my tenure as a Toho Kingdom staff member, I have
read and reviewed some truly, truly wretched books.
From the ubiquitous errors in Giant
Monster Movies to the utterly inane memoirs
in Godzilla Rabbit,
from the belly-groaning dumb humor of Godzilla
Discovers America to the hippy-inspired
anti-consumerism message-novel Godzilla
Meets Master Charge, I have boldly gone
where no Godzilla reviewer has gone before in order
to enlighten and entertain G-fans worldwide about
the obscurest, stupidest G-books on the market.
I and my wallet have suffered greatly for the greater
good of Godzilla kind.
But never, never did I read anything so uncompromisingly,
brain-liquefyingly, hair-tearingly AWFUL as Godzilla
is in Purgatory. I almost hesitate to write
a review for Toho Kingdom, because such a move will
doubtlessly call more attention to a piece of writing
that can only charitably be called a “book.”
I’m not even sure whether to categorize this
thing as fiction or non-fiction, though clearly
the “author” (a loose definition to
be sure), David J. Smith, wishes his audience to
take his essays seriously. That is, we are supposed
to accept this mostly as non-fiction, with a brief
diversion into the genre of “riddle poetry”
with The Promise of a Gift for All Humanity.
Smith wrote the poem in this particular way in order
to, I quote, “be more fun and believable.”
Unfortunately, Smith doesn’t seem to even
understand what a riddle poem is (think of the riddles
exchanged between Bilbo and Gollum in The Hobbit
as one particularly popular example), and instead
writes a five-page-long incoherent mess with lines
“Bravery gets the greatest respect, even
Godzilla in purgatory has taken rest
His senses are for bravery, like the men and woman
of the U.S. Navy
Godzilla is the true and noble king of purgatory,
wow, what a truly amazing story
Godzilla’s healing is terrifyingly harsh with
But it breaks up the bullworks of sinbearers”
Apparently, in Smith’s world, words like
“respect” and “rest” rhyme,
and there is only one woman in the U.S. Navy. I
am sure that the thousands of ladies in the naval
services today are terribly insulted. Oh, and yes,
I noticed that bulwarks was misspelled, but I must
admit, the “bullworks” spelling is a
lot more entertaining, conjuring up images of bovine
artwork shattered by a stern Roman-Catholic Godzilla
in the afterlife.
The scatterbrained pain of the book is not limited
to the poetry. The first story/essay/gibberish is
the eponymous Godzilla is in Purgatory, and
starts out as a sort of quirky narrative wherein
the narrator is accosted by a group of teenage girls
who cry out that Godzilla is coming. Our hero calmly
explains that “If it’s Godzilla, then
all you need to do is get behind him and stay behind
him because he never goes out the same way he comes
in unless the birds happen to come and turn him
around.” Perhaps this is a cockeyed reference
to how Godzilla was led into a volcano via bird
sounds in The
Return of Godzilla (1984)? Whatever the
case, the narrator soon abandons the narrative entirely,
never to be picked up again, and fills the rest
of the “story” with several chapters
of astounding nonsense like “I heard a Baptist
preacher say twelve is twelve because twelve means
a lot” and “We know one organ in our
bodies produces love, and that’s the liver.
I do not know how they know, but I would like to
know because that’s some kind of energy.”
The entire book is composed of this sort of excruciating
blather. After a few essays, it began to just wash
over me, the words barely registering as I just
tried to speed through, rushing, wishing, pleading
for the atrocity to be over. Smith writes about
abortion, about politics, the holiness of God, even
about what a bad man Brett Favre is for not sharing
(?), and the whole lot of it is composed of this
same doddering vomit-prose. Disturbingly, Smith
seems to really believe that a literal, very real
Godzilla reigns over the Catholic purgatory, mentioning
him in this role in essays throughout the book.
Most horrifying of all, towards the end when Smith
starts recounting his dreams of angels possessing
technology from AD 3000, I began to zone out, and
the bizarre writing almost began to make sense to
my increasingly fevered brain.
Of course, halfway into the book, Smith reveals
something that does rather make sense of his writing.
In discussing abortion and other woes within an
article called “Political Nuts,” Smith
solves all of the nations problems in one fell swoop:
“Simply legalize cannabis and put a very heavy
future of American tax on it, and not only can we
save the babies and ladies, we can pay all our other
bills too.” Good to know, Smith, good to know.
All our trillions of dollars of debt in America
can be dealt with if only we’d legalize marijuana.
I’m pretty sure cannabis helped Smith write
this book, too.
Godzilla is in Purgatory is the worst book
I have ever read, bar none. All of the essays show
very little in the way of ordered or coherent thought.
The entire book is just a painful, awful mess, available
on Amazon through the self-publishing company Xlibris.
Godzilla may be in purgatory, but reading this book
is like a literary hell.