Monster, 1959
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Monster, 1959

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3.05 of 5 stars 3.05  ·  rating details  ·  118 ratings  ·  33 reviews
The US Government has been testing the long-term effects of high-level radiation on a few select islands in the South Pacific. Their efforts have produced killer plants, mole people, and a 40 foot creature named K. Covered in fur and feathers, gifted with unusable butterfly wings and the mental capacity of a goldfish, K. is an evolutionary experiment gone very awry. Althou...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published January 6th 2009 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published February 19th 2008)
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Dan Duran
An interesting idea (basically king kong from the monster's point of view) bogged down significantly by the author's ham-fisted exertion of political essays in the narrative.
Eric
Imagine the story of King Kong told through the eyes of the big ape. Or how about if the Godzilla movies were seen from Gojira's perspective? And finally, what was the Creature from the Black Lagoon thinking when he spied Julie Adams doing sexy water aerobics in his pond? Do fish get boners? We'll never know because all these movies kept their monsters mute and enigmatic.

Here's a book that attempts to give voice to all those crazy monsters that emerged (mostly) from 1950s cinema. An amalgam of...more
MJ
It was a chore to finish this book. The author strains for a Vonnegutian tone of lighthearted cynicism, but falls very short. As a result, we are left with a pointless, humourless pastiche of King Kong, with occasional jarringly incongruent political asides.

Really, there ought to be a way to assign 0 stars.
Corey
Monster, 1959 has a fair amount of...excitement, and Maine expertly layers this with K.'s dawning sense of his self as a being rather than a collected series of impulses sheathed in animal muscle. K. never becomes fully cognisant and therefore a complete individual, but in places he gains what only can be described as insight: "Now what? K. wonders wordlessly, not recognizing this as a breakthrough: he has learned to expect things to happen."

Maine, however, wants to thrust his subtext forward to...more
Sarah
This was an interesting book. It's sort of like "King Kong" sort of from the ape's point of view. A monster (the result of radiation testing on an unknown island in the South Pacific) is one day drawn to the drums of the natives. This has happened before and each time, he's been greeted with a sacrifice (not that he eats them, but the natives don't know this). This time, things turn out slightly different. K. doesn't know it, but when he absconds with his sacrifice, he is followed by a group of...more
Matthew Krause
Forty feet tall, covered with fur and feathers, massive nonviable butterfly wings on its back, and dumb as a bag of hammers. This is the monster K., who lives on an isolated island in the South Pacific, the product of excess levels of radiation from numerous nuclear tests conducted by the United States government. K. exists to eat, sleep, and defecate, the only interruption in his mundane schedule occurring when the local natives play their drums, luring him to a massive wall where a woman is of...more
Sean
David Maine's three previous novels all concerned Biblical figures - Noah, Cain and Sampson. In each he humanised these characters by taking the reader inside their minds. Maine repeats this process with Monster 1959, but this time goes into the consciousness of a monster loosely based on King Kong or Godzilla. The only problem with this is that it's a monster with little intelligence, so we're privy to it constantly forgetting what it learns, not understanding anything, and falling victim to ev...more
Lori
I went to NYC on Feb 19th and got the chance of a lifetime... I sat and chatted with David Maine for an hour, one on one, discussing his past novels, writing quirks, and favorite authors/novels in the coffee shop of the Barnes and Nobles on Broadway and 82nd.

I began reading this novel that night, (as it had only just hit the shelves that day)... I couldnt drive home from the city fast enough!!

For those of you who may not be familiar with Maines work, (shame on you all)he has three previously p...more
Daniel
An interesting pastiche on "King Kong" and '50s monster movies is marred by anachronisms (having Sinatra singing "New York, New York" more than 25 years before the song was written; "Fiddler on the Roof" playing on Broadway six years before it opened). That might be forgiven as plain laziness by the writer, but the repeated inclusion of completely extraneous anti-Israel slurs (such as comparing them to Nazis) marks Maine as a writer with an agenda I do not wish to encounter again. Even referring...more
Braden A.
The ending to "Monster, 1959" was kind of...eh.

Maine ends it on this "flash forward" to 2059 and this tribal story that's just a repeat of a scene which occurred near the beginning of the book, in which Maine just makes a few very pedestrian "points" about story telling and its importance in culture and society.

I felt the ending of the book would have been much more affecting without that.

