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Below: Pulgasari

Below: the Marshmallow Man attacks!

Below: one of the Gargantuas running late to catch a plane, in War of the Gargantuas

Cody Goodfellow
Q & A
Daikaiju! story: "Kungmin Horangi: The People's Tiger "

When did your interest in daikaiju and other giant monsters begin? What inspired it?

A steady diet of monster movies from birth, if not before... Godzilla vs. Megalon at the drive-in, and getting expelled from kindergarten the next morning for an overzealous demonstration of the Jet Jaguar Drunken Robot fighting style.

Perhaps you can tell us something of your career to date.

Most of my work, both my novels and a lot of my stories, have been Cthulhu Mythos horror, but I've been slowly moving into other genres and mangling them beyond recognition. I've had a knack for stumbling into side-jobs that have proved interesting: I scored soundtracks for pornos in college, and have just started scripting comics. But eventually, I'd really like to go back to waiting tables.

How many giant monsters stories have you written/had published?

Several, if Cthulhu counts... If not, then just this one.

What would you consider your major work to be?

I've been training a gang of Doberman Pinschers to break into bank safes for a while, now, but until that starts to pay off,  I've been writing novels. Radiant Dawn and Ravenous Dusk are a two-part epic of modern Lovecraftian horror about a covert war over the future of human evolution.

Where does your fascination for giant monsters come from (if you have one)?

The breathtaking spectacle of a gargantuan abomination trampling the works of man while we scurry, antlike, to our inevitable, inconsequential doom seems to speak to that part of me, where other people have a capacity for religious faith. It is the junk-food distillation of existential dread, and it's a hell of a lot more fun to watch than a guy in a beret smoking and crying into an espresso.

Different people have different ideas as to why the giant monster genre holds such power? What is your take on it?

I think the monsters different cultures blow up and turn loose on themselves speaks to their self-perception at a visceral level ... (The later Godzilla films, where he always fights some perverse copy of himself, and the Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man in Ghostbusters are good examples of this.) Giant monsters are a kind of totem of the cultural id, writ so large that it cannot hide or be laid to rest.

What is your favourite giant monster film? Why that one?

As a kid, I loved War of the Gargantuas, probably more because it was on TV all the time, than for its quality. Destroy All Monsters was great for its camp value and its "everything at once" panache, but most of the monsters just plain sucked. (Wouldn't your city feel slighted if they sent Manda to wreck your elevated train lines?) I have very high hopes for Godzilla: Final Wars, and I love the new Gamera stuff.

While still an omnivorous kaijuphile, I tend to watch the films more like porn than real entertainment, skipping a lot of the exposition to get to the gooey centre of monster-on-monster action, and have gotten hooked on the Playstation games War of the Monsters and Godzilla: Save the Earth, which formed most of the research material for "Kungmin Horangi".

But if I had to pick one favourite film ... it definitely would have to be Pulgasari. Look it up, you'll see why...

Are there any written stories or novels featuring giant monsters that you would particularly recommend?

Tough one, that... Lucius Shepard's "The Man Who Painted The Dragon Griaule" and "The Scalehunter's Beautiful Daughter" are both set among tribes of people living on the miles-long carcass of a dead dragon... though the dragon is a landscape, and not a rampaging beast, Shepard takes the notion of the monster as the world itself, red in tooth and claw, to its logical conclusion.

What lies ahead for you?

I'm working on Unamerica, my next novel, and trying to get some shiftless artists to draw up a comic title or two.  I've also got plans for a sequel to "Kungmin Horangi", to be titled "The Island Of Doctor Otaku", that will explore the twisted world of the diabolical creator of the Peoples' Tiger.

Can you tell us how you came to write your story for the DAIKAIJU! anthology? What thoughts lay behind it?

This anthology reached into me and fertilized a hitherto stillborn half-idea that had been stagnating in my brain-uterus for years ... The idea of kaiju as political propaganda tools, as well as weapons of mass destruction, gestated like mad shortly thereafter.

The daikaiju genre (such as it is) has been very film-focussed to date. Did this prove a problem when you came to writing your story?

Not at all ... my stories have a very cinematic rhythm, as I usually just try to describe a movie too big and fucked up to ever get made.

What would you say to those new to the idea of daikaiju films and stories?

"Where the hell have you been hiding?"

February 2005



The anthology is published by Agog! Press.

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