MEGADRAK: BEAST OF THE APOCALYPSE — The Skinny on my Latest Kaiju Novel

 

Megadrak - Beast of the Apocalypse_correct byline cover

 

 

My newest and second novel in the kaiju genre has just been published by Severed Press, and it provides a further step in building what I call the Dragonstorm Universe, a shared kaiju/sentai/jaeger universe that will appear across many novels and short stories published by moi. The first story taking place in that universe was chronicled in my previous kaiju novel Dargolla: A Kaiju Nightmare, and in a short story “The Criminal and the Kaiju” published among the tales of many fine kaiju authors contained in Matt Dennion’s Attack of the Kaiju: Age of Monsters anthology.

For those not entirely in the know (or not in the know at all), a kaiju is a shortened version of the word daikaiju, which is used by genre fans to describe strange monsters of immense size and power. Think Godzilla, Gamera, King Kong, etc. A sentai is a Japanese word for super-heroes who battle monsters, especially those who can attain gigantic size to directly tussle with daikaiju. Think Ultraman, Dark Horse’s Hero Zero, etc. A jaeger is a German-derived term used to describe gigantic robots designed to combat kaiju. Think the Shogun Warriors, the Power Rangers’ Zords, Gipsy Danger and her mecha allies in the Pacific Rim franchise, etc.

Kaiju prose has been booming in recent years, thanks largely to authors such as Eric S. Brown, Matt Dennion, Zach Cole, John W. Dennehy, C.G. Mosely, and James Melzer. The popularity of kaiju in this long-uncharted medium was largely pioneered during the 1990s by the august personages of Marc Cerasini’s and Scott Ciencen’s separate series of Godzilla novels published by Random House, and short stories regularly contributed to G-Fan magazine by scribes such as Skip Peel and Neil Reibe. These paved the way for the kaiju genre to explode across the prose medium in the succeeding decades, and among their number happens to be this author.

So what is Megadrak: Beast of the Apocalypse all about, and how may it differ from my previous entry in the genre and Dragonstorm Universe, Dargolla: A Kaiju Nightmare?

For starters, it’s considerably longer than the latter novel, which was more akin to a novella in length. Megadrak, however, will be a reading size more apropos for a tale describing the havoc wreaked by a deadly monstrosity of skyscraper proportions.

Secondly, Megadrak will be a period novel set in 1954 Japan, exploring my idea of what may have been done with the genre by Toho during that era with an alternate take on the same concept. Accordingly, this book is a complete homage to Tokyo’s iconic Godzilla (1954) that made cinematic history, which had and continues to provide this author with immense creative inspiration.  It is intended to duplicate the deadly serious tone and anti-nuclear commentary of the first two G-films, while covering some additional territory that Toho didn’t, but which I think should be covered in retrospect. Like Godzilla in the Tohoverse, Megadrak will represent the first assault on an unsuspecting humanity by a daikaiju in the Dragonstorm Universe, and how the nation is affected.

For those interested in seeing how the nightmare began in the Dragonstorm Universe, and how the Earth in that reality found itself changed forever, then this is the book you do not want to miss.

Megadrak is every bit as large as Godzilla, and every bit as nasty a customer as Dargolla was in his eponymous novel. Death and destruction will outpace what was seen in the previous tome (just when you thought that wasn’t possible!). And this time around, rather than focusing on a single protagonist and his family’s desperate, tragedy-filled attempt to escape their home city after it comes under siege by the titular kaiju, I have the space to focus upon several individuals who become embroiled in the horrific series of events that unfold when the kaiju apocalypse begins. These individuals end up crossing paths along the way, and find themselves forced to work together for mutual survival, with a combination of impressive successes and tragic failures.

Also, there will be giant mutant bloodworms. Yes, you read that correctly. The hapless citizens of Tokyo and the islands surrounding the Land of the Rising Sun will have much more than just Megadrak to contend with, as the atomic forces that spawned the kaiju will be discovered to have spawned a diverse array of dangerous mutant fauna that are not averse to using humans as a food source. You can also look forward to the first kaiju battle on this world’s timeline, as Megadrak ultimately discovers that humanity isn’t the only rival for world hegemony that the great beast must eliminate to stand at the top of the proverbial mountain.

This book was a lot of work, and required extensive research into the politics, economy, pop culture, and honorific-filled lingo of Japan as of the early 1950s, when that nation was still feeling the effects of the post-war era. The hard work was worth it in the end, though, as it was a lot of fun to write, and I am very thankful that the good people at Severed Press, likely the foremost publisher of kaiju prose in the Western world, gave me yet another opportunity to fulfill a life-long dream under their banner.

Is the culmination of my dream worth its weight in readership gold? That, of course, will be up to you, my esteemed readers, to decide. Megadrak: Beast of the Apocalypse is now on sale at Amazon in both digital and paperback versions, and I look forward to providing my share of kaiju mayhem to each of you. So by all means, buy the book, enjoy (I hope!), and I welcome and encourage reviews!

