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Friday, March 29, 2013

Official Announcement Of MONSTER EARTH 2!

From Atomic Anxiety

Mark Bousquet (MB): Thanks for joining us, James. Let’s start by talking about your latest release, MONSTER EARTH, on which you are co-creator and editor (along with Jim Beard) and also one of the writers. What’s the premise of this universe and how did the world of MONSTER EARTH come about?

James Palmer (JP): MONSTER EARTH is an alternate history giant monster anthology in which the Cold War was fought with the threat of giant monsters instead of nuclear weapons. It came about, as such things often do, almost by accident. I am a huge daikaiju (giant monster) fan, and I had toyed with the idea of doing a anthology of giant monster stories, but I knew I wanted something to tie the stories together, some kind of arc that would make this book different from the other daikaiju anthologies out there.

That’s where Jim Beard came in. We started talking on The Pulp Factory, a Yahoo! group for writers, artists and fans of pulp fiction, and he had a great unifying concept for the book, so I brought him on as co-editor and the rest, as they say, is history.

MB: In the book’s Introduction, you write that “with these tales, we highlight the human element, to show how ordinary people live their lives in the shadows of these colossal beasts.” Why did you make the decision to focus on the people and not the monsters?

JP: Monsters are great, but there’s only so much stomping around and demolishing buildings we can take. In the Godzilla films, there’s always a cast of human characters who are trying to stop whatever menace is threatening Japan, be it aliens or Godzilla himself, and I’ve always thought that was part of what was cool about those films. There’s this great scene at the end of The Terror of Mechagodzilla, where it switches back and forth between Godzilla fighting Mechagodzilla, and a scene where the human characters are fighting the aliens. The monsters are always represented as sort of mindless forces of nature. Sometimes their tools the humans can use to achieve their own ends, or sometimes they’re the threat. I really wanted to take this angle with MONSTER EARTH.

MB: You’ve got a fantastic line-up of writers involved in MONSTER EARTH: you, Jim, I.A. Watson, Nancy Hansen, Jeff McGinnis, Edward Erdelac, and Fraser Sherman. How did this roster come together? What kind of guidelines did you give them in creating their corner of your world?

JP: Jim created a detailed story bible, and each writer got to pick what decade they wanted to write in. Jim’s story came first, and really set the tone for what was to come. With the exception of a monster or two, we let them make up their own creatures, and they had free reign when it came to the methods of controlling those creatures. With such a skilled cast of writers, it was easy to just turn them loose and see what they could do within the loose confines of the world, and every single one of them knocked it out of the park with their story.

MB: What are the stories of MONSTER EARTH. Are they tightly connected? Completely stand-alone? Is there a thread that runs through them?

JP: Jim’s story and I.A. Watson’s story are the most closely tied. Ian’s story references Jim’s monsters. There are a couple of stories that use Johnson, the American monster, but other than that the stories aren’t really interrelated that much.

MB: Your story is called “Some Say in Ice.” What’s it about? What’s the relationship between humans and monsters in this story? Did you write it first so the other writers would have an idea of the kind of story you were looking for or did you write it alongside everyone else?

JP: I wrote this story dead last. “Some Say in Ice” takes place in the 1980s, and is about our government’s “monster czar,” who has designed an experimental ship based on an old science fiction story and designed to capture a mysterious seafaring beast known as Titanicus, that no one knows too much about. After they capture the beast, another monster shows up, and a monster melee ensues onboard the vessel. The story explores the overall mystery of the monsters and how they came to be while examining human relationships and the attraction between the main character and a female photojournalist brought along for the ride.
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