Size matters in kaiju fiction. Just ask Steve Alten, an author who’s penned eight novels featuring an awesome prehistoric shark. “What is cooler than stories of giant creatures?” he asks rhetorically at the beginning of this monster tome. “When it comes to stalking (or being stalked) size obviously matters. Alligator on the loose? No big deal. Wait … he’s a 30-footer? Well, hell, that IS a big deal.”
Here in Monstrous, a kaiju-fueled anthology from 2009, the creatures are indeed big. But as we all know, size is a relative thing. Giant head lice, for example, aren’t really that big (“The Enemy of My Enemy” by Patrick Rutigliano). Either are bull ants from Australia (“Six-Legged Shadows” by David Conyers and Brian M. Sammons).
Thankfully, king-sized colossi dominate most of these stories: Bears (“Extinction” by Evan Dicken), black beetles (“A Plague From the Mud” by Aaron A. Polson), a 60-foot radioactive vampire (“The Big Bite” by Jeff Strand), a cancerous brain the size of your house (“Whatever Became of Randy” by James A. Moore) and a cast of man-eating crustaceans from crabmaster Guy N. Smith.
There’s even a story about a colossal porn star with an 80-foot boner. “The erection felt great,” says Miles Long while stomping across Los Angeles, “a real classic like in the old days.” But “The Attack of the 500-Foot Porn Star” by Steven Shrewsbury isn’t strictly a 50s radiation monster retread. The ending, in particular, is aimed squarely at our PornTube generation.
Appropriately, the book ends in Japan, the ancestral homeland for all modern-day kaiju. “The Island of Dr. Otaku” by Cody Goodfellow literally turns the city of Tokyo into a “strange beast.” Tired of rebuilding after an endless barrage of daikaiju attacks, Tokyo’s metamorphosis is the only sensible response—it literally becomes a Toei-inspired monster itself.
Other cities follow. San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles and Mexico City—they all begin to collect the world’s fears and misinformation and coalesce into a power source infected with hot air and bullshit. It’s the ultimate chapter in this collection of gigantic monstrous tales.
[Monstrous: 20 Tales of Giant Creature Terror / Edited by Ryan C. Thomas / First Printing: January 2009 / ISBN: 9781934861127]