The Titan Prophesies is dedicated to “all those who helped craft amazing tales of giant monsters that thrilled us with wonder, filled us with awe and swept us away to realities where giants walk among us.”
Thus inspired, editor Kevin Candela has given readers a collection of short stories featuring a 200-foot-long “robot virus,” a couple of hungry Cyclopes, an MMO filled with thunderous daikaiju battles, cyborg titan paladins, kujira sanjuutou, a prehistoric tree monster and a gigantic, mutant man-shark.
Overall, it’s a legit assemblage of daikaiju fiction with only a single misfire. For better or worse, the two best stories are slotted near the back of the book. Editor Candela makes his readers wait, but he eventually delivers a satisfying payoff at the end.
“Walking Among the Trees” is about a friendship between an 11-year-old boy and a tree from the dawn of time. “It was a tree of beauty,” says author Essel Pratt; “royal in stature and brooding in strength.”
Working together, the boy and the tree stop a logging company from ravaging the surrounding forest. “Speaking ancient words that were never meant to be heard, the giant woodland beast rose from the ground.” Even though no one understands the low rumbles emanating from its jagged mouth, the tree’s message is clear: man is not welcome in its domain.
Like every movie from Hayao Miyazaki, Pratt’s story celebrates nature and vilifies technology. In this case, mononoke manifests itself in the symbiotic relationship between a young boy and an ancient tree. The results are something Miyazaki would definitely approve of: The majestic protector Tapio, King of the Forest!
Humanity’s relationship with nature can also be found in Roma Gray’s story “Locusts of the Sea.” This time, however, the beasts of nature are 100 times more aggressive and exploitive.
In 1492, sailing the ocean blue, Christopher Columbus’s fleet is attacked by 30 enormous sea creatures. Making an ominous tick-tick-tick sound (like the crocodile from Peter Pan), the whale-sized monsters attack the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa Maria like sharks on a feeding frenzy.
The evil minions from Hell quickly discover they enjoy the taste of man flesh and chase Columbus back to Europe. “What had started out as an expedition to find an easier route to the Orient had created a far bigger problem than the one they had attempted to resolve,” writes the author. The entire civilized world was now in danger.
Jumping to the year 1984, the monsters are no longer confined to water. Evolution has given them legs and their appetite compels them across the continent. The clock was ticking down to an unimaginable apocalypse.
[The Titan Prophesies / Edited by Kevin Candela / First Printing: May 2019 / ISBN: 9781097578207]