Tuesday, March 26, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: MONSTER EARTH (Book Review #003 by Lee Houston, Junior)

From Mechanoid Press

Fans of kaiju, aka giant monsters, should rejoice over this anthology; created around the premise: what if the most powerful weapon of mass destruction within any country’s arsenal was actually a living beast? What if we lived on a MONSTER EARTH?

Under a painted cover by Eric Johns, editors Jim Beard and James Palmer have contributed the bookend stories, as well as writing bridging sequences between their tales and those of the other five contributors working together to make this anthology a more coherent whole instead of just a collection of stories built around a central theme.

The Parade of Moments by Beard
In the 1937 border disputes between China and Japan on the eve of World War 2, one reporter is in the right place at the wrong time, or the wrong place at the right time; depending upon how you look at it. This story introduces the monster concept and the appropriately named Monster Zero, but were there monsters in existence before this tale?

The Monsters of World War 2 or Happy Birthday Bobby Fetch by I. A. Watson
December 7, 1941 is a date that will live in infamy, especially when it’s your fourteenth birthday and the Japanese arrive with a new monster to destroy Pearl Harbor as the first step of their plan to conquer the United States.

The Beast’s Home by Jeff McGinnis
In the aftermath of the Second World War, peace arrived, or did it? What happens on the home front when you now have to care for your country’s greatest weapon?

And A Child Shall Lead Them by Nancy Hansen
The Summer of Love may come to a premature end when a monster invades the United States to rightfully reclaim its country’s stolen property. The US, not knowing who “owns” the new arrival and what their intentions are, rallies its defenses; but the solution comes from the most unlikely of sources.

Mighty Nanuq by Edward M. Erdelac
We are told that the United States and Canada almost went to war against each other over “ownership” of the monster named Johnson in the early days of the Second World War. While the details of this unfortunate encounter are never revealed, we are left to basically assume it ended when the Inuit revealed the existence of the title monster. Years later, this creature plays a part in the Civil Rights movement!

Peace With Honor by Fraser Sherman
The Cold War seriously heats up in Viet Nam when monsters enter the conflict.

Some Say In Ice by Palmer
When searching for new creatures, be sure to determine whether you’re the hunter or the hunted.

While a comprehensive presentation from 1937 to the early 1980s, there are many more tales within and beyond the established timeline that remain untold. Besides what is mentioned above, I have thought of other questions that could be springboards for future stories.

  • What about the existence/reality of some of the more established, pre-Monster Earth legends like Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Nessie?
  • I. A. Watson posted a brief follow up to his tale on the Mechanoid Press website, { http://www.mechanoidpress.com/2013/02/12/chuck-ronson-reporting-a-monster-earth-bonus-story-by-i-a-watson } but what happened to Bobby Fetch, Anh, and some of the other people we briefly get to meet after their initial stories ended?
  • Was a monster involved in achieving victory over the Axis in Europe like Johnson did in the Pacific?
  • Were/are there monsters on the moon? There’s a brief mention of the moon belonging to the whole Earth instead of just one specific country, but what happened to NASA and the space program after Apollo 11? Did a monster rescue Apollo 13? Have we ever built a moon base, let alone explored the rest of our solar system and beyond?
  • While only hinted at in the last story, what would happen if a new, unclaimed monster was discovered in international territory? Would it become the “property” of the United Nations, or would new conflicts result over its existence?
  • What would happen if a rogue third nation were to gain control of a beast? Would United Nations’ sanctions be effective against such a threat?
  • If a new menace/threat arose, would two nations be willing to team up their monsters to combat it if necessary? And would those monsters get along? Especially if we’re talking a male and female pairing, who could claim “ownership” of any potential offspring?
  • What if a more intelligent monster, say: one that can speak and think for itself, appears? Do the creatures have inalienable rights too?
  • Personally, I hope not, but with the existence of monsters, did mankind bother developing any other weapons of mass destruction?
  • And perhaps the most pertinent question of all: Where did the monsters come from?
However, as much as the giant monster fan within me hopes that someday at least the beast battles are filmed, there is one other monster present throughout the whole anthology that should not be ignored.

Humanity is a mixed race, capable of both infinite good and infinite evil. While there is plenty of the latter, most often serving as catalyst for events within the stories, there is just enough of the former so that not every victory can be claimed by the ‘monsters’.

Perhaps someday humanity will overcome its ills and make the world a better place. But for now, all we can do is to continue on to the best of our abilities and hope that this does not become a Monster Earth after all.

In the end, this book has the highest recommendation I can give it and I anxiously await future sequels!


Nana said...

Great, well deserved review!

Lee Houston, Junior said...

I call them as I see them.
Lee Houston, Junior
Editor-In-Chief: The Free Choice E-zine