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Then, from New York Times best sellers to indie darlings Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters features authors that are perfectly suited for writing larger-than-life stories, including: Peter Clines, Larry Correia, James Lovegrove, Gini Koch (as J. C. Koch), James Maxey, Jonathan Wood, C. L. Werner, Joshua Reynolds, David Annandale, Jaym Gates, Peter Rawlik, Shane Berryhill, Natania Barron, Paul Genesse & Patrick Tracy, Nathan Black, Mike MacLean, Timothy W. Long, Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam, Kane Gilmour, Peter Stenson, Erin Hoffman, Sean Sherman, Howard Andrew Jones (The Chronicles of Sword and Sand tie-in), Edward M. Erdelac (Dead West tie-in), and James Swallow (Colossal Kaiju Combat tie-in).
The narrators include: Bronson Pinchot, Simon Vance, James Adams, Jay Snyder, Brian Nishii, Nicola Barber, Victor Bevine, Peter Ganim, Jonathan Davis, Marc Vietor, Jennifer Van Dyck, Gabra Zackman, Scott Aiello, Mark Boyett, Allison Hiroto, Katy Kellgren, Christian Rummel, Therese Plummer, Ray Porter, Sean Runnette, Jeff Woodman, Dina Pearlman, Suzy Jackson, Brian Nishii, RC Bray, and Susan Duerden.
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By Jim "The Impatient" on 06-21-15
1,000 FINGERNAILS ON 1,000 CHALKBOARDS
The Summary says 23 stories, but there is really 25 plus an intro. Which means 26 different writers. Of the 26 I only recognized three authors Peter Clines, Larry Correia and Jeremy Robinson who did the intro. I like to think of myself as pretty knowledgeable in the Science Fiction Field, so was surprised at the number of unknowns. Lots of areas where covered. There was a Zombie Kaiju, steampunk, different times in history and in the future and different parts of the world. There were two stories from the perspective of the Monsters.
YOU'D HAVE BETTER LUCK TRYING TO SINK AFRICA
Overall this is one of the worst anthologies I have listened to. The number of bad or boring stories were way over the top. Over half were a waste of time.
DON'T JUDGE A HORSE BY THE SADDLE HE WEARS
Having said how bad the majority of stories are, there still were some good ones. James Lovegrove and Peter Stenson had the best stories. Day of the Demi Gods by Peter Stenson is funny and is about a Kaiju with self-esteem problems trying to make it big in Hollywood. I also liked Edward M. Erdelac, Sean Sherman, Peter Clines, James Maxey, and Larry Correia's stories. One great reason to read anthologies is to get introduced to new talent. Sherman's story Shaktarra was a great reminder of the stories of the past and could have been written 50 years ago. James Maxey's story, Fall of Babylon, is the one story that has bother most of the other reviewers. It is an interesting look at Revelations from the bible, but is anti-bible and can be disturbing to those who are sensitive in that area. I am preparing to go to church as I write this, but am able to question the bible and some set beliefs without the fear of losing my faith or being upset. I thought it was clever and brought out some subjects to be discussed. There are people at my church who do not appreciate my views.
THE JAPANESE ALIEN ALLIES
The narrators read like a who's who of narrators. With the exception of the last narrator for the last story, these guys really bring quality to this recording. I did not remember Dick Hill doing a story, but other then that there were some of my favorites here. Not sure how the last narrator got invited, she had the most irritating sing song narration I have ever heard.
20 of 24 people found this review helpful
By Troy on 10-12-17
Mixed Bag of (Mostly) Kaiju Stories
As a collection of short stories this one goes from 1 star to 4 depending on the author. The writing ranges from juvenile yapping to writer's workshop overwrought prose to really competent narratives. The central conceit is daikaiju monsters, obviously, Godzilla and his kin (with the serial numbers filed off). I read it because I was trying to pin down my own long-time interest in daikaju (which I'll just call kaiju from here forward) and what kind of narratives you can tell with them. Here's my story-by-story reactions. Some contain very mild spoilers.
* or ** - don't bother.
*** - sure, if you want to, but not amazing.
**** - worth it.
Big Ben and the End of the Pier Show – James Lovegrove
**** Mech-vs-Kaiju, Post-apocalyptic. Pictures a world where kaiju attacks are common. Kind of a nostalgic look at an epic battle from the past.
The Conversion – David Annandale
*** Religion. About the futility of faith in the face of a kaiju attack. It's heavy-handed with the message, but gets more interesting as it goes along.
Day of the Demigods – Peter Stenson
* Humor. A jab at Hollywood written from the point of view of a kaiju superstar. Your mileage may vary, but I hated this one. It was too silly and vulgar (as if written by an 80's era frat boy.)
The Lighthouse Keeper of Kurohaka Island – Kane Gilmour
**** Other. This is an interesting one with some deeper emotional content. Only a handful of people know that kaiju exist and are charged with "tending the light."
Occupied – Natania Barron
** Post-apocalyptic, Horror. A "sick" young girl lives in the sewers and struggles with her (in)humanity. First of all, this doesn't really feel like a kaiju story. It has a cyberpunk, PA vibe to it. It also has a complicated structure of shifting viewpoints that is interesting but heavy-handed in a writer's workshop kind of way.
One Last Round – Nathan Black
*** Mech-vs-Kaiju. A mech crew tries to keep a robot operational despite budget cuts and save New Orleans. Pulpy fun.
The Serpent’s Heart – Howard Andrew Jones
**** Fantasy, Monster Hunter. A tyranical sea captain is hunted by a monstrous sea serpent. This is more of a fantasy than a kaiju story. The setting is a high seas age-of-sail thing, with an Asian flair.
