To quote the highly inspirational song “Faith of the Heart” by Russell Watson (yes, it’s the theme song for Star Trek: Enterprise, my fellow Trekkies!): “It’s been a long road, getting from there to here; it’s been a long time, but my time is finally near.” Or, in this case, actually here!
Yes, my first novel has now been published, after a long time working up to this with several short stories published in anthologies and eZines from great indie presses such as Black Coat Press, Sirens Call Publications, Pro Se Press, Pulp Empire, Horrified Press, Grinning Skull Press, and a few others who have since slipped into oblivion. I was greatly honored to have stories deemed worthy of professional publication from all of the above, and it was a lot of fun taking the many arduous steps necessary to develop the reputation necessary to getting a novel accepted.
I’m particularly thankful to Jean-Marc Lofficier, co-publisher and editor of Black Coat Press, for giving me my first professional break in Volume 8 of his terrific annual anthology Tales of the Shadowmen, devoted to yarns of heroes and villains culled from French pulp fiction of the 1920s-1940s. I’ve endeavored to get a short short story published in every subsequent volume (with Vol. 14 due next, in December of 2017), and you can bet I have many more plans for projects with Black Coat.
I am also very thankful to the great writers and creative mythographers who comprise the Wold Newton publishers that have continued and expanded upon the great shared pulp and sci-fi universe built by the late, great Philip Jose’ Farmer, in particular Win Scott Eckert and Chuck Loridans for first welcoming me into their circle of influence, which enabled me to meet many great friends and colleagues, many of whom I have collaborated with for many years now. The inspiration which they and other creative mythographers provided to me was immense, and it’s safe to say I wouldn’t be a published author today if not for the friendships and networking I acquired as part of their creative circle. Thank you, guys, for everything!
So needless to say, I was thrilled to the gills to have my first submission to Severed Press accepted, as this great publishing label is undoubtedly the biggest force in kaiju prose today (as well as other horror and sci-fi sub-genres, such as books devoted to sea monsters, zombies, dinosaur mayhem, post-apocalyptic scenarios, and space military action). I was quite familiar with them and a fan of many of their publications, including Eric S. Brown’s awesomely horrific, high-selling, and long-running apocalyptic Bigfoot War series; and my friend and colleague Matthew Dennion’s kaiju novels, including gems such as Atomic Rex, Polar Yeti and the Beasts of Prehistory, Operation R.O.C., Chimera: Scourge of the Gods, and Kaiju Corps.
I’m especially grateful to Matt Dennion, as my first published work that truly belongs to the kaiju genre is “The Criminal and the Kaiju,” and it appeared in Matt’s anthology Attack of the Kaiju: Age of Monsters Vol. 1. I met a lot of talented friends and colleagues by working on that and other projects of Matt’s, and I was as proud to share a byline with them in that anthology as I was with the many great authors (which also includes Matt) in the Tales of the Shadowmen volumes. Most importantly, the above-mentioned short story was also the first published entry into the shared kaiju/sentai universe I’m building.
Cover to Attack of the Kaiju: Age of Monsters Vol. 1, where a new universe started with Blue King and Mokkadon. Thanks, Matt!
For those who may not be fully in the know, “kaiju” is a Japanese term roughly translating into English as “monster” or “mysterious beast,” and the context in which most English-speaking fans of the genre use it is an abbreviated form of “daikaiju” (sometimes spelled as two separate words) which means “giant monster.” Think Godzilla, King Kong (at least the larger versions of the size-fluctuating giant ape, i.e., the Toho version and the current Legendary MonsterVerse iteration), and Gamera. The term “sentai” is a Japanese word that roughly translates as “monster-fighting super-hero” (well, not literally, but in concept), particularly those who can achieve kaiju-level size to get the job done, either by dramatic size-and-mass accruing themselves, or as pilots of giant robots which rival kaiju in size and power. Think Ultraman, the jaeger (giant robots) from Pacific Rim, and the Power Rangers’ giant polyglot robot the Mega-Zord.
Which brings us to my first novel, and the latest entry into my shared and (hopefully) exponentially expanding kaiju/sentai universe, Dargolla: A Kaiju Nightmare.
One giant step for me; and numerous giant steps for Dargolla.
Though I have every intention of pitting kaiju against each other in city-smashing battles, as well as sentai vs. kaiju battles — as I did between Blue King and Mokkadon in “The Criminal and the Kaiju” — in my future work, this first novel gives the podium to Dargolla alone. What is the basic skinny of this tale?
