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8 Must-Read Monster Books for Godzilla Fans 

Godzilla may be primarily a cinematic phenomenon, but that doesn’t mean that more literary-minded kaiju fans can’t find city-crushing action in these books.

This screenshot of the Godzilla Minus One trailer shows the kaiju roaring
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  • Photo Credit: GODZILLA OFFICIAL by TOHO / YouTube

Seventy years ago, one of the most iconic monsters of all time first stomped its way onto film screens in Godzilla (1954), directed by Ishiro Honda. Since then, Godzilla has become one of the biggest movie stars in history, having featured in nearly forty films in what the Guinness World Records identifies as the “longest continuously running film franchise” to date.

While Godzilla has predominantly been a movie icon, the giant monster (and its various pals and rivals) has appeared in a variety of other media as well, from video games to comic books, action figures to cartoons, and even a 1993 Nike commercial in which Godzilla goes toe-to-toe with Charles Barkley. Nor is Godzilla alone out there. The success of the early Godzilla films gave rise to a whole subgenre of movies featuring various kaiju—a Japanese word meaning “strange beast” that has become synonymous with these giant, city-crushing monsters.

Whether you’re coming to kaiju fandom from Godzilla x Kong or Godzilla Minus One or have been here the whole time, you may not want to limit your exposure to these awesome titans to just the big screen. Fortunately, we’ve assembled a few must-read monster books for Godzilla fans that will scratch that kaiju itch—big time.

Godzilla and Godzilla Raids Again

Godzilla and Godzilla Raids Again

By Shigeru Kayama

There’s no better place to start than where Godzilla itself started. Shigeru Kayama wrote the original treatments that became the first two Godzilla movies—1954’s Godzilla and its 1955 sequel Godzilla Raids Again—and first published them in novella form around the same time that Godzilla Raids Again hit theaters. Now, both volumes have been collected together and translated into English, so that Anglophone fans of the big G can read about where it all began in an exciting new translation that will bring the original Godzilla films to life in a new way.

Mayday: A Kaiju Thriller

Mayday: A Kaiju Thriller

By Chris Strange

If you think you’ve read every kind of murder mystery imaginable, try imagining this novel in which a detective attempts to unravel the enigma of who (or what) could have killed a giant and seemingly indestructible monster. Nineteen years ago, five giant behemoths known as Maydays showed up and nearly wiped humanity out. However, humans managed to prevail and turned the indestructible Maydays into gladiators who battle for our amusement. 

When one of these gigantic beasts winds up dead, however, it’s up to Jay Escobar to find out how and why—and the fate of the entire world might just hang in the balance in this unlikely detective story.

Footprints of Thunder

Footprints of Thunder

By James F. David

In a lot of ways, dinosaurs were the original kaiju, and Godzilla’s origins are often linked to these prehistoric creatures. So, it only makes sense that James F. David’s Footprints of Thunder should bring dinosaurs crashing into the modern age, as a mysterious natural phenomenon causes the past and present to bleed together and prehistoric monsters to start stalking the streets of modern cities. 

“Fasten your seat belts,” writes the San Francisco Examiner. “You’re in for a bumpy and scary ride when Jurassic Park enters The Twilight Zone.”

The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi

The Kaiju Preservation Society

By John Scalzi

John Scalzi is one of the most popular modern sci-fi writers, and in the Hugo-nominated The Kaiju Preservation Society, he turns his attention to one of sci-fi’s most enduring themes—namely, kaiju. It seems that kaiju really do exist, just not on our Earth. Instead, they stalk a warm and human-free planet in a parallel universe. 

However, like any other endangered species, they have their problems, and there are humans who are trying to help… and other humans who want to exploit this situation, with potentially disastrous results in this “wildly inventive take on the kaiju theme” (Booklist).

Necessary Evil

Necessary Evil

By Ian Tregillis

One kaiju-like creature that makes its home mostly in the pages of books rather than on movie screens is Lovecraft’s Cthulhu—a creature whose awakening usually spells the doom of humanity. But what happens after that? In Ian Tegellis’ novel Necessary Evil, such an end has already come for the world that Raybould Marsh hails from. 

Lovecraftian beings from beyond space have come and all-but wiped humanity off the face of the Earth. Now he is trying to stop it from ever having happened by going back in time to World War II and preventing the Nazi experiments that drew their attention in the first place in this rip-roaring novel from the writer that George R.R. Martin called “a major talent.”

Shambling Towards Hiroshima

Shambling Towards Hiroshima

By James Morrow

Winner of the Sturgeon Award and nominated for the both the Hugo and Nebula Awards, James K. Morrow’s Shambling Towards Hiroshima posits an alternative history of World War II, one in which a B-movie star renowned for playing monsters is called upon to give his most convincing performance, one in which he’ll be zipped into a rubber suit to play Gorgantis, a fire-breathing monster out to crush Tokyo. 

If his portrayal is good enough, it will convince the Japanese forces to surrender and the Allied armies won’t release their secret weapon—a genetically engineered army of giant, fire-breathing iguanas that will do in fact what Gorgantis only does on the big screen.



By Elle Katharine White

Dragons are essentially kaiju that sail mainly above the sprawling worlds of fantasy novels, and since the days when Tolkien’s Bilbo Baggins first went up against the dragon Smaug, they have often spelled trouble. Such is the case in Elle Katherine White’s second novel, where dragons are both friend and foe. 

According to the B&N Sci-fi & Fantasy Blog, “White’s 2017 debut, Heartstone, fused epic fantasy with the manners of Jane Austen so perfectly, she basically created a whole new sub-genre. The sequel picks up the charm offensive where the first book left off.”

The cover of Kaiju Survival Guide shows a monster in black, set against a red circle on a white background

The Kaiju Survival Guide

By Wes Parker

Think of this as something a bit like Max Brooks’ The Zombie Survival Guide but for giant monsters instead of the walking dead. Structured and presented like a nonfiction book, The Kaiju Survival Guide gives everything from firsthand accounts of encounters with the creatures—often modeled on familiar kaiju movies—to classification systems, basic biology, and the tools and weapons that humanity has to stand against such titanic enemies (including giant robots). 

The result will be particularly appealing for fans of Guillermo del Toro’s 2013 kaiju opus Pacific Rim, but there’s something here for just about any kaiju fanatic to enjoy.

Featured image: GODZILLA OFFICIAL by TOHO / YouTube