By Toby Tate
Large caliber weapons and prehistoric monsters have long been two of my favorite subjects. I guess that’s why I love reading (and writing) about them. While in high school I read Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, about a modern-day dinosaur-hunting expedition. Thunder lizards versus modern man and his machines? I was hooked. But the explorers didn’t just go in there to hunt dinosaurs―they were there to learn more about our world, and about themselves. I was just along for the ride.
Another of my favorite authors was Edgar Rice Burroughs, the father of the sci-fi thriller. He not only created Tarzan, but he also took us to Mars, where we encountered and fought scores of strange creatures. Then, he took us down to the center of the earth in a giant drilling machine where we found the Mahars of Pellucidar ― weird, bird-like things with telekinetic powers. They controlled the humans that lived there, but the men in their machines freed them and saved the day!
Ray Bradbury was famous for bringing modern man together with his ancient past. His short story “The Fog Horn” is a good example. A dinosaur falls in love with a lighthouse and comes ashore to woo its lover. The movie The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms was based on that story and is another example of high-tech vs. monster. At the end of the movie, the beast is shot with a radioactive isotope from a high-powered rifle.
One of my favorite thriller authors, James Rollins, has brought together unusual creatures and modern tech in many of his books. In Ice Hunt, scientists discover some unusual creatures trapped in the Arctic inside an abandoned Soviet polar station, where they are guarding a well-kept secret. Lots of high-tech gadgets and weapons are used. In his Sigma series, you’ll read about frightening technology that is most often used as a weapon against mankind.
Then there’s Godzilla, King of the Monsters. Godzilla was supposed to be nature’s answer to man’s hubris and presumption as masters of the world. He was here to bring us down a notch. So he kicked the crap out of Tokyo, lit half of it on fire with radioactive breath and we came at him with our very best weapons ― which were about as effective as cap guns. Mythology ― 1, technology ― 0. Godzilla 1985 ― same thing. Godzilla2000 ― ditto. Both American Godzilla remakes ― well, you get the picture.
In the movie Pacific Rim, Godzilla-sized monsters (called Kaiju) were sent by another planet to destroy Earth via an underwater wormhole. We fought them with Godzilla-sized robots. Because of their size, the robots took two or more people to operate―and they were brain-operated. Talk about high-tech! I loved watching the monsters and the robots duke it out, especially under water. But the thing about operating the robots was that the two people inside had to be compatible or it didn’t work. Our two heroes had to put aside their differences and work together. They eventually did, and they saved the world. It was definitely one of my favorite monster vs. technology movies.
Another movie I enjoyed was Cowboys Versus Aliens, which is pretty much exactly like it sounds. Hostile aliens with technology well beyond what we have even in the 21st century invade the earth and we are forced to fight with bows and arrows and Winchester rifles. We are outmatched until the hero (Daniel Craig) finds an alien weapon and tips the balance in our favor. But even with just one alien weapon at our disposal, the humans manage to save the world. So the lesson here is it’s not always about the technology ― it’s about the human spirit and our willingness to band together and fight oppression.
In my upcoming trilogy, I take readers into a world of mythology versus technology, pitting the CIA and military operatives, led by Gabrielle “Gabe” Lincoln, against a terrifying race of beings older than the earth itself. I think the stories hearken back to the adventures of Burroughs, but with the modern-day action and excitement you would expect from Rollins or Clive Cussler.
The first in the trilogy, The Lilitu, will be released September 8th. For info on me and my writing, find me on the web at www.tobytatestories.com or follow me on Facebook and Twitter.
Thanks to everyone at Permuted Press for this opportunity!