Kaiju Rising is an anthology of stories about giant monsters.
Not only did the concept sound fun, it sounded so fun that I kicked in some money for the Kickstarter. Hopefully, along with Pacific Rim, Kaiju Rising will usher in a giant monster Renaissance.
The stories in Kaiju Rising run the full spectrum of rampaging giant monster tales. Since I've calculated that I'll run out of room if I review all of them, here are some standouts.
Big Ben and the End of the Pier Show – James Lovegrove: This story does a great job setting the tone for the rest of the collection and sucking the reader in. I love that it takes place in a world where Kaiju attacks are so common that giant robots are sold specifically to combat them. The story of the owner of a money-losing pier and the impending battle between a kaiju called Red Devil and a KRV called Big Ben is a delight to read. I also liked that the ending wasn't what I expected.
The Lighthouse Keeper of Kurohaka Island – Kane Gilmour: A lighthouse keeper takes his son to an island not on any maps, an island where kaiju go to die, and tells him what really happened at Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II. I liked this one quite a bit, especially that not everyone can perceive kaiju as they are and instead see natural disasters. I also love the concept of a kaiju graveyard.
One Last Round – Nathan Black: Loved this one. A giant undead crocodile ravages New Orleans and the only people who can stop it are the team that operate KRASURE, a giant kaiju-fighting robot.
Monstruo – Mike MacLean: This one is another favorite. A kaiju is approaching a Mexican resort and a man is dispatched to put down the young boy a parasite is using as a host to fight the beast. There are a lot of interesting concepts and contributions to kaiju lore in this one.
The Behemoth – Jonathan Wood: The Behemoth is the story of a mech pilot whose life is slowly disintegrating after his wife becomes a proxy. Wood introduces the concept that mech's need extra people inside to act as a buffer to all the sensory input the mech receives. Unfortunately, proxies have their memories erased. Great stuff!
And that's just a sampling. There are 18 more tales inside chock full of giant monster goodness!
Kaiju Rising was a nostalgia-fest of giant monsters, sometimes fighting equally-giant robots, and wanton destruction. While I didn't think they were all home runs, it was the best themed-anthology I've read in years. Four out of five stars.