For one thing, I extenuate the horror aspects of the kaiju genre. Rather than depicting these gigantic monsters as being in any way funny or goofy, I pay homage to the antiquarian roots of kaiju from world mythology (e.g., Jormangand the Midgard Serpent and Tiamat) and the Biblical beasts Leviathan and Behemoth, where they were destructive, overpowering, and living forces of nature that even the gods respected (and often used for their own destructive tendencies).
I also strive to pay homage to the wondrous kaiju-films I grew up watching, which fascinated me and piqued my creative impulse on a deep psychic level. They certainly constitute great childhood viewing memories, albeit of a decidedly different sort than the type I got from watching reruns of Gilligan’s Island or The Brady Bunch.
Which brings us to Dargolla. As the sub-title of the novel makes clear, this is not a kaiju you want visiting your home town, or even co-existing on the same planet with you. This creature doesn’t simply smash buildings and flatten automobiles that happen to be directly in his path. Like most kaiju in this universe, he views the tiny humans in his midst as rivals for global food chain hegemony, so he makes literal food out of them at every opportunity. When he isn’t devouring humans, he’s deliberately smashing their buildings and kicking their vehicles about, which his bestial but far from simplistic mind correctly identifies as constructs that harbor his miniature competition for dominion of the planet. People in this world live in mortal terror of kaiju, as humanity’s best military weaponry often has minimal effects on them.
Which brings us to the military of this nightmarish world, who are frequently engaged in the development of weapons specifically designed to deal with these living WMDs, and often pose as much of a threat to the civilization they are hoping to preserve as the kaiju themselves. This becomes evident in the novel when the fleeing hordes of hapless residents of the city of Metroville find themselves besieged by a military attack on Dargolla, as cluster bombs and building debris blasted loose by the weapons rain down on them and claims as many of their lives and limbs as the monster himself.
Which next brings us to the main human protagonist, Colin Wilson. He’s a young boy that finds Dargolla’s attack on his home city to be anything but cool or exciting. The story focuses on Colin and the rest of his nuclear family as they desperately try to escape from the city while a skyscraper-sized beast and the additional obstacles of attacking military forces and stampeding crowds of terrified people present additional obstacles.
With this novel, I endeavored to answer a series of disturbing questions I have always harbored in the darkest recesses of my mind: What would it actually be like, from the point of view of an average family, to have to deal with a kaiju attacking their city? What would be their realistic chances for survival, or even of simply getting out of such a disaster zone intact? Could every member of the family be expected to make it? What would their interactions with their panic-ridden fellow residents be like as everyone desperately attempted to flee for their very lives? How would they deal with the psychological trauma of seeing people crushed, eaten, and blown to bits all around them? How would they act and react knowing that this was their own likely fate at any moment? What would be the thoughts of the military aircraft pilots as they faced almost certain death, but were determined to do their best to carry out their orders anyway? How would these soldiers feel about the destruction they would inevitably wreak upon the very city and citizenry they were trying to save, and how would this effect them psychologically? And what about the military brass safely ensconced in distant military bases who had to issue the orders, if for no other reason than to make them appear to be “doing something” about the kaiju incursion? How would they feel about authorizing the use of an untested doomsday weapon on the kaiju, which could have far-reaching consequences for millions of people and the biosphere itself?
I endeavored to answer all of these unsettling questions as best I could, or at least to confront them head on. This particular novel has no true heroes, just an average family doing their best to flee the only home they ever knew and retain both their sanity and their lives as horrific death and destruction constantly ensue all around them. Besides that, we have soldiers who engage in heroic actions, but are first and foremost soldiers who must obey orders and make sacrifices no matter what the possible consequences to both themselves or the people caught in their crossfire (I personally consider soldiers to be a category of warrior, but not necessarily a category of hero — just like mercenaries — but I’ll deal with that in depth in a future blog when I discuss character concepts and categorizations).
Time and reader reaction will ultimately tell if I effectively addressed these questions and successfully provided a scenario to do them some type of justice with this novel and subsequent publications, but it was a lot of fun to make the effort, and it’s a dream come true to be given the opportunity to make this nightmare happen. I’m now at work on my next kaiju novel occurring in this universe, Megadrak: Beast of the Apocalypse, and I look forward to inflicting that upon the world as well!
