Author Shigeru Kayama’s novelizations of Godzilla and Godzilla Raids Again have finally been given an English translation
When the original Godzilla movie was being developed, producer Tomoyuki Tanaka hired author Shigeru Kayama to write the treatment that was then fleshed out into a screenplay by Takeo Murata and Ishirō Honda. And when the first sequel, Godzilla Raids Again, was in the works, it was again Kayama that provided the initial story. Kayama then wrote novelizations for both Godzilla and Godzilla Raids Again – but while those books were first published in 1955, they never received an English translation. Until now. On October 3rd, the University of Minnesota Press will be publishing a book that contains English translations of the Godzilla and Godzilla Raids Again! Copies can be pre-ordered at THIS LINK.
The translations of Kayama’s text were handled by Jeffrey Angles, professor of Japanese at Western Michigan University, who also wrote a new afterword for the book.
Here’s the description of the Godzilla and Godzilla Raids Again book: Godzilla emerged from the sea to devastate Tokyo in the now-classic 1954 film, produced by Tōhō Studios and directed by Ishirō Honda, creating a global sensation and launching one of the world’s most successful movie and media franchises. Awakened and transformed by nuclear weapons testing, Godzilla serves as a terrifying metaphor for humanity’s shortsighted destructiveness: this was the intent of Shigeru Kayama, the science fiction writer who drafted the 1954 original film and its first sequel and, in 1955, published these novellas.
Although the Godzilla films have been analyzed in detail by cultural historians, film scholars, and generations of fans, Kayama’s two Godzilla novellas—both classics of Japanese young-adult science fiction—have never been available in English. This book finally provides English-speaking fans and critics the original texts with these first-ever English-language translations of Godzilla and Godzilla Raids Again. The novellas reveal valuable insights into Kayama’s vision for the Godzilla story, feature plots that differ from those of the films, and clearly display the author’s strong antinuclear, proenvironmental convictions.
Kayama’s fiction depicts Godzilla as engaging in guerrilla-style warfare against humanity, which has allowed the destruction of the natural world through its irresponsible, immoral perversion of science. As human activity continues to cause mass extinctions and rapid climatic change, Godzilla provides a fable for the Anthropocene, powerfully reminding us that nature will fight back against humanity’s onslaught in unpredictable and devastating ways.
Shigeru Kayama (1904–1975) was a science fiction writer and scenarist whose early stories about monsters and mutated sea creatures attracted the attention of Tōhō Studios, who asked him to draft the first two Godzilla films. The film Half Human by Tōhō Studios was also based on one of his stories, and he contributed to the screenplay for the Tōhō film The Mysterians.
This sounds very interesting to me. I don’t think the chance to read novelizations of Godzilla and Godzilla Raids Again by the original writer is an opportunity I’ll be able to pass up.
Will you be reading the Godzilla and Godzilla Raids Again novelizations? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/godzilla-novelizations/