Saturday, 14 September 2013

Kickstarter Spotlight: Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters

Between IDW getting hold of the Godzilla licence, and Pacific Rim obviously, the kaiju genre has seen something of a resurgence in recent years. Despite the costs which come with creating a film about giant monsters, authors and creators have found other media to keep creating stories about them, as have the group we’re looking at today.

Under the newly formed Ragnarok Publications, Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters is set to be an anthology of tales by different authors surrounding monsters attacking cities. Each is putting their own spin on the giant monster genre, each with their own area of interest outlined in their sections of the kickstarter page. More than a few are there purely because they “enthusiastically endorse Kaiju monsters smashing stuff.” Others meanwhile are there to try and put a different spin on things, such as considering if they should write a “mindless reptilian engine of destruction” or a more Cloverfield approach of a kind of victim. Whatever the case though, there are more than enough authors to cover many angles of writing a monster story, and certainly some interesting choices among them.

The actual authors who are on-board with writing for the anthology range from the well-known and well recognised, to the less so, and at least one outright infamous for his work. Those best known are Edward Erdelac, Weird West author, James Lovegrove, Writer of The Age of Ra, and Erin Hoffman, writer of the Chaos Knight books. A well-known one in not quite the same light is Mike Maclean, writer of Sharktopus among other SyFy films. The ones which will likely draw the most attention to frequenters of this site are Black Library authors C.L. Werner, Joshua Reynolds, writer of two upcoming Time of Legends books, and David Annandale. The latter might have has serious problems with The Death of Antagonis, but can definitely write city destroying titans when he puts his mind to it.

While definitely not as well known or acclaimed a group of authors as we saw in our last Spotlight, most of these people can definitely pen a book well and those who are not can at least write fun stories with enough destruction. As the main attraction to supporting the book, it’s good to know it’s in good hands.

Another area of talent is also the artists involved, Dan Howard, known for working on a good number of prominent video game titles from Final Fantasy to Mega Man. While you should never judge a book by its cover, the series definitely has some truly fantastic covers done in a style reminiscent of some of the older kaiju monster films. This is something which will only improve with the stretch goals.

The stretch goals are perhaps the most frustrating part of this page as they give little to no actual information. The first stretch goal beyond the target, getting two additional artists to work on the book and draw the monsters is good. It shows examples of their work, cites who they are and the total number of pieces they will be contributing. The same goes with the later stretch goals with art where people can look up the names of those on offer and see why they would want to have them working on the book.

Beyond artists there’s unfortunately very little to encourage people to donate further cash. Every single last stretch goal informs us that a new author will be joining the book, but doesn’t even offer hints about who they are and as such there’s no real incentive to see them completed. People don’t know if the additional money will get them an author of high calibre, someone relatively unknown or an author disliked among science fiction circles. The people behind this don’t seem to realise that there needs to be some kind of hint or suggestion of who will be involved even if they don’t want to outright say who is involved. A complete mystery just doesn’t work.

The rewards in question range from a basic wallpaper to being used as a character within one of the novels. Nearly all of the rewards beyond the first tier are worth looking into as they offer a free ebook of Paul Genesse’s first Iron Dragons novel, access to all writing updates, a special thanks on the publishing website and proceed to dramatically improve from there. More of the higher tier options range from being an aforementioned redshirt in a book and choosing which city a story is set in, to more uniquely interesting additions such as a pewter coin with the anthology’s symbol. I try to avoid suggesting how much people should spend, but this is one you should look to at least donate $13.00 to if you’re interested in donating at all, if only for the rewards. Though whether some of the top tier rewards are worth the cost will likely vary from person to person.

The real problems here, beyond the aforementioned issue with the mystery stretch goals, is the potential for authors to drop out. This is listed under the Risks and Challenges section but it does highlight the fact that if a backer is after a story by one author they run the risk of potentially not getting them involved. Furthermore, the actual section seems to be extremely short and doesn’t cite many of the printing and delivering problems which other projects have gone into detail about. It might be basic stuff but explaining exactly how and why certain problems might arise shows that those behind the project are at least aware of them. Simply stating “delays in editing and/or production are always a possibility” isn’t quite enough to encourage confidence in the people behind this.

Ultimately Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters is worth it if you like big monsters, go here and take a look but just make sure you read the whole thing before you choose to back it. There’s more risk and uncertainties involved in this one than others we have covered so consider how much you want to give carefully before you do donate. The book is currently just under three quarters the way towards its goal and has 22 days still to go.

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