The Flight Of The Red Monsters By Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam is a story of direction-less hate and war unleashed, of violence perpetrated without any consideration for the risks and the eventual downfall inherent in a genocidal war between species.
“There was so much darkness in our world. There were beautiful clouds of food fish.”
The red monsters have dwelt beneath the oceans, in the unexplored depths were mankind could not reach with their vessels or their equipment, but polluted it nonetheless. Their Metropolises have been poisoned and the food has become tainted and scarce. Driven by fear for their future and hate for the land-things, the Red Monsters decide to enact their revenge on Man.
The red monsters came from the waters, crushing humanity in the thousands. The cities are falling apart and lives are snuffed out in mere moments. No-one could have prepared for this sort of attack or rationalized this tragedy. In the wake of these disasters, humanity is forced to defend itself. Driven by terror in the face of these alien attackers, mankind fights a shadowy war against the Red Monsters.
“You already are a shadow,” my father said when I first told him this. “You barely speak, barely eat.”
Flight of the Red Monsters caught my eye almost immediately. It’s a kaiju story, promising devastated landscapes and megadeaths, but it does not deliver them in the Imax presentation that you would expect. It’s a story that present both sides caught up in a mutually destructive affair, a genocidal exchange that can only lead to extinction, with a terrible toll taken on both sides.
Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam apparently sat down to write a kaiju story one day and instead came up with a character study that sheds a pretty unflattering light on both sides. But what’s even more interesting, is how she manages to turn the tables, by presenting two equally sympathetic sides, without resorting to the cheap shots of tugging at the reader’s heartstrings by using some done-to-death clichés.
For that, I salute her.
- 3500 words
- Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam has the Harry Potteringest sounding name I’ve ever heard. This is eerily appropriate, as she happens to make magic happen on paper. Visit her website, here.
- This is the best presentation of a Kaiju’s POV I’ve ever seen.
- This story is included in the Kaiju Rising-Age Of Monsters Anthology by Rangarok Publishing. Buy it here.
- You know that terrible bit in the horrible Godzilla movie where the six-story-tall lizard hides from a bunch of helicopters? Bonnie Jo pulls it off like a charm.
Konstantine Paradias is a Greek science fiction and fantasy writer. He has a blog, called Shapescapes (shapescapes). He’s also hard at work writing a book about Mongols in Zastavas, tearing through Asia all the way to your back yard. He has been offered a chance to know the moment of his demise, which he described as ‘hilarious’.
For comments or plain old contact, you can find him at firstname.lastname@example.org