Title: The Mammoth Book of Kaiju
When “Gojira” from Toho Studios was released in 1954 noone could imagine that it would start the Kaiju Eiga genre. 60 years later giant monsters called kaiju (or daikaiju if we choose the correct term) are still part of our movies and, from time to time, of our libraries. The Mammoth Book of Kaiju is not the first collection of stories for that genre and it won’t be the last (at least I hope so). I can’t really tell what keeps our interest in something so unnatural and out of this world. It could be our fear for the possible results from nuclear tests and the destruction mankind causes, maybe it’s our secret need to feel that nature is still powerful and that man is not the absolute master of this planet. Or, having completely explored our planet, we still need something new and unknown, something that can’t be explained by our current scientific level.Like every collection, Mammoth Book of Kaiju, varies in characteristics and quality between its short stories as they explore different sides of the Kaiju mythos and their direct contact with humanity or their indirect ramifications in human life. After all, creatures like Kaiju, can not but affect every aspect of human life. “Occupied”, by Natania Barron “flirts” with biblical mythology, while “Postcards from Monster Island” by Emily Devenport presents to us a different dynamic on the kaiju – humanity relationship, where the giant monsters are not evil but have their own part to play on this planet. A different approach, slightly humorous, is presented by Adam Ford and his “Seven Dates That Were Ruined by Giant Monsters” and in “Kungmin Horangi: The People’s Tiger” and “The Island of Dr. Otaku” by Cody Goodfellow, though in his case humor is in many instances satirical (you only have to check the names in his stories, like Dr. Otaku). On the opposite spectrum we have a horror story by Chris McMahon and his “The Eyes of Erebus”, while “The Black Orophant” by Daniel Braum gets us to a confrontation between humans and some creatures as seen by another side, that of a young elephant called Edu. This variety in different motifs exist in all the short stories of this collection, making “The Mammoth Book of Kaiju” an easy reading. Its size is, as its title informs us, huge. All in all it is an easy book to read, without many secret or deeper meanings to ponder on. Something “light”, entertaining and if you don’t mind the size of it, suitable to read during your summer holidays. After all you never know when a kaiju will get out of the sea while you are swimming, do you?