Reviewed by Kyla Ward
First off, you need to know that ‘daikaiju’ is Japanese for ‘giant monster’. That is, Godzilla, King Kong, Rodan and all their kind. Now you are qualified to enjoy the most unusual and entertaining anthology I’ve read in a long while.
Each of the 29 fiction entries features giant monsters but the variety is incredible. Some appear in traditional city-crushing mode (Garth Nix’s ‘Read it in the Headlines’) and some as effective metaphors (David Carroll’s ‘Footprint’). Some are the butt of giant-sized jokes (Michelle Marquardt’s ‘Crunch Time”) and others are caught in the most bizarre situations imaginable (Andrew Sullivan’s ‘Notes Concerning Events at the Ray Harryhausen Memorial Home for Retired Actors’). New extreme sports are proposed, along with unthinkable liaisons. Although I liked some stories better than others (and two of the entries are poem cycles and one a script), there wasn’t a single dud. The whole is rounded off by an essay on the films that provided the inspiration.
Robert Hood is a prolific Australian writer, with a slew of short stories and young adult novels to his credit. Daikaiju! reminds me of a previous project he co-edited, entitled Crosstown Traffic (Stuart Coupe & Julie Ogden, Five Islands Press, 1993), which put the detective story through the hoops of science fiction, fantasy, horror and more. Robin Pen was a founding editor of the prestigious Australian journal Eidolon and is known for his film criticism. But although Daikaiju is edited by Australians and published by an Australian small press, the contributors are very much international. As is the devastation; Sydney, Melbourne, Tokyo, San Francisco, Washington, Hai Phong and the charming Cornish village of Launceston are all trashed at various points. I recommend this book to anyone looking for something different, or who likes their heroes and villains truly larger than life.
Daikaiju! Giant Monster Tales, Edited by Robert Hood and Robin Pen
Agog! Press, Sydney, 2005