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Shambling Towards Hiroshima by [Morrow, James]
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Shambling Towards Hiroshima Kindle Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Length: 170 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“This dark, wildly funny, politically incorrect satire is a winner.”
—Nancy Kress, author of After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall

“The most provocative satiric voice in science fiction.”
Washington Post

“...widely regarded as the foremost satirist associated with the SF and fantasy field.”
SF Site

“Morrow understands theology like a theologian and psychology like a psychologist, but he writes like an angel.”
—Richard Elliott Friedman, author of The Hidden Book in the Bible

“America’s best satirist.”
—James Gunn, University of Kansas

“Readers will never think of Godzilla—or any other B-movie monster—in quite the same way, that’s guaranteed.”
Green Man Review

“...the strange brew of jolly satire and moral indignity of vintage Kurt Vonnegut....”
Time Out Chicago

“It’s called satire, and James Morrow does it brilliantly.”
SF Site

“...tour-de-force of razor-sharp wit...packs a big wallop....”
SciFi Dimensions

“Morrow is the only author who comes close to Vonnegut’s caliber. Like Vonnegut, Morrow shrouds his work in science fiction, but the real story is always man’s infinite capacities for love and for evil.”
—Paul Constant, The Stranger.com

“...witty, playful...reminiscent of Watchmen....”
Strange Horizons

“...a reminder that for all the shenanigans in his plots, [James Morrow is] first and foremost just a great writer.”
Bookgasm

“In the tradition of Dr. Strangelove...even as you’re laughing, you’re not sure you should be.”
Omnivoracious.com

“James Morrow’s bizarrely funny new book Shambling Towards Hiroshima turns the usual Godzilla paradigm on its head: Instead of being inspired by the horrors of nuclear war, Godzilla is its herald.”
io9.com

“It takes a special sort of person to...imagine a real-world basis for Godzilla....”
—John Scalzi, The Big Idea

“Morrow liberally salts the yarn with real Hollywood horror-movie personnel, Jewish showbiz snark, and gut-wrenching regret for the bomb. As usual for Morrow, a stellar performance.”
Booklist

“...sharp-edged, delightfully batty...skillfully mingling real and imaginary characters with genuinely hilarious moments.”
Kirkus

“...a total hoot to read...recounting horrors both imagined and real with equal aplomb.”
The Agony Column

“A ridiculously fun read...pitch-perfect satire.”
Fantasy & Science Fiction

“This is what we have come to expect from Morrow: intelligent, thoughtful, dark comedy with real bite—and in this case radioactive breath.”
New York Review of Science Fiction

About the Author

James Morrow: James Morrow is the author of the World Fantasy Award-winning Towing Jehovah and the New York Times Notable Book Blameless in Abaddon. His recent novels include The Last Witchfinder, hailed by the Washington Post as “literary magic,” and The Philosopher’s Apprentice, which received a rave review from Entertainment Weekly. He is a master of the satiric and the surreal, a writer who has enjoyed comparison with Twain, Vonnegut, and Updike. Morrow lives in State College, Pennsylvania.


Product Details

  • File Size: 1898 KB
  • Print Length: 170 pages
  • Publisher: Tachyon Publications (February 1, 2009)
  • Publication Date: February 1, 2009
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004INHH9C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #638,570 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Thomas Parker on July 25, 2011
Format: Paperback
It's 1945, and the army is working on a top secret, superweapon project to force Japan to surrender. No, not that one - this one involves creating enormous, fire breathing lizards and setting them loose to destroy Nipponese cities. B movie horror star Syms Thorley (Revenge of Corpuscula, Curse of Kha-Ton-Ra, etc.) is recruited to don a lizard suit and demolish a minitaure city as a demonstration to Japanese officials, in hopes that this will persuade them to surrender and aviod the real giant behemoths...or that other superweapon lurking in the background. Not particulary effective as a satire, especially in the last pages where Morrow tries to give the tale some weight by describing the real horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki - the preceeding story is too flimsy/silly to support such a moral load - the book works best as a sort of goofy, Ed Woodesque tall tale. And I have to give at least some approval to a book that manages to mention Roger Corman, Bela Lugosi, and Lionel Atwill.
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Format: Paperback
Syms Thorley is a B-movie actor and writer renowned for his award-winning portrayals of monsters in 1940s Hollywood. Things are going well for Thorley: he's got the admiration of his fans, a steady work stream, and a brilliant script he and his girlfriend cooked up that could change the face of monster movies forever. But then the government shows up asking for his help: they need him for a top secret project to get the Japanese to surrender. What Thorley doesn't understand is why the need him. What good can a B-list monster movie actor do for the government? With this question looming overhead, Thorley soon discoveries that sometimes monsters aren't only in the movies...

