Cinema has given the world many incredible and unstoppable monsters over the decades, ranging from the enraged sea monster awakened and powered by nuclear radiation known as Godzilla, to the mammoth gorilla King Kong, the deadly behemoth from Cloverfield, and the many sinister kaiju from one of my favorite films, Pacific Rim. Recently, America was given a limited screening of the latest Godzilla film, Shin Godzilla, released by Toho, the owners of said property. And let me tell you, it was GLORIOUS.
However, as visually fascinating as these massive movie monsters we’ve seen over the decades can be, there are other giant monsters that terrorize, plague, or even assist others in the world of books. Here are five books with giant monsters that I’ve enjoyed over the years…
Meg by Steve Alten
A Super-Shark Ate My Lifetime Supply of Steroids…
When Jonas Taylor, a sea diver turned paleontologist, makes the journey to unveil one of nature’s greatest mysteries, all hell breaks loose as a massive female Megalodon (a prehistoric shark from the age of dinosaurs) begins to destroy everything in its watery wake.
Jaws wouldn’t stand a chance against Meg. Orca wouldn’t even qualify as a school fight in the playground after lunch because she’s swallowing it after it eats Free Willy. Meg is not to be trifled with. She will find a way to destroy your naval facility and eat your entire family, including the one uncle that you can’t stand that sends you a Christmas card every year but never signs the card, so you recycle the card and send it to someone else the following year.
Meg is the first in a series of novels by Alten. You can’t go wrong with a prehistoric shark that’s big enough to eat a whale for an appetizer.
TIM – Defender of the Earth by Sam Enthoven
My Bad, I Didn’t Mean to Use Big Ben As A Weapon…
TIM, an abbreviation for Tyrannosaurus: Improved Model, is the story of a super-lizard that escapes a “top-secret” military project and accidentally destroys stuff all over London.
TIM also has a feel that’s reminiscent to the old Japanese TV series Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot with the connection between one of the main characters (Chris) and his relationship with TIM.
And yes, Big Ben is used as a projectile in the book. That made me smile.
Into The Mist by Lee Murray
I Ain’t Got Time to Bleed…
Somewhere in New Zealand, a group of soldiers are on a mission to escort civilian contractors through a geological hostile area filled with militants, deadly grounds, and so much more.
But for Sergeant Taine McKenna and his crew, what should be an easy mission for them ends up being more than they could ever imagined as a massive creature begins to hunt them all down individually as they attempt to complete their mission.
For those familiar with the movie Predator, this book turns the concept up by 50 levels, and you honestly can’t go wrong with that.
Project Nemesis by Jeremy Robinson
That’s No Sassy Sasquatch, That’s a Kaiju, FOOL!
The first in a series of books by Robinson, Nemesis deals with Jon Hudson, an anti-Fox Mulder character that works for a special department in Homeland Security that deals strictly with supernatural or paranormal threats to America. Constantly dealing with false sightings and other queries, Jon feels that his job is the purest of jokes but once he gets sent out to check a possible Sasquatch sighting up north, he then finds a danger that grows into a deadly, dominant kaiju that is hell-bent on ultimate destruction.
Project Nemesis also has a great character in Ashley Collins, the sheriff that teams up with Jon as they attempt to put together the clues necessary to learn the history of Nemesis. I was glad to see that she could hold her own in a fight and was far from helpless or being a damsel in distress.
And because Robinson has a tendency to switch perspectives to a multitude of characters in the book, sometimes we even get the kaiju’s destructive point of view, which is really fantastic.
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
Try to Play God, And You’ll Get Eaten by A Pack of Procompsognathus…
If you were disappointed with the massive Indominus Rex and the all the issues with the film Jurassic World, get a copy of the book that started the dinosaur phenomenon.
I first read Crichton’s Jurassic Park a few years ago, after a decade-plus of telling myself that I would finally read the source material so I could see the differences between the book and film. And as much as I enjoyed the first film, I enjoy this book even more because it has a solid explanation of how the dinosaurs could properly breed, and the fates of certain character are surprising as well as the fate of the island. Plus, you can’t go wrong with a monstrous, gigantic Tyrannosaurus Rex attacking guests on the tour!
And as an “honorable mention,” I wrote a book about monsters called Kentucky Kaiju with Justin Stewart and Tressina Bowling. It’s a fictional field guide to 50 unbelievable monsters of the bluegrass state. It’s out now from Apex Book Company!
Top image: Godzilla by Alex Cherry
Shawn Pryor is a writer and the creator of the all-ages graphic novel series Cash & Carrie, co-creator of Motherless Creatures with Tressina Bowling, and one of the original co-founders of Action Lab Entertainment. His favorite kaiju is Mothra. Don’t ask him why.