Monday, January 12, 2009

Shambling Towards Hiroshima, Kaiju on the Loose!


Rick Kleffel at The Agony Column website and podcast recently had some fine words to say about soon-to-be-available Shambling Towards Hiroshima:

"Morrow makes huge leaps of imagination and buoys them with a precise, controlled prose that is kooky and clean. In order to sustain images of Navy frogmen feeding giant lizards, he keeps an emotional connection between the character and reader, and manages scenes both powerful and silly..."
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"Powerful and silly" doesn't just describe some of the scenes in Morrow's new book, it's also an apt description of the giant monster films that inspired the book. Known as Kaiju to connoisseurs, the monstrous stars of these films come in all shapes and sizes, from humanoid dinosaurs like Morrow's Gorgantis (not to mention that other famous - and litigious - monster franchise, you know who) to insects and even stranger things, all of them simultaneously powerful and silly. It's an apt description. After all, how else would you describe a giant tadpole made of smog that is capable of destroying an entire city?

This paradoxical juxtaposition of humor and horror has endeared these city-stomping, helicopter-chomping creatures to millions of people around the world who follow their exploits through modestly budgeted films and other media regularly released through a handful of mostly Asian studios. It's been over six decades since the first giant monster film, and our Kaiju friends - and their fans - show no sign of slowing down. Just check out some of the websites, like Kaijuphile.com.

Launched by author Clint Werner and his buddy Brandon Waggle, www.Kaijuphile.com is arguably ground zero for American Kaiju fandom. Featuring news, reviews, video clips, a dedicated forum and more, KaijuPhile is an impressive monument to all things Kaiju.

Then there's the smaller but no less impressive www.KaijuHQ.com, run by longtime fan Jordan Twining. Visitors can take his Kaiju Quiz, read about Twining's trip to see the premiere of Godzilla: Final Wars and check out amazing handmade costumes in his photo section.

Not content to just watch the films and browse the net? Maybe you should check out Kaiju Big Battel at www.Kaiju.com. Kaiju Big Battel offers "live monster fighting" with costumed combatants duking it out in a boxing ring full of cardboard skyscrapers. They're frequently on tour, so if you're lucky they might bring their "powerful and silly" (powerfully silly?) show to your town. In the meantime, be sure to look for James Morrow's Shambling Towards Hiroshima rampaging through a bookstore near you this February.

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