My third novel for Severed Press is now in the works, so more on that soon! The Dragonstorm Universe is expanding just as the genre as a whole continues to do, and not only in prose, but also in the cinematic, comic book, and video game mediums. This is the best time to be a kaiju-fan since the genre’s previous heyday during the 1950s and 1960s, and I’m proud to be part of the devastation being wrought!

 

 

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Author: godofthunder85

I'm a published author and freelance editor who has a strong opinion on just about anything I have an opinion on... which is just about everything! I'm very non-PC, heavily into progressive politics, and stand up for what I believe in no matter what the cost or level of popularity. My published work is in the genres of horror, sci-fi, and pulp adventure. I'm a life-long comic book fan and a researcher of the paranormal.

2 thoughts on “MEGADRAK: BEAST OF THE APOCALYPSE — The Skinny on my Latest Kaiju Novel”

  1. Out of the “blue” I find myself obsessed with the PJF books you reviewed. It seems they are from a world no longer accessible (OK probably out there somewhere people use poison ivy sexually…). The sheer outrageousness combined with the “matter of fact” descriptions of insane situations is… compelling. I’m almost embarrassed to be reading them. But I am going to keep going on his oeuvre. And I’ve been alienated from contemporary scifi for some time. Any other suggestions?

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    1. Thank you for reading my review and for leaving your comment, CB! And I’m glad to see you’re getting into PJF’s material, which is some of the best pulp fiction ever produced, bar none! Yes, his material could be controversial — particularly A Feast Unknown! You may feel “dirty” after reading it, but you’ll still be glad you did! — but its transgressive nature added to the quality of its unpredictability, and of what he had to say about both the characters he wrote about and the world they lived in (which just happens to mirror our own in many ways), all of which added up to his own unique, sometimes hyper-realistic vision! A major component of that vision was his asking the perennial question: How would heroes like Tarzan and Doc Savage actually behave if they lived in the world we know? Or, at least like the people who live in the world we know? They may still be heroes after a fashion, but how would they be as people? That leads to deeper questions, such as how morally “pure” must a person be in order to be legitimately considered a hero? Deep stuff that we all should be asking about the world we live in, and the world PJF writes about is similar enough to our own that he helps us ponder these important matters.

      As for further suggestions, I heartily recommend that you check out the great material sold by the folks at Meteor House Press. They sell much of PJF’s books in really good newer editions, and the authors there carry on his tradition with many follow-ups to his work. Win Scott Eckert, Christopher Paul Carey, Frank Schildiner, Joshua Reynolds, Jim Beard, Heidi Ruby Miller, Dennis E. Power, Jean-Marc & Randy Lofficier, Rhys Hughes, Chris Roberson, John Allen Small, and many other great names have produced work under Meteor House’s banner. They not only carry on and build on PJF’s oeuvre of work, but they are all major forces in the New Pulp Movement. Further, I owe my own career as a published author to the inspirations they have provided me. They are among the best of the best in the genres of pulp adventure fiction, sci-fi, and fantasy.

      As for some more specific recommendations, definitely go for PJF’s para-biographies, Tarzan Alive: A Definitive Biography of Lord Greystoke and Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life, as these formed the foundation of the Wold Newton Family and the great shared universe known as the Wold Newton Universe, which Win Scott Eckert and Sean Levin (another great scribe I highly recommend!) later expanded into the Crossover Universe, and which I have been working to expand in other areas but with the same spirit as the WNU and the CU in my upcoming self-publishing label Wild Hunt Press, and what I call the Wild Hunt Universe (shameless plug!). The Wold Newton Universe and the expanded Crossover Universe that grew out of it were huge inspirations to me, and I think you will really like the books covering it.

      But it all started with PJF, and in many ways, started with those two hero bios I listed above. A great edition of Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life is available from Meteor House, but I do not think they as yet have the rights to produce an edition of Tarzan Alive, and I recommend the newest edition published in 2006 by Bison Books with a forward by Win Scott Eckert and an introduction by Mike Resnick, which you can get on Amazon here. Also be sure to get, exclusive from Meteor House, The Best of Farmerphile, which as its title indicates reprints some of the best articles and stories from the 15 issues of the once quarterly fanzine Farmerphile: The Magazine of Philip José Farmer. As the ad for the book itself on Meteor House’s blog states: “Assembled here is a wealth of information about one of the greatest science fiction writers of all time along, with some of his earliest writing.” All of the above, and the further material from the many fine authors who have followed PJF’s work, will do a good job of sating your obsession 🙂

      Some other great stuff PJF has written includes one of my favs, A Barnstormer in Oz, which was his take on the mythical land of Oz. Truly fascinating and rebellious theories are contained on the nature and origin of that land, trying to explain much of what Baum didn’t. To my knowledge, that little gem is currently out of print, but you can get a used copy of the paperback edition published by Berkeley Books from independent sellers on Amazon here.

      As for other contemporary sci-fi, check out some of the rest of the stuff at Severed Press, who have published my kaiju novels to date, as they also have a good collection of sci-fi. You also can’t go wrong with Tim Lebbon’s books, including his fiction dealing with the 20th Century Fox franchises of Alien, Predator, and the crossover awesomeness of Aliens vs. Predator published by Titan Books.

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