it takes three small panels to show Rorschach crashing through the window and landing, where he’s stunned and easily beaten down; in the movie, he falls forever in slow-motion and then fights off the cops successfully for some time before being overwhelmed. The entire movie mythologizes these characters where Moore’s intention was to show them as psychologically damaged. I was so furious after seeing that movie that I wanted to punch the projectionist.
Ragnarok has posted the awesome Bob Eggleton cover art for their upcoming anthology Kaiju Rising by edited by Tim Marquitz and Nick Sharps.
(Click the cover above for a larger version. It’s pretty awesome.)
You may have noticed my absence from SF Signal lately – lets face it, you’ve missed me. And I’ve missed you! But I promise I haven’t been idle in my absence. In fact, I’ve been working on the coolest project I’ve ever been involved in. I am the Project Creator and Acquisitions Manager of the exciting KAIJU RISING: Age of Monsters anthology, brought to you by Ragnarok Publications. KAIJU RISING: Age of Monsters features 19 authors and includes a foreword by New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry and an afterword by Jeremy Robinson, author of the popular kaiju novel Project Nemesis. We’re running a campaign over at Kickstarter in order to fund the anthology and as I write this we are at 80% of our funding goal in just over a week.
One of the coolest things that has come from running the KAIJU RISING: Age of Monsters campaign has been making connections with all these other cool projects. One such project is the monster-building, city-crushing card game RARRR!!, from APE Games.
“In RARRR!!, players build monsters (kaiju), each with its own set of terrifying powers. Then they battle each other until only one monster remains to rampage through the city! Cities are worth victory points, and the player with the most points at the end of the game wins! Strategy is required in every aspect of the game, from building the monster that best suits you to drafting power cards (see the gameplay video below for details on how to draft) to picking which cities to battle for.”
In a cross promotional effort Kevin Brusky of APE Games has set aside some of his precious time to conduct a two-way interview. In Part One I will pose to Kevin questions about his totally awesome game RARRR!! and in Part Two Kevin will perform the role of interrogator and get the scoop on KAIJU RISING: Age of Monsters.
[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]
We asked this week’s panelists…
Here’s what they said…
I highly recommend The Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness. These books are awesome, from the titles to the cliffhangers. I read them mostly standing, as it was sometimes too difficult to relax in a comfy chair.
The main character, Todd Hewitt, had me from the first page. Todd has learned to be tough despite the fact that he has zero privacy (due to a disease on his planet which makes one’s every thought visible). I love him because he possesses a vulnerability that is so raw and genuine, you can’t help but be affected. When his insecurities are revealed, you’re embarrassed. Not for Todd, but with Todd. Like you just realized you forgot to wear pants today.
Todd’s the bridge between our world, and one with aliens, genocide, and hands down the best talking dog EVER. Todd makes you realize that his world of chaos and violence isn’t so different from our own, and that all the technology that makes our lives so convenient – cell phones, Facebook, Twitter, etc. – often makes it impossible to hide. These are concepts that teens now more than ever are facing every day.