Short Story Review: “Kaiju maximus: ‘So Various, So Beautiful, So New'” by Kai Ashante Wilson

3 of 5 stars.

The titans of Greek mythos and monsters of various other old world traditions are made new again as the kaiju of the contemporary nuclear world. They’re larger than life, catastrophically destruction, and in many ways, elemental. Whereas Lovecraft’s Old Ones are titans disinterested in humanity and sweeping it away as one would a swarm of gnats, kaiju react to and seek to snuff out humanity like a magnifying glass-wielding giant to lowly ants.

In this tale, generations have passed since extraterrestrial kaiju of all varieties all but exterminated the humans and their cities. A few pockets of humanity survive in scattered caves; great forests sit heavily where mega-cities once flourished. In an attempt to fight back, heroes are created–genetically modified superheroes who can battle kaiju at great cost to themselves and their families.

The hero seeks the great Kaiju maximus, the greatest of all foes. She will need every resource available to her, and that includes her family–love and sacrifice provide power and transformation. Having transformed in previous battles, the winged, carapaced hero is barely recognizable as a human. Regardless, her loyal husband follows with their 2 surviving young children in tow. Even the toddler and 6 y.o. must sacrifice for the sake of humanity . . .

This tale appears in a couple “best of” anthologies. The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume 10 edited by Jonathan Strahan, I received from Netgalley. The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2016 edited by Paula Guran, I received directly from Prime Books.
[Check out my other reviews here.]


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