When did your interest in daikaiju and other giant monsters begin? What inspired it?
I have long been interested in charismatic megafauna, especially of the marine variety – sea-serpents, great white sharks, giant squid, etc. While these real-life animals scarcely approach the biologically impossible size of daikaiju, still they inspire awe.
Perhaps you can tell us something of your career to date.
I taught the history and philosophy of science at Melbourne and Swinburne Universities, Melbourne, and creative writing at Victoria University. I currently teach writing fiction at Latrobe University, Melbourne. I have hung out with futurists in Seattle, and with zoologists on the Great Barrier Reef. My website is http://users.bigpond.net.au/RosaleenLove
How many giant monsters stories have you written/had published?
I have written one other largish if not exactly giant monster story, ‘The sea-serpent of Sandy Cape’ Westerly, 32, 1987 and in my short story collection, The Total Devotion Machine, The Women’s Press, London, 1989. The story takes flight from a description of the Moha-Moha, a sea-serpent, half turtle, half fish, which was allegedly sighted on the beach at Fraser Island, in Queensland, Australia, in 1890. There’s a giant squid or two in ‘The Raptures of the Deep’ published in Jack Dann et al. (eds) Gathering the Bones (HarperCollins 2003), and again in Year’s Best Fantasy 4 (eds David Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer, 2004). In a story I’m currently writing, ‘Underwater’, I’ve got a giant underwater city created from organic bits and pieces, a living breathing moving city. It is, however, a city with a benign disposition and inclusive of the human species. I am into non-violent daikaiju.
What would you consider your major work to be?
My major work is the non-fiction, Reefscape. Reflections on the Great Barrier Reef, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 2000, and Joseph Henry Press, Washington DC 2001. It is also available, free, to read at the National Academies Press website. http://www.nap.edu/catalog/10014.html
Where does your fascination for giant monsters come from (if you have one)?
From 20,000 fathoms under the sea.
Different people have different ideas as to why the giant monster genre holds such power? What is your take on it?
Fear of being squashed. Charisma, too, is important, the gift of grace bestowed upon the big and scary. A mix, then, of fear and awe.
What is your favourite giant monster film? Why that one?
Galaxy Quest. I really like that Giant Rock Monster, though it totally lacks charisma, and has no political message, and is not a feminist. I forget how our plucky hero escapes. Was it by the creative act of visualising the motivation of the giant rock monster and finding its point of psychological vulnerability?
Are there any written stories or novels featuring giant monsters that you would particularly recommend?
My favourite big (if not giant) monster book is In Me Own Words: the Autobiography of Bigfoot, words and pictures by Graham Roumieu, Manic D Press, San Francisco 2003. Bigfoot tells it like it is: how being charismatic works out, in practice; how he tackles the ethical dilemmas of the Bigfoot life; what it’s like to be a member of a misunderstood crypto-zoological species. Celebrity autobiography with a difference. Bigfoot wrote his book, hisself.
What lies ahead for you?
In March 2005 I have a book coming out in the series Conversation Pieces, Aqueduct Press, Seattle, http://www.aqueductpress.com. The Travelling Tide is a collection of seven stories loosely related both to travel and to the sea, ecological fantasy. My next project will invoke, in some way, the idea of glacial time – time as experienced (or not experienced) differently at the various levels of being, from the inorganic to the organic, from the geological, the ecological to the human and post-human level. I’m still trying to work in characters, plot, and action.
Can you tell us how you came to write your story for the DAIKAIJU! anthology? What thoughts lay behind it?
I liked the idea of creating a giant monster with a political message. I liked the idea of ancient myths being given contemporary political meaning. I liked the idea of standing at a place like Castle Hill in Townsville, at night, and seeing spread out below, filling up the ocean and river, the sprawling luminescent limbs of a solidifying sea monster.
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?
What would you say to those new to the idea of daikaiju films and stories?
Is daikaiju a boy thing? Looking at the list of contributors to this anthology, I’d say yes. For those women who looked at the specifications for this anthology and said, not for me, I’d like them to think about redressing the gender balance, in this sphere, as in so many others.