Morrow's novel is a short one, but it sure packs a punch. A merger of the edginess of pulp fiction (the literary form, not the movie) and popular media drawn into reality, Shambling Towards Hiroshima sends us on what might be the ultimate top secret adventure. This isn't a novel that wants you to take it too seriously, though; it's a novel that is aware of the absurdity of its speculative claim and is all too prepared to capitalize on that in Morrow's writing style and characters. There is something both subtle and outrageous about the idea of the U.S. government using real-life monsters against the Japanese, particularly now that we think of Japan in terms of Godzilla jokes or production quality.

And I think this is Shambling Towards Hiroshima's strong point. Because it didn't take itself to seriously, I was able to set aside the little parts of me that wanted to call B.S. throughout the story. After all, this is an alternative history, of sorts, and it proposes something that is not only outlandish, but appropriately nostalgic.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoy Morrow's off-beat humor and his method of twisting reality. This book is a noir-ish, fantasy-ish take on the good old armed forces oxymoron ... (you've probably already said it to yourself - if not, think MI). It also spoofs Japanese monster movies. Lizards have a prominent role.

If you click on "See all Editorial Reviews" above you can read the description of the story. This is a very short/quick read (there are only 170 numbered pages) and in his acknowledgments Morrow calls it a novella. It's too short for me to give it five stars, but it was enjoyable.

If you like satire and tongue-in-cheek humor, give this book a try.
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Format: Paperback
If you like all those monster magazines and McFarland books and about B-movies, Lugosi, Chaney, King Kong, and Godzilla, you will love James Morrow's Shambling Toward Hiroshima. Maybe not as deep as the ethical dilemmas in The Philosopher's Apprentice or as dramatic as the clash between reason and superstition in The Last Witchfinder, but Shambling is a giant petri dish of fun and still has its poignant moments.
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This is more of a 2 or 2.5 star book, but the concept was "just crazy enough to work", and it managed to find its voice and rubber suit for most of the book. The main narrative was hilarious and engaging.

It fell apart during the overarching narrative framing story, and the ending was a sad denouement. I did enjoy several bits of writing that poked satirical fun at Hollywood and giant monster movies, as well as a few bits that tweaked their noses, Three Stooges style, at the U.S. military.

The discussion and descriptions of Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors tacked on at the end felt out of place and didn't connect well to the rest of the story to me. It was jarring, although for all I know that was the author's intention. There really are no words for the horrors inflicted in those two attacks.
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If your a fan of the above you'll enjoy this book as I did. I will dispense with plot summaries as there are enough here already. Suffice to say it is a delightful take on an alternate military strategy for ending WW 2 ( only slightly more humane than the course taken). Told in a Sam Spade style narrative, Morrow's wit and use of language transcends what I almost dismissed as to silly a plot for my time-I'm glad I didn't.
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If you're a fan of Godzilla, and looking forward to the new movie, I think you would enjoy this book. Even if you're not a fan of that well known Japanese import...who doesn't love the idea of giant fire-breathing monsters? This is a fun alternate history set in the WWII era that I almost wish was real. Morrow is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. A sly commentary about war that will make you laugh and think "well, wouldn't they try this if they thought it would work?"
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