Me and my Kaijuvision Radio co-host, Brian Scherschel, were interviewed on Geek Devotions as the grand finale for their King of the Monsters Month. The show’s host, Dallas, is one of our biggest fans and has been name-dropping us all month in his videos and podcast. I’d also contributed to a video game stream he did as part of King of the Monsters Month a few weeks ago. Learn how and why we started Kaijuvision Radio as we geek out about Godzilla!
You get two blogs this week since I missed last Thursday!
I went to G-Fest for the first time a few weeks ago in Rosemont, Illinois. I was accompanied by my Kaijuvision Radio co-host Brian Scherschel. It’s a convention dedicated to Godzilla, kaiju, and tokusatsu. I’ve heard about it for years but never attended. There are a lot of great stories I could tell about the show, most of which you can read about on the Kaijuvision Radio Twitter feed and in Brian’s latest blog on the podcast’s website, but there are a few writing-related ones I wanted to share with you.
I attended a pair of kaiju writing seminars the Saturday of the con. The first was a session for writers to share their ideas and get feedback. Since I’ve been kicking around ideas for a sequel to Destroyer (mostly because people kept feeding me ideas that I’ve churned in my head), I thought I’d talk about it in this session. However, I realized I was the only one there who’d never been published (except for the moderator), so I decided I would let the other attendees take priority and offered feedback. If there was time, then I would share. There were some great stories and concepts presented, such as a first-person tale told from a kaiju’s perspective, but the one I found most interesting was a story treatment for a fanfilm that included a potentially brilliant meta-commentary on the Godzilla franchise. I told the presenter that it reminded me of Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. That was one of several pieces of advice that brought several people to me afterward wanting to add me on Facebook. I gave them my bookmark/business card that directed them to my website and other professional social medias.
(So, if you’re one of those people: Hello and welcome!)
Later in the day, I arrived early for a writing advice panel. I overheard the moderator say he wanted to add one more panelist (they brought on a new one thinking one panelist wouldn’t make it, but he did and they decided to add one more). I jokingly said I was a published writer with some kaiju credentials. “Oh?” he said. I flashed him the Amazon page for Destroyer and mentioned my kaiju short story in The Worlds of Nathan Marchand, among others, and he replied, “Get behind the table!”
Yes, True Believers, I got myself “drafted” onto the panel! It was only the second time in my life I’ve been on one.
Once more, the advice I offered impressed attendees and panelists so much, they came to me afterward for more advice and contact info. The moderator even said he would keep my name in mind when planning the same panel for next year’s G-Fest.
I know I sound like I’m bragging, but to be honest, I was surprised by all of this. Weird, right? The shameless self-promotor is surprised when people actually like him. Maybe it’s because I’ve yet to make it big or because I hang out with brilliant writers like Nick Hayden (I haven’t name-dropped him in a while, haven’t I? 😛 ). I suppose I take those as signs that I’m not as talented as I want to think I am. But success isn’t always a marker of ability. Plenty of gifted people (including Mr. Hayden) haven’t become huge successes and many untalented people are big stars. And just because someone is better than me doesn’t mean my talent is worthless. It’s hard to live among giants, though.
I guess what I’m saying is I haven’t been “discovered” yet.
Did you attend G-Fest this year? What did you think of it? Are do you deal with feelings of inadequacy as an artist?
Remember that kaju novella I self-published a few years ago? I just released a brand new special edition! So, I decided to interview my collaborators on that exciting project in the first ever round table f or my show. The panel includes Nick Hayden, Natasha Hayden, and Timothy Deal. We discuss how we went about writing each of our sections of the epic giant monster thriller. Lots of laughs and insights.
After several years in print, Destroyer, a giant monster novella I co-authored with Natasha Hayden and Timothy Deal, is now available in a new special edition!
I’ve migrated the book from Lulu to Createspace. Lulu was a good home for it a few years ago, but I’ve realized Createspace is where the money is at. This new edition is a bit bigger than the previous one and looks more professional and, for lack of a better term, legit.
But the big draw for this new edition is the inclusion of a bonus story. “House of the Living,” as you may recall, was written by my friend and fellow author Nick Hayden a few years back. It makes its first appearance in print in Destroyer (Deluxe Edition).
In the distant future, a group of scientists and soldiers create a giant cyborg dragon to end a destructive war, but the creature goes berserk and strands them behind enemy lines in Moscow. Now the survivors must destroy the creature before distrust and madness tears them apart.
You probably read this blog’s title and wondered what planet I was from (FYI: it may or may not be Gallifrey). “What can a monster movie tell us about marriage?” you ask.
A surprising amount.
First, if you haven’t seen the film, do so! It’s the most fun you’ll have the theatre this summer.
Now, the movie is set in the near future, where a dimensional rift opens at the bottom of the ocean and gigantic creatures called “Kaiju” emerge and attack cities. Humanity constructs towering robots called Jaegers to combat the beasts. These machines are too massive and complex for one pilot to drive, so they are built to be operated by two. These pilots link their minds using a neural interface, each controlling one-half of the Jaeger. It’s stated that “the stronger the bond, the better you fight.” These pilots must already have strong relational ties or build a rapport in order to sync up and operate their machines.
As the film progressed, I couldn’t help but see how similar to marriage this was (at least in the biblical/Christian sense). Two people, wholly separate, “become one” through a unique bond. Their memories—the essence of who they are—mingle in order to perform a great task. Only once they are bonded are they able to do this. It is a relationship unlike any other, a grand and beautiful mystery (Prov. 30:18-19). One pilot can’t operate the Jaeger alone, unless he is exceptionally gifted, and even then, he’s under deadly strain. Likewise, man was not meant to be alone (Gen. 2:18). A marriage can’t work without transparency or mutual submission (Eph. 5:21). As soon as one person decides to run the whole show himself, it all falls apart. Only when both the husband and wife work together can they accomplish the tasks God has set before them—only then can they “face (and slay) the monsters that are at [their] door.”
But it goes further than that.
The movie focuses on Raleigh Becket, one of the Jaeger pilots. Early on, his brother/co-pilot dies fighting a Kaiju. Becket quits the Jaeger program until five years later when his CO recruits him again for a crazy plan that may save the Earth from the Kaiju. But in order to do that, Raleigh will need a new co-pilot. Enter Mako Mori, a Japanese technician who aspires to be a Jaeger pilot. Unfortunately, her inexperience coupled with her vindictive rage against the Kaiju for the death of her family hinder her potential as a pilot. She gets lost in her memories as she interfaces with Raleigh, and he must pull her out of them. In battle, Raleigh leads. He gives her commands about which weapons to use and where to attack, and she defers to his leadership. This leads to a subtle romance that, in the end, saves the world.
In marriage, the husband is the head of the household (Eph. 5:23). The wife is to defer to his leadership (Eph. 5:22). Yet, at the same time, the husband and wife are partners. Raleigh didn’t lord anything over Mako. He was simply the more experienced of the two of them, so he helped direct her attacks during a battle, though she was quite talented. The wife is the husband’s “help meet” (Gen. 2:18 KJV), or ezer kenegdoin the original Hebrew, which means “lifesaver.” She comes along and complements the husband, helping him fulfill the calling on both their lives. This is what Mako does for Raleigh. He was already a great pilot, but he needed a partner in order to operate his Jaeger and fight the Kaiju. Without her, he couldn’t do that.
I bet you didn’t expect a big-budget homage film to the low-budget B-grade monster flicks of yesteryear to be a poignant illustration of marriage.
Never underestimate the power of story, True Believers!
All I can say now is I look forward to finding an amazing woman to fight monsters with.
A Man from Another Time Exploring Another Universe