Salutations, kaiju fans!
I hope you’re comfortable, because this update is going to be a bit of a lengthy one. But hopefully, it’ll be informative and enjoyable!
As we approach the 8th month anniversary of the GNP’s launch, it’s crazy to look back and see just how much has been accomplished already. That said, to say there’s still MUCH more to do is an understatement of kaiju-sized proportions. To eat a metaphorical elephant (because that’s hopefully the only elephant you’d ever eat), you have to take one bite at a time, but as I’ve said before, I’m in for the long haul if you, my wonderful readers and fellow fans, are willing to come along for the ride.
And so, with interest in the project increasing and its exposure expanding (thanks to flattering word-of-mouth, strong support from readers and supporters, and recent podcast/magazine press), I thought it might be a good time present the current status of the various projects begun thus far on the site! As of this update, the GODZILLA NOVELIZATION PROJECT is home to the beginnings of EIGHT Godzilla novelizations, ONE completed short story, TWO in-progress Timelines, and the FIRST of an ongoing series of behind-the-scenes Blogs/Articles. But believe me, there is a TON more material being worked on that hasn’t been published yet, both related to the list of projects above and new, as yet unannounced surprises. In short, the following list will break down what is currently happening in the development of each project: how the writing is going, the research going on, and, of course, when new updates can be expected.
So, without further ado, let’s get started:
GODZILLA: THE UNOFFICIAL NOVELIZATION
The first Godzilla novel started on the site, and probably the novel I get asked most about in regards to the progress being made. Since launching the project, two chapters have been completed of the adaptation, and I’m happy to say that the third chapter has been in development for some time. If you’ve read the already posted chapters and are familiar with the order of events in the film, then you know the next chapter will bring the action first to the panicked headquarters of the Nankai Steamship Company, and then to the Pacific to witness the sinking of the Bingo-Maru. This sequence of events has proven a challenge to adapt, and I’ve experimented with various perspectives these scenes could take in the prose. After several months of writing and rewriting the various moments, I think I’ve found the angle that best captures the apprehension, mystery, and tension felt during those moments of the film.
It may take a while longer to craft a chapter that I feel best honors the film, but rest assured, it’s definitely coming! (For those curious, I briefly outline some of the research and analysis of tone going into crafting this adaptation in the first of my “Monster Musings” blogs.)
KING KONG VS. GODZILLA: THE UNOFFICIAL NOVELIZATION
The adaptation of this film has been a unique and exciting opportunity for the GNP, as the novelization will be based on the original Japanese cut of the film. As Godzilla fans are painfully aware, this film remains the only entry in the franchise with its original version unavailable legally in the US, making it a rarity that many American fans haven’t had the chance to see. To be able to present Honda and Sekizawa’s original, hilariously satirical vision to western readers is truly an honor, and it’s something I’m definitely taking my time on.
Only Chapter 1 has been completed and posted thus far, and my research into the period (specifically the Japanese “Economic Miracle” and its effects on television, advertising, and big business) has prevented me from converting my outlines into further chapters. However, I plan to begin that conversion very soon, and hope to have Chapter 2 ready to read before the end of 2018! Wish me luck!
MOTHRA VS. GODZILLA: THE UNOFFICIAL NOVELIZATION
This is another novelization that requires a surprising amount of research. How did politics on a local level work in 1964? What does the Kurata Beach disaster communicate in regard to the modernization, industrialization, and urban expansion of Japan during such a prosperous decade? How big a role did the press play at the time, and just what was the price of a chicken egg back then? Lots to discover, and lots to learn!
In addition (as the beginning of Chapter 1 illustrates), I am planning on beginning several of this adaptation’s chapters with “in universe” newspaper articles penned by Akira Takarada’s character, Ichiro Sakai. His stories are referenced in the film, but never actually seen/heard by the audience. Being able to write in Sakai’s voice requires an understanding of the character (both how he was written by Sekizawa, portrayed by Takarada, and even shot/photographed by Honda), as well as how a 1964 Japanese newspaper would have read and been presented.
All that said, the next chapter has been outlined, and the writing process has been going on for quite some time. It shouldn’t be too much longer before that giant egg washes ashore…
ALL MONSTERS ATTACK: THE UNOFFICIAL NOVELIZATION
Despite its rather simplistic reputation, the adaptation of this film has presented me with so many narrative/genre possibilities, that the ongoing process of researching and writing it will soon be the subject of its very own “Monster Musings” blog. Without getting too deep into all those particulars just yet, let me just say that crafting this particular novelization has been one of the most fun and exciting parts of the entire GNP thus far. I’ve always been an admirer and staunch defender of this film, and I hope that that love (and a respect for what Ishiro Honda was trying to say though its story) is ultimately communicated when the novel is complete.
That said, I’m pleased to report that the next chapter (following the previously published Prologue) is nearly completed, and will likely be one of the next chapters posted to the site! Stay tuned!