Monstruo – Mike MacLean
** Post-Apocalyptic, Kaiju Kids (see description). A burned-out agent of Task Force M, trying to stop kaiju-aliens from destroying the earth, accepts one last mission. Uh. this one has some interesting moments, but it is a total mess. The story spirals out of control in the most implausible sort of fashion. It does feature a kid-kaiju connection, which is something I appreciate. Several of the oldest Godzilla movies feature some kind of connection, usually psychic, between kids and kaiju.
The Behemoth – Jonathan Wood
*** Post-Apocalyptic, Mech-vs-Kaiju. Mankind has developed giant mechs to fight kaiju. This story is about the terrible cost humankind pays to keep the mechs going. Interesting premise, maybe a bit over-wrought.
The Greatest Hunger – Jaym Gates
** Post-Apocalyptic, Kaiju-vs-Kaiju. Psychic handlers fight with their kaiju. Sounds cool, but ultimately isn't very. It's a point-of-view peace from a weary handler with a pretty thin premise and not much plot. As a cautionary PA tale, it mostly fails.
Heartland – Shane Berryhill
*** Religion, Horror. A woman wronged by her husband takes things into her own hands. The kaiju appears only at the end of this story and isn't really the focus. Like The Behemoth above, this one has a bit of Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" in it.
Devil’s Cap Brawl – Edward M. Erdelac
*** Alternate History, Kaiju-vs-Kaiju. A Chinese mystic fights a monster in the old west. Pulpy fun.
Shaktarra – Sean Sherman
*** Post-apocalyptic. A dimensional rift brings a kaiju and other alien creatures into modern day (?) Utah. I put a question mark on modern day because both film canisters and cars dominated by chip technology are mentioned, so maybe this takes place in the 80s? Anyway, like the last one this is shallow, pulpy fun.
Of the Earth, of the Sky, of the Sea – Patrick M. Tracy and Paul Genesse
**** Alternate History, Kaiju-vs-Kaiju. A steampunk British empire attempts to invade Japan, but finds out that country has her own weapons of war. This one is interesting and good fun at the same time.
The Flight of the Red Monsters – Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam
** Post-apocalyptic. When giant lobsters attack a girl gets revenge. Whatever.
Operation Starfish – Peter Rawlik
*** Horror, Pastiche, Military/Science-vs-Kaiju. A kaiju-fight survivor recounts how it all went wrong. Lovecraftian mythos elements (Miskatonic U., Tillinghast's Resonator, The Hounds of Tindalos) are used as set dressing in this fairly clunky crossover. Not the worst idea, and the narrative frame certainly echoes Lovecraft's typical distraught and doomed protagonist, but ultimately a forgettable story.
With Bright Shining Faces – J.C. Koch
** Fantasy, Kaiju Kids, Humor(?). A teacher tries to get to the bottom of why her students are fighting with/over pictures of kaiju. This is a kind of silly story about kids transforming into kaiju and "making things right." A power fantasy.
The Banner of the Bent Cross – Peter Clines
** Alternate History. An ancient Greek sailing vessel shows up in the waters of WWII and starts sinking ships. Despite the wild premise, I barely remember reading this one. It has a mythological crossover, as you might guess and doesn't seem like a kaiju story to me.
Fall of Babylon – James Maxey
** Religion (trigger warning). A man gets his alcoholic pop-star sister out of rehab and then gets involved in a ritual/scheme to kill The Lamb of God. Is this a kaiju story? I guess so. It's like a pulpy, schlocky version of a Tim Powers book, with heaven and hell at war and Miley Cyrus as a secondary character.
Dead Man’s Bones – Josh Reynolds
*** Alternate History, Pastiche, Military/Science-vs-Kaiju. The dead are rising from their graves in the trenches and battlefields of WWI. This one has League of Extraordinary Gentlemen style references to literary characters, like William Hope Hodgson's Carnaki the Ghost Finder. Pulpy fun.
Stormrise – Erin Hoffman
** Apocalyptic. (Not Post-Apocalyptic because it's the beginning of the end? Kind of a rise of the robots theme.) An Artificial Intelligence forms into kind of kaiju; what can stop it (from doing basically nothing). This could have been a good story maybe, but it isn't. The ending teases an AI/kaiju vs. AI/kaiju fight but then abruptly ends. Mostly pointless.
Big Dog – Timothy W. Long
*** Alternate History, Mech-vs-Kaiju. An alien ship crashes near Japan giving them kaiju technology; the US must team up with Russians and Nazis to fight back. Sounds stupid, but it's carried off relatively well.
The Great Sea Beast – Larry Correia
*** Fantasy, Monster Hunter. A disgraced samurai, shunned because of his childhood reporting of a giant sea beast (an obvious lie!), devotes his life to proving the truth and killing the monster that killed his father. Sure. It's thin in places, but kind of fun.
Animikii vs. Mishipeshu – C.L. Werner
** Military/Science-vs-Kaiju, Kaiju-vs-Kaiju. An operation to strip mine copper from a North American island releases an ancient beast. Loosely-deployed Native American mythology comes into play.
The Turn of the Card – James Swallow
*** Mech-vs-Kaiju, Kaiju-vs-Kaiju. I found this one a little hard to follow, but that's because (I think) some of the references are to a game that was developed along with this book when it was Kickstarted.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful