Saturday, September 30, 2017

On Seeing Things As They Really Are

“Gods, what an easy life the Guild-beggars have,” the other niche-guard observed to his mate. “What slack discipline and low standards of skill! Perfect, my sacred butt! You’d think a child could see through those disguises.”

“Doubtless some children do,” his mate retorted. “But their dear mothers and fathers only drop a tear and a coin or give a kick. Grown folk go blind, lost in their toil and dreams, unless they have a profession such as thieving which keeps them mindful of things as they really are.”

 From Fritz Leiber, I’ll Met in Lankhmar 

Monday, September 25, 2017

On Giant Monster Stories

Various authors, Tim Marquitz (ed), Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters

Well, I finally finished this monstrosity (pun intended)! If you are kaiju-curious, you could do worse.

I did a story-by-story review for Goodreads, with ratings and some thematic labels. The TLDR on this is that it is very uneven in terms of quality, but contains a few surprises in terms of what you can do, narratively, with a giant monster story.

I feel like the stories fell into these four, broad categories.

PA Fiction
Use the monster as a harbinger, means, or symptom of the apocalypse - so either post-apocalyptic or cautionary depending on whether they come before or after.

Military Fiction
Tell military and alternate history stories with giant monsters. I lump these together because they are mostly military fantasy/sf stories, but some are set in the future or in the past.

Social Commentary
Engage in fairly shallow commentary on religion or victims of social injustice (often children) using kaiju as a kind of karmic punishment or ally of the downtrodden. These are related in my mind because they are about the ability invoke/control a power larger than yourself, regardless of your reason but mostly to "prove" (perhaps very forcibly) to others that you are right and/or have been wronged. You might call this power fantasy too.

Tell a pointless but fun yarn from the viewpoint of a monster hunter or the monster itself, or maybe even someone who has transformed into a monster. Sometimes these devolved into weak humor.