When did your interest in daikaiju and other giant monsters begin? What inspired it?
I think, like everyone else, it was being five years old. Or possibly eight. As children, everything around us is bigger than us, and so we're fascinated by the idea of something even bigger than that. It makes our world more manageable to contemplate that there's something even more grandiose out there. Misery loves company, after all; if we're small and helpless then somehow it works for us to contemplate that there's critters out there to which everything is small and helpless.
As a kid I loved dinosaurs, primeval giants of the past, and Science Fiction -- a future of rocket ships and space battles and death stars, alien worlds and alien races. I love mountains, and construction projects.
The Kaiju were a pretty natural outgrowth of that. I remember seeing King Kong vs Godzilla on a big screen, and I was swept away. After that, during the winter, I'd reanact scenes with my brother, stomping in slow motion and kicking over the low walls of snow forts.
Hey, it's kids stuff. But I'm not ashamed of it. The world is still a very big place.
Perhaps you can tell us something of your career to date.
Hmmm. Well, I've been a writer since before I could write. My earliest memories are drawing "Batman Adventures" on a blackboard for my brother (he was in a high chair and couldn't escape). After an on-again, off-again career, I decided that I wanted to write, and got serious with both writing and journalism.
Five years later, I'd amassed a respectable body of short stories, essays and columns, a couple of series of chapbooks, some experimental small press novels, a very promising unpublished Vampire novel, and an even more promising unpublished Fantasy novel.
And then, life happened to me as I was making plans, and now it's three or four years later, and I'm just trying to restart my writing career. Kudos to you guys for picking me up.
How many giant monsters stories have you written/had published?
I think this might be my first one. I do a lot of writing in fantasy, science fiction, horror. It's wide-ranging interests.
The closest thing to a 'Giant Monster' publication, was a 'scientific analysis' of the sandworms in Tremors that was picked up by the Tremors TV series official web site.
What would you consider your major work to be?
A 350,000 word, four volume, chronicle about the LEXX television series (which features a few giant Monsters in it, now that I think of it), sort of the "War and Peace" of media books. Unfortunately, at that size, it isn't published and will never be published. Comme ci comme ca.
It was the culmination hundreds of interviews with everyone associated with the show, hundreds of hours of taping and logging, history, critical analysis, the whole nine yards. There's a lot to be said for a series which was strange and unique, offscreen and onscreen.
I was invited by the creators to do the book, and after three years of work, after dealing with marketing people, merchandise divisions, licensing managers and two consecutive publishers, when it all fell apart, I just decided to not worry about commercial constraints and write the book I would have wanted to read.
Live life without compromise. Die without regrets.
Where does your fascination for giant monsters come from (if you have one)?
They're big! See the first Question above.
Different people have different ideas as to why the giant monster genre holds such power? What is your take on it?
Because, ultimately, we're all small and helpless. The average person, perhaps, has effective control over 17% of their life. For the rest, we're at the mercy of our bosses, of our jobs, of the economic forces which regulate our jobs, we're bound by laws, police, municipalities, state and federal governments, by the weather, by a world which is largely external and indifferent to us. A world that is so big, that we can't even quite grasp it all out there.
Look at the people in Indonesia, minding their business, living their lives, making plans, trying to decide what they're going to have for lunch that morning. And somewhere in the Indian Ocean, a continental shelf belches, and an hour later, 300,000 people look up, and five minutes later, those 300,000 people, they're all gone.
In a real sense, the Kaiju are out there. Vast, indifferent, impersonal forces that stomp through our lives. We call them Tsunamis, Hurricanes, Recessions and Depressions.
The ones up there on the silver screen have faces. That's why they fascinate us. You can look the big G in the eye, but the Tsunami won't look back.
What are your favourite giant monster films?
King Kong vs Godzilla, Destroy All Monsters, and GMK: Giant Monsters All Out Attack. Classics!
I'm also a fan of Wrestlemania. Forgive me lord.
Why those ones?
You have to ask? What are you, some sort of communist? Some things are just self evident.
Are there any written stories or novels featuring giant monsters that you would particularly recommend?
H.P. Lovecraft, "The Mountains of Madness," "The Call of Cthulhu." Lovecraft probably came closer than any other writer to the primeval terrifying reality of a vast and indifferent universe that is at the heart of the Kaiju.
What lies ahead for you?
I'm going to start writing again. I've taken a few years hiatus on a personal project which is almost complete, and I want to come back to it.
Also, destroying Tokyo, once I finish the final diagnostic runs on my giant 200-foot-tall robot. (After all, who doesn't want to destroy Tokyo with a giant robot?)
Can you tell us how you came to write your story for the DAIKAIJU! anthology? What thoughts lay behind it?
Three things I suppose.
First, I like the Kaiju and I think that they're both very primal and very fun.
Second, the science geek in me wanted to create a workable rationale for how such creatures could possibly exist in the face of the square-cube law and other technical nit-picking. I think I accomplished that, and I'm quite proud of it.
Third, as I was writing that, I started to kick around what the Kaiju philosphically represented, or could represent. All fiction, all art is essentially a metaphor, so as a starting point, the Kaiju are by definition metaphors. But in the context of the story, it occurred to me that the Kaiju, if real, were so vast and so transcendent, that they could only be dealt with through metaphor. That you couldn't really face them directly, but you'd try to understand them by conceiving of them in other terms, as animals, as forces of nature, as harbingers of apocalypse, or meditations on timelessness and mortality.
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 really. I think that big screen movies are the place to have the purest incarnation of Kaiju, apart from reality itself. I see print fiction as a kind of meditation on that screen incarnation, which is cool. But it's definitely on the silver screen where they really live.
What would you say to those new to the idea of daikaiju films and stories?
Sit back, relax and enjoy it. Laugh when it's funny, because some of them are funny. Forgive them when necessary. The deeper meanings are there, and they'll seep in on their own.