GODZILLA VS. HEDORAH: THE UNOFFICIAL NOVELIZATION
Challenging? Check. Often baffling? Check. Trippy as all get-out? DOUBLE CHECK.
And I’m loving every second of it.
Despite the obvious challenges of adapting a film as famously odd as Godzilla vs. Hedorah (some of which I may outline in a future behind-the-scenes blog), I have to say that the process of writing this truly INSANE film as a book has been one of the most enjoyable creative experiences of my life. This is evident in the fact that Hedorah is, as of this writing, the longest novel on the site, currently sitting at five chapters (including the prologue)! The chance to take a film so infamous for is visuals and translate it into the written word is a thrill, and often times a serious challenge.
But even so, it’s also a serious blast, and several further chapters are currently outlined and awaiting conversion into the continuing narrative. Chapter 5 is underway as we speak, and let me tell you… with the previously published chapter leaving off right before Hedorah’s first venture to shore, things are about to get… psychedelic.
GODZILLA VS. GIGAN: THE UNIFFICIAL NOVELIZATION
This is another novelization I get asked about often, and it’s no surprise. This film was the winner of my first Twitter poll asking readers to help me decide which Godzilla film I should start adapting next, winning with over 50% of the vote! Currently, only one chapter has been published, but worry not… Chapter 2 is making excellent progress, and, with a bit more writing and polishing, should be ready in a few weeks!
GODZILLA VS. MEGALON: THE UNOFFICIAL NOVELIZATION
Ah, Megalon. The Godzilla film that should be the easiest to adapt… right?
Allow me to explain…
In short, as much as I absolutely adore this movie, I’m also no fool. In addition to a variety of production woes, one of Megalon’s biggest issues is its cardboard cutout characters. Little to no effort was put into making the trio of leads much more than familiar types: Goro is the noble inventor, Rokuro is the precocious kid, and Jinkawa is… well, he’s there. How do they know each other? Why does Jinkawa hang out at Goro’s place so much? Why is Goro a solid two decades older than his younger brother?
I could go on, but instead I’ll simply say this: since there’s little in the way of actual character in these characters, it falls to me to provide them with the character they are lacking. Since I refuse to write one dimensional cardboard cutouts, I’ve been spending a great deal of time analyzing the film for clues that could lead me to craft plausible backstories for the characters that inhabit the film, hopefully providing them with stronger motivation, history, and hooks to draw sympathy from prospective readers.
It all boils down to this: I’ve committed to thinking harder and longer about Godzilla vs. Megalon than perhaps a human brain ought to.
And – perhaps predictably – I’m enjoying it immensely.
Chapter 1 (following on the heels of the Prologue) was the most recent chapter added to any of the GNP’s novelizations, and with any luck, Chapter 2 shouldn’t be too far behind!
GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA: THE UNOFFICIAL NOVELIZATION
As a beloved fan favorite in the franchise, its little wonder that I’ve been asked about the progress being made on the adaptation of this film, as well. Much like Mothra vs. Godzilla, a surprising amount of research is required to make this novel authentic. Specifically, knowledge of the history of Okinawa, it’s past and then (1974) current relationship to Japan, and its unique religious background are all necessary in presenting an accurate portrayal of the setting of the story. And since the next events to appear in my novelization (Nami’s ritual at the temple and her vision of monstrous destruction) draw heavily from these very topics, the further refining of this novelization’s next chapter are on hold until further research is completed. To me, it isn’t enough to simply write that Nami was dancing, singing, and then had a vision. There is cultural significance to this moment in the film, and that significance is present throughout the entire story.
That said, it shouldn’t be too long until work resumes on this one, so stay tuned!
GODZILLA AGAINST MECHAGODZILLA: THE UNOFFICIAL NOVELIZATION
I can hear your confusion. Rest assured, there’s a good reason I’m mentioning this film here.
Several months ago, as a follow-up to my first Twitter Poll asking fans to help me select the next novelization to begin, I created a second poll with the same intent. The winner was 2002’s Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla, but since its victory, the first chapter has yet to materialize on the site.
For those of you waiting, I promise that first chapter is coming. I’ve written and re-written my notes and outlines for how to begin this particular adaptation several times, experimenting with different perspectives with each iteration, hoping to find a unique and compelling angle that takes advantage of the novel medium while still honoring the tone and intent of the film. As those who have seen it know, the opening of Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla is spectacular: a tense, nighttime confrontation between the new Godzilla and a squadron of Maser Tanks in a heavy rainstorm. What’s more, much of this battle is seen through the eyes of our heroine (portrayed by Yumiko Shaku) as she watches tragedy unfold before her eyes.
I’m getting close to nailing the particulars of writing this scene down, and once I do, the completed chapter (or prologue?) shouldn’t take too long to complete.
AND YET ANOTHER?
