The Epic of Gilgamo

It’s a popular misperception that pollution and nuclear testing created the giant monsters known as kaiju. But did you know that exposure to pollution and radiation accounts for only 38 percent of the creatures on the United Nations deadly kaiju roster? Mother Nature can be blamed for the rest.

Gilgamo was one of the rare 38 percenters. The mutant megalosaurus was the product of illegal radioactive experimentation back in 1958. As a hatchling, he grew at an alarming rate finally reaching a weight of 40,000 tons and 220 meters in length. In short order he became the world’s undisputed apex predator. 

But in Neil Riebe’s latest (and best) monster novel, Gilgamo is struck with a blast from a shrink ray. Within seconds, the purple-scaled behemoth is downsized to five feet tall (in his theropod stance). For the rest of the book, he mostly exists as an itsy-bitsy mini-saurus. 

Being small is a big problem for Gilgamo. Not only is he being hunted by Japanese security personnel plus a secret Chinese consortium, but he can no longer compete with rivals such as Tiamatodon and Cynog. In his present state, the only way he can kick over cars and trucks is when he wanders into a playground. 

Consequently, he takes shelter inside a small cottage near Tokyo. What he doesn’t know is that an American expatriate and the 1,500-year-old ghost of a shaman priestess are already living in the house. 

This absurd arrangement is arguably the most entertaining thing in the book. It’s not exactly a kaiju version of Three’s Company, but it’s kooky nonetheless. The monster, the ghost and the emigrant all coexist in an improbable bubble of domestic bliss. As impossible as it seems, Gilgamo behaves himself and is as cute and innocent as an overgrown puppy.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, a super-sized Allosaurus is crushing the United States. Twenty-thousand dead in San Francisco, 23,000 dead in Sacramento and 18,000 dead in Vegas. The U.S. military is nothing but useless. “My God,” says an official with the Pentagon. “We dropped 150 tons of explosives on him. If he can take that kind of pounding, he can take anything.” 

As he did with his first two novels (I Shall Not Mate and Vistakill), author Neil Riebe has created a fun and unique kaiju adventure combining both Japanese history and global alt-history. As promised by the book’s title and cover, Gilgamo and Super Allosaurus have a novel-ending knock-out battle which destroys downtown Manhattan. The fight is great, but the journey to New York is pretty exciting too.  

[Gilgamo Vs. Super Allosaurus / By Neil Riebe / First Printing: May 2022 / ISBN: 9798809392013]