For all my fellow kaiju-fans who may be interested in purchasing this debut novel, you can buy it for your Kindle or rent it for free if you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, or purchase it in paperback. Your choice, as the nightmare and mass destruction will unfold in either format 🙂 Thank you to all who have already purchased, and those who will do so in the future, as your contribution to making this book a success is appreciated more than I can possibly say.
The Orange Street News is requesting an interview with President Donald J Trump on Saturday when he comes to Harrisburg to discuss the issues facing the people of Selinsgrove. The OSN has been unable to reach President Trump through his website or by emailing his advisors. The OSN is hoping you see this video, Mr. […]
Which gender is worse when it comes to this? The conservatives would say it’s women, the liberals would insist it’s men, but I say it’s BOTH! Ha ha!
I love the College Humor site! It’s funny and gives you good insights into everyday aspects of life that we’ve all noticed and lived through. It’s an entertaining alternative to dry scholarly examinations of how people behave in our present day consumerist society that are penned by psychologists and sociologists. The article lists that use sequential art-based scenarios to provide side-splitting examples of the topic at hand are among the best of what this site’s content scribed by wryly observant authors has to offer.
Recently as of this writing, we got a nice little gem entitled “Pros and Cons: Online Dating” by Amelia B and Paul Westover. Really great and hilariously informative stuff, especially this part:
LMFAO!!! Yes, all ladies who have frequented dating sites or apps have dealt with the typical sleazebag, one-track-mind type of guy with deceptive advertising on sites like OKCupid, Tinder, etc. No argument there.
“Geez, it sure doesn’t help my image to share a nom du guerre with guys like that!”
So what is the “problem” with the above, if any? Well, just a minor little one: the total lack of balance. Yes, heterosexual women go through lots of shit with the “creepers” from these sites who advertise themselves as stand-up guys, but turn out to be… well, something different. But what we don’t see here, or in too many other places in our PC-conscious world, is the type of female creeps that heterosexual men routinely meet on such dating sites/apps. These female “creepettes” (did I just coin some new slang here? Go me!) also have their atrocious share of issues and one-track-mindedness, albeit most often in different or opposite directions to those of their male counterparts.
Let’s add some balance to the “social atrocity” scale by giving some typical message responses heterosexual men all too often get from the creepettes when they contact women who advertise themselves on these dating sites:
1. Man: Hi, I’m Chris, how are you doing?
Creepette response: Hey babe! Would you like to watch me get busy with myself on cam? Only $30.00 for 30 minutes, and I’ll do some rilly rilly naughty shit for you!
2. Man: Hi, I’m Chris, how are you doing?
Creepette response: Will u plz rate my pics? Go to http://www.iamsohot.com. Plz give me 5 rating and share with ur friends!
3. Man: Hi, I’m Chris, how are you doing?
Creepette response: WTF!!?? I don’t know you, asshole! Are you some sorta creeper?!
4. Man: Hi, I’m Chris, how are you doing?
Creepette response: *Sigh* That is sooooo unoriginal! Fuk offf!
5. Man: Hi, I’m Chris, how are you doing?
Creepette response: Hi.
Man: It’s nice to meet you. Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
Creepette response: [no further response, even if she initiated the conversation]
6. Man: Hi, I’m Chris, how are you doing?
Creepette response: Can you plz do me a favor? Can you send me 1 thou amerikan dollars so I can gett a plain ride out of my kountry and can come and meet you? I look so forward to meeting u are such my knight!
[Yes, some of the above swindlers are men pretending to be women, but some have proven to be women by actually encouraging their male victims to travel to meet them first, or actually showing up in this country if they successfully bilk some naive lonely fool schmuck, and then continue to bilk him in a faux “relationship” until they get their green card. On other occasions, such common false advertising on dating sites that target lonely heterosexual men are the work of a man and woman working together — a lethal creeper and creepette team-up!]
7. Man: Hi, I’m Chris, how are you doing?
Creepette response: Um… fine? Can I help you?
8. Man: Hi, I’m Chris, how are you doing?
Creepette response: Just so you know, I’m only looking for friends here.
Man: Alright, nothing wrong with just wanting friends, but if that’s what you’re looking for, then why put up a profile on the Dating section of the site instead of the Just Friends section that is specifically designed for people looking for something platonic rather than romantic?
Creepette response #1: Oh, I see, so you’re only looking for a girlfriend! You can’t accept just a friend! No wonder you don’t have anyone, you’re a self-centered dick!
