So I had to read this book for my Science Fiction Class even though this book is not really science fiction. It does possess science fiction elements in the form of giant lizard creatures (think Godzilla) and the idea of letting them lose on Japan to bring the Second World War to a firey, lizard-ocalypse. As you can guess, this book is a fun ride.
In Shambling Towards Hiroshima, we are introduced to Syms Thorley a B Movie Creature Feature Actor, who has played every monster under the sun (expect vampires, those are against his principle). Thorley is approached by the Navy to serve his country in the only way he can, by wearing a giant rubber dinosaur suit and destroying a model of a Japanese City. The fate of World War Two is in his short stubby rubber hands, and thousands of lives depend on him giving the performance of his life.
Thorley is a fun smart talking guy with a wicked sense of humour. You can’t help but like him. He interacts with a few characters, but they’re all pretty much stereotypes (Hollywood directors and actors, scientists, US Navy officials, nothing too deep). But this is a satire, the focus isn’t on the characters per say, but on the message the author is trying to get across.
The premise of this book is kind of silly. But I kid you not, it works really well. Shambling is both a WWII satire and a love letter to the B-Movie and Horror Movie Scene. Even if you’re not one to appriciate WWII narratives, if you have any love for the cinema, this book is definatly something you should check it out. The subject matter that this novel explores is a dark one, but it manages to do it in a lighthearted fun manner that somehow is though provoking at the same time. There is a rather intensive shift in the tone in the last twenty pages. I can’t get much into that without spoiling the book. But it works and fits with the flow of the story.
So I highly suggest you check this one out. It’s a pretty quick read and gives you a lot to think about and some awesome one liners you’re going to want to quote in your next conversation.
Shambling Towards Hiroshima is written by James Morrow