Transnational Geek

Author M. H. Boroson shares his geeky passions: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, spirit magic kung fu movies, the ethics of cultural appropriation, Chinese American literature and history, The Dresden Files, Daoist magic, strong female characters, Asian monsters, spirit world depictions, traditional Chinese foods, race, class, gender, and culture.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


In the near future, my friends and I are planning to watch WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS, and I'm looking forward to it.  I remember watching Godzilla movies on television when I was a child.  I was so caught up in that terrible destruction, the battles between godlike powers, the roaring, flying, enormous creatures that spat lightning or puked fire.  Immense, unearthly gladiators making our cities the arena for their titanic clashes, while we flee and scream, for beside them we all are no more than flotsam.

Yet the human drama sustained  the story.  Staying alive, protecting one's family, at a time of terrible devastation, how far are you willing to go?  Will you run up to the very claw of the monster looming over your city in order to protect your child?  Perhaps you're the child's stepfather, and the child has not trusted you or accepted you.  Now buildings are collapsing, and you are the only one who can keep that child safe.  This is the point where we learn what kind of person you are, and what kind of story this is.  Will your wife watch your cowardice and realize you're no true partner to her?  Or will you risk your life and save the child, thereby proving your worth as a parent?

The big monsters are often expressions of fears of natural catastrophe, of science pushing past ethical boundaries.  Coming as these movies usually do from the only nation that has experienced a nuclear dawn, it's a profound metaphor for a world in which a broken atom can tear a city apart.

There's only been one attempt that I know of to write kaiju fiction in English -- Raiju, Kaiju Hunter, by K.H. Koehler, which handles the human drama exceptionally well.  I don't think Koehler's approach managed to translate the terrifying magnitude of the warring beasts into prose, and I'd love to see more authors give it a try.

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