Creepette response #2: Fuk off, asshole! No one uses any section of this site to look for more than just friends cause yer a total loser if you need a website to find romance and can’t do it in person!
Man: As opposed to needing a website like this to find platonic friends in the era of Facebook, Twitter, Google Groups, Tumblr, Reddit, etc., etc.?
Creepette response: Shut up and fuk off!! [ends conversation]
9. Man: Hi, I’m Chris, how are you doing?
Creepette response: No, I don’t want to cyber with u asshole!
Man: I wasn’t looking for cyber, I was looking for romance, and I’m trying to meet someone and get to know them since this is, you know, a Dating site?
Creepette response: Bullshit no man ever messages for anything other than 2 cyber ur obvously a creeper fukk off and die!!
10. Man: Hi, I’m Chris, how are you doing?
Creepette response: That makes you sound like a misogynist who is trying to disempower me! And don’t try to mansplain your way out of it, it’s obvious you’re an oppressive beneficiary of the patriarchy!
“Message me… I DARE you! *evil Joker laugh*”
Yup, guys have quite the experience on these dating sites and apps too. I just wish I was exaggerating the above! You just gotta love the mutually competitive, as opposed to reciprocally conciliatory, nature of the genders under a system that encourages competition and one-upmanship in all aspects of life, huh?
This is the second of an ongoing series of brief, generally five-question interviews with Elijah D. Manley, who made history as the youngest person to ever run for President of the United States, at age 17, which he did as a candidate on the Green ticket in 2016. I was proud to be his campaign manager, especially after he managed to make the ballot on the Green primaries in two states and the District of Columbia, and acquired 41% of the votes among the Greens in his home state of Florida, along with three of his state’s seven Green delegates (the rest of the votes and delegates in Florida went to Green powerhouse Jill Stein). He also received strong support from fellow Green presidential candidates Sedinam Curry, William Krempl, and Darryl Cherney, with the first two giving up their allotted minutes to speak at the 2016 Green National Convention to allow Elijah to speak. He was thus able to take the podium and speak to his fellow Greens against the insistence of one of the ageist national committee members that this would never come to pass. Boo-yahh!
Elijah speaking at the Green National Convention, Houston, Texas, 8/16/16 (Elijah comes in at roughly the 12:26 time stamp, and unfortunately the sound quality of this video is poor, so turn up your speakers on max, mute the volume of your TV in the background, and listen carefully!)
Elijah has recently announced he will be running again in 2020, and I’m honored to be his campaign manager once again. As a result, this young man will soon be more relevant than ever, and this leads to our second interview, where he discusses his reasons for not supporting the Democratic Party and why true progressives and socialists cannot find a lot of common ground with centrist neoliberals.
Without further ado, let’s start:
This blog is the first of a planned series of brief interviews where I will discuss various youth rights and other assorted political issues with Elijah D. Manley, the first underager to run for President of the United States, which he did as a nominee in the 2016 Green Party primaries at the “mere” age of 17. The interviews in this series are intended to be short enough that most people can consume them in a single sitting. As a few examples of his political exploits over the past year, here is Elijah speaking at the 2016 Green Party National Convention in Houston, Texas (Elijah’s speech starts around the 12:44 time stamp; unfortunately, this video has a poor and inconsistent audio quality, so listen carefully on a device with a good sound system!); and here is his interview on The Young Turks.
Though the nomination went to Jill Stein, Elijah did quite well for a campaign that was radical even by the progressive standards of the Greens. He managed to get on the ballot of two states and the District of Columbia, and gained an impressive 41% of the votes and 3 of the 7 Green delegates in his home state of Florida, with the rest of the votes and the state’s other 4 delegates going to Jill Stein; and this despite all 6 Green primary candidates being on the Florida ballot. As an additional surprise, he was given a quarter of a delegate from among the District of Columbia’s 2 delegates (with another quarter going to Bill Kreml, and the rest going to Jill Stein).
I was honored beyond words when I was asked by Elijah to be campaign manager for his historic run, and needless to say, it was quite a ride! As expected, Elijah is far from done with politics, and I thank him for graciously giving his time to my blog for this series of interviews. Let us now begin! The interview was conducted via instant messaging, and is edited only for grammar and clarity, with no change or modification in content or context.
My thanks to Elijah for his time!
Moving forward against all odds!