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Gojiro: A Novel Paperback – December 8, 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; 1st Pbk. Ed edition (December 8, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802135390
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802135391
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #290,325 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This remarkable first novel combines the manic energy of monster movies and comic books with a serious and sad look at the post-nuclear world. At center stage are two friends. One is Gojiro, a 500-foot-tall lizard who has swollen to his extraordinary size--and acquired the shrewd brain of higher life forms--as a result of an atomic test. Then there's his comrade Komodo, a human victim of Hiroshima. A mystical and telepathic bond unites them; they make a home for themselves and other radiation victims on a volcanic island in the middle of a "roiling petrochemical sea." But Gojiro becomes a movie star, setting out with Komodo for Hollywood at the strange request of a film producer (whose father was involved with the Manhattan Project tests that produced Gojiro). They soon uncover a plot to test new atomic weapons that, in the best comic book tradition, threatens the world. The plot is fast-moving and fun, but the bulk of the book consists of long, philosophical dialogues between the austere youth and the wisecracking monster--whose hipster jargon is a perfect imitation of the late rock critic Lester Bangs. The novel's beauty lies in the way these often hilarious conversations strike a poignant note while the "mutants" try to come to grips with the horrors of their lives.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Transformed by post-World War II atomic testing into a gargantuan and sentient behemoth, the former monitor lizard now known as "Gojiro" forms a quasi-mystical bond with a Japanese survivor of Hiroshima--a bond which leads them from their island retreat to the glitter of Hollywood and ultimately into a search for the essence of life itself. Bursting with ideas, full of broad humor and epic comedy laced with an underlying seriousness and compassion, this first novel represents speculative fiction at its literary and imaginative best. It is highly recommended.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Nothing really happens in this book.
eShu
The writing style is very stylized and sometimes awkwardly dense, making _Gojiro_ not the easiest read, but it's worth the effort in this G-Fan's opinion.
angelynx@rocketmail.com
The whole story is told from Gojiro's point of view.
Logan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Arthur R. Chu on August 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book has touched me as few others have. It really is an awesome and engrossing novel, unusual and eccentric as it may be.
I'm aware it's not for everyone, as I can see by the other reviews posted here. And, to tell the truth, it's not really a genre sf novel, so people looking for long-winded physiological descriptions of Godzilla, leave now.
Frankly, this is NOT a Godzilla book. It is NOT an action-packed thriller or a pretentious hard sf novel filled with technobabble. This is a deeply philosophical work that uses the image of Godzilla, a mistake of human technology becoming the defender of humanity, as a symbol of evolution; mutation becoming adaptation becoming progress. The author freely edits scientific and historical details for the purposes of the story, which is more like an epic poem or painting than a straight narrative; characters, while on one level being very real people, also serve as symbolic archetypes, and the many seemingly-impossible events, while reinforcing the otherworldly atmosphere of the story, also all have a point behind them, once you look. (For example, the creation and growth of Radioactive Island through seemingly haphazard chance serves as a strong metaphor for evolution throughout the story.) The premise, a Godzilla-like creature developing a sort of religious cult philosophy that becomes inadvertently broadcast in a series of movies, seems silly at first, but the thing is, it works. More than that, it works so well that it strongly colored my perceptions of the real-life Godzilla; I'd been aware that he was a symbol of the Nuclear Age before, but this really brought it home to me.
The contrived slang, the "hip" lingo, the monster's cynicism... While some might be turned off by it, it worked for me.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 25, 1998
Format: Paperback
The thing about this fairy tale is that it creates a more beautiful world view than any religion I've studied. The sublime theme of the book is that belief systems, whether they be religious, philosophical, or societal, are all subject to perversion, destruction, and absorbtion from conflicting systems of thought. 'Gojiro' presents a charmingly ridiculous and heart warming system of thought which tries it's best to account for all the craziness of the modern era. It's is tempting to make 'Gojiro' a bible, a centerpiece for a new religion, but 'Gojiro' warns against this sort of reverence, to quote a passage; "...it's a heck of a space saver, having only one book on the shelf. But which Book?" How could any illuminated person not dig this crazy levia-thang, man. Gojiro be the monster that blows metaphysics like Miles Davis blows the bugle, it's jazz for seekers who don't give a damn about finding an answer.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By eShu on July 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
What a great book this could have been!

The idea that Gojiro not only actually exists, but is also a deep and cynical thinker at the center of a quasi-religious cult is very creative. Unfortunately, there are two problems that prevent it from being the book it could have been.

The first problem is the story: there isn't one. Nothing really happens in this book. In its 300 plus pages there is so little action and character growth that it's easy to find yourself dozing off if you read it at night.

The second and biggest problem is the over-pretentious, forced writing style. Jacobson tries so hard to be hip and trendy that the story (what little there is of one) becomes difficult to follow and the book just becomes painful to read.

"Gojiro" has some great philosophical ideas regarding God and Man, and Nature and Science, but it lacked the cohesion to pull any of those ideas together. Instead we're left with a rambling story with no focus written in a heavy-handed, fake ultra-cool narrative. It's clear that the author had something to say. I just wish he would have said it in English.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
It is a sad commentary that the mass market paperback of this book, had a cheesy sci-fi cover and marketed as a genre book. Gojiro is a mile a minute thrill ride looking into the soul of a post Hiroshima world. Oppenheimer vs. Godzilla for the fate of a planet. Effin' Brilliant.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 12, 1997
Format: Paperback
Once again, the King of Monsters saves the world, this time by leaving Monster Island to face up to both Hollywood and the remaining scientists of the Manhattan project that birthed the Atomic Age. Fans of Godzilla movies or atomic history buffs may be dismayed at the liberties taken with the stories of personalities like Edward Teller, Robert Oppenheimer, and Godzilla himself, but I found this mishmash of Hollywood mayhem, post-nuclear age Cosmology, and Pynchonesque storytelling a great roller coaster ride. At times ridiculous and hilarious, at time moving. Who ever thought the big green lizard could be such a cynical philosopher?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 17, 1997
Format: Hardcover
An extremely imaginitive work. Nuclear testing creates another Godzilla. He and his young human friend seek out the meaning of life and the connection behind their similarly troubled lives.
An akward read at times, but different than anything I've ever read. A real escape from reality written in an interesting style.
Read it if you can find it!
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