Monday, September 30, 2013

Big Damn Monsters

Indonesian search engine spiders love giant monsters, apparently. Last week, the Singularity and Russians. This week Indonesians and kaiju. I'm curious what next week's spike will be from. There's probably a story in here somewhere.

It's been a while since I've written a story with a younger main character and it's definitely been a while since I've written a female protagonist, so, two birds, one proverbial lithic round throwing device.

When I wrote last week about how I came up with this idea by throwing random words at the wall to see what would stick, the two words in question were "kaiju" and "zombies". My next immediate thought was that if the main character were a kid it would, basically, be the coolest thing in the world to turn into a giant monster. Both of my nieces would give their right arms up to the elbows for that. Hell, if I could pull a magic lever and turn into a giant stompy lizard, I'd do it in a heartbeat. Especially if I got my own theme music.

My immediate thought, though, wasn't the main character. I was still in science-fiction-writer-mode from last week, so I spent more time initially trying to think of how such a transformation would work, what the world would look like, how to make it a zombie plague without it being a zombie plague because seriously, zombies have jumped the shark so damn hard that the shark itself is wondering what the heck happened. They are overplayed like chicken-road jokes or a Vegas lounge singer who refuses to leave the stage. Zombies are only useful these days as punchlines.

After a while, it occurred to me that I'd have to pin this back-story on a character.

One of the main appeals of kaiju, I think, is that they represent something literally larger than life. You see these big fantastic creatures play out the action of the movie against a backdrop which is completely mundane. In fact, without the city skylines at their feet and the tiny buildings being stomped on, without their improvised bludgeoning instruments made of city trams and whatnot, without all of that as context they're just a guy in a rubber suit punching another guy in a rubber suit in the face.

They're the monster movie equivalent of dreaming of castles in the sky. So it became imperative that I'd have to contrast it against something mundane. I'm fairly happy with the results. Way better than my first instinct which was to have it all happen while some faceless guy went out and bought milk from the grocery store.

No comments:

Post a Comment