Sometimes, when you least expect it, an idea pops into your head. Perhaps it’s an angle you never thought of, or a sentence you need to write down before you forget it, or, you know… an entire prologue to a Godzilla novelization that you wrote for no other reason than that inspiration suddenly struck.
Such is the simultaneously blessed and accursed fate of a writer.
Translation: there’s a completely finished first chapter to a new Godzilla novelization that hasn’t been published yet.
Which could it be?
You’ll have to wait to find out…
THE SONY TIMELINE
Ever since launching the Timeline section of the site, I have been absolutely blown away by the amount of attention it has gotten. Even on days when the novelizations receive little web traffic, one or both of the currently begun timelines get an often shocking number of views. It’s been humbling to see that all the hard work that goes into researching, cataloguing, and writing the (sometimes obscure) facts in these timelines is being appreciated and enjoyed by fans!
That said, I’m happy to report that the Sony Timeline – the farthest along of the two timelines currently on the site – is still on track to receive regular updates! Currently, I’m studying several drafts of the shooting script for the 1998 film (which has led to some interesting discoveries!), several publications released to promote the film, and am re-reading both the adult and junior novelizations to glean as much information as I can from them before putting them back on my bookshelf. As someone who has never loathed the 1998 film or the universe it created, it’s been fun to dive into this research, and I hope that excitement can be felt in the finished product!
As for the animated series, I’m’ still hard at work breaking down individual episodes and inserting their events into various parts of the timeline. In addition, events and info from the two Godzilla: The Series comics and even the GameBoy game are being catalogued as we speak, so look forward to even more expansions to the timeline very soon!
THE ANIME TIMELINE
Of all the pages created thus far for the GNP website, the Anime Timeline has proven – quite unexpectedly – to be the most popular of them all. Exceeding the number of views generated by any of the novelizations, this page has exploded in popularity, despite the fact that the info currently included on it is minimal, to say the least.
With so many different aspects of the project being worked on at the same time, work on the Anime Timeline ground to a halt several months ago. However, due to the overwhelming amount of support given to the page by fans, updating the page with more info has become a top priority!
Expect updates to hit the page very soon!
THE “MONSTER MUSINGS” BLOG
I have to confess, I’ve never pictured myself as a blogger.
Even so, as I continued my work on the various aspects of this project, I soon realized that there were things I wanted to say, things I wanted to express about the creative process behind the novels, short stories, timelines, and all the minutia in between. The question then became… will anyone even be interested in reading what I have to say?
Well, if the performance of the first Monster Musings blog is anything to go by, then the answer is “yes”! The aforementioned first installment (a multi-paragraph diatribe on how fearing the unknown is such a massive part of the success behind the original Godzilla from 1954) has garnered some wonderful, positive feedback from readers. And so, a second Musing is in the making!
The topics of each upcoming blog will be kept close to the chest prior to their release, which will always be a day or two earlier for Patreon supporters! (I’m even planning a few blogs that will remain EXCLUSIVE to Patreon peeps…)
When will the next blog go live?
Well… I actually really don’t know.
But it’ll come eventually!
As far as other updates and in-progress projects go, I’m happy to say I’m keeping busy! Outlines and early writing for a handful of additional Godzilla novels are underway, as well as plans for additional short stories and novellas set within various corners of the franchise. In addition, a third timeline – focusing on a new Godzilla universe – has been started, with a great deal of research already completed and several entries already written! The identity of this timeline will remain a mystery until it has been polished enough to be published, but feel free to let me know your guesses as to what universe it will tackle!
As for the website itself, expect some performance/aesthetic improvements in the near future, as well as a couple of new tabs on the menu! One of these will be for Press/Appearances, where any press about the project will be archived. Magazine articles/adds, reviews, podcast interviews, conventions where you might spot me… it’ll all be there, for the sake of convenience!
Speaking of podcasts, expect a couple of surprises in the near future! Cool things are brewing behind the scenes… but that’s all I’ll say about that right now.
On the subject of possible GNP merch (something I get asked about more often than I honestly thought I would!), I’m happy to say that several possibilities have begun to open up. Patreon supporters will be the first to benefit from possible swag, but if things like GNP shirts/apparel, buttons/pins, stickers, or other goodies interest you, let me know, and seeking avenues to get that stuff produced will become a priority!
Finally, before ending this MASSIVE update, I’ll leave you with one more tease…
Being the monster-loving fanatic that I am, I have no intention of letting the possibilities of this most spooky of months go to waste. The GNP has a special, spooky Halloween surprise in store for readers…
But you’ll have to wait until the big day to find out!
With that out of the way, I think it’s time to end this update before I have to legally classify it as a novella. If you made it this far, I thank you for your continued interest in/support of this massive endeavor. I hope this status report has answered possible questions, and perhaps made you excited to see these novels and timelines continue!
With so much going on behind the scenes, a new update (and don’t worry, it’ll be a shorter one) can’t be too far away! So until then, have a safe, fun second half of October, and keep on keepin’ on!