Maine's writing is so-so. He uses a lot of similes and metaphors that felt like quite a reach, and others th...more
Natalie
Oh I felt so sorry for K.
I wanted to just jump into the story and scream "Let him be! How dare you exploit such a harmless creature for your own selfish gain." But then i remembered that it's just a book and to get a hold of myself.
David Maine is SUCH a good writer, and he proves it once again with Monster, 1959. I love the way that this book turned into a huge history lesson in a section of every section. Maine weaves the history in seamlessly with the story.
I found myself not really caring ab...more
Lorraine
A very interesting new tale from David Maine! A departure from his previous Biblical storytelling -- or was it really?? -- this novel is told as if it were a script for a 50's monster movie. Although I didn't find the characters to be likable or sympathetic, they weren't supposed to be. In the manner of monster flicks, the story itself was the point. In a way, if you've seen one of those movies, this book holds few surprises as to story line. But the richness comes from getting inside the monste...more
Don Massi
This was a good book, I did enjoy it. If I could have given it 3 1/2 stars, I would have. As others have noted this is essentially a reinterpretation of the King Kong story. And it's that familiarity that kept me from giving this book four stars. What we get is a cool monster on a dangerous tropical island who fights dangerous enemies and is captured and brought to the modern world. But we get a monster that emotes, that has slowly emerging feelings and understanding. We also get to see the moti...more
Kate
Mar 06, 2008 Kate rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like to see national monuments destroyed
Shelves: adult
Honestly, I'm not sure whether I like this book or not. On one hand, I liked Maine's writing style. I liked the K., the monster (I've always had a soft spot for misunderstood monsters). I hated almost everyone else. It appears Maine did too, as practically no human main character is sympathetic, and the most sympathetic character (to me, at least) ends up caught in an "uncomfortable" position.

The plot is familiar: monster lives on island; monster captures girl; monster is hunted and captured by...more
Tim
Take King Kong, science fiction movies and popular culture from the 1950, then add in a healthy dose of sarcastic, biting humor and you have David Maine's "Monster, 1959." It could be construed as an allegory to the excess and avarice of the United States and our prevailing attitudes toward the rest of the world as we are represented as both a superpower and beacon of democracy. The most fascinating character in the book is K., the 40-foot hybrid monster creature that is taken from his island ho...more
Chris
I would have given this book 4 stars, but there was something about the last 1/5 of the book that slowed it down for me. The writing is good, not amazing, but solid. The story is old, worn out and pretty much dead, but wait! David Maine somehow pulls this off.

I think it may be in the tension he is able to create, the inevitability of it all that I enjoyed the most. This aspect of the writing reminds me of Stephen King. There are also hints of Vonnegut with a strong helping of pulp writing throw...more
Robert
While this book follows a King Kong like script it is actually different in many ways. This can actually be looked at as an examination of the times and the horrible ways in which mankind treats one another. All while telling a Kong like story. So with that in mind form your own opinions here. I cannot faithfully and wholeheartedly recommend this book. While it is an O.K book as it is a short read I just feel if I were to recommend it I may not be treating my fellow human race properly. Now I ha...more
Tony Calder
This book is, at its most basic level, the story of King Kong told from Kong's perspective. But it is more than that - the best science-fiction uses the setting to explore humanity, and in this book David Maine uses the giant monster setting to turn a critical eye on 1950s America. He has done his research, and paints an accurate picture, but I couldn't help feeling that the juxtaposition between adventure story and social commentary was somewhat jarring. Overall, a pleasant and enjoyable read,...more
Natelle
This book was not too bad. It was interesting even though completely unbelievable. I would have given it a higher ranking but most of the characters had tendencies toward inappropriate things with the author described in some detail. (Consider that my warning not to read it if you don't like reading about immoral acts.)
Jenn
I picked it up because I liked the cover and I thought it might be a tongue-in-cheek ode to B-movies. Which it is, sort of. It's a mix of history, pop culture (of the 1950s), B-movie references, radiation testing, and King Kong. I found it to be unusual and interesting and I enjoyed it.
Robert
I wanted to like this book, and by and large I did. I think this novel tries to be equal parts homage, parody and social commentary, and it's in that last capacity that it stumbles. This miscalculation weakens what is otherwise a very entertaining and original sendup of the monster movie genre.
Your Excellency
Ugh. Awful. Some good perspectives on life from a movie-monster's point of view, but other than that, no redeeming features. Fallen was one of my favorites, and this is a polar opposite!
Scott
I did not like this book. It's basically a re-hashing of King Kong. The author changed the monster and a few minor details, but that was it. I shouldn't have wasted my time with it.
Nathan
A novel premise is immediately sunk by Maine's bombastic and irritating prose. Hack writing delivered with badly affected style and weighed down by vague yet overbearing morality.
Sheri
A creative re-telling of the King Kong myth, with a little vegetarian Godzilla mixed in. The writing was delightful. For a pulp fiction read, this was totally worth it. Enjoy!
Deserie Sanders
This was a pretty cool book...kinda like King Kong just with a different monster, and more emphises on the monster himself (feelings, undertandings- or lack thereof.
Rob
Don't let the Narrator's politics get your undies in a bunch. This is the perfect literary homage to 50's Monster Movies. It's nothing short of brilliant.
Pt
Just plain bad. Truly proves that ANYONE can publish a book these days. I set it down and moved on after thirty pages. I can't waste my time on drivel!
Jeremiah Jones-goldstein
I didn't love this. I thought it was mostly pointless and the character development including the monster was weak. I would not recommend this book to anyone.
Gloss
Jan 10, 2009 Gloss marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-get
Deemed "immoral" and "inappropriate" by another GR user, so my interest is piqued.
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Q & A with Da...: Monster, 1959 1 4 Oct 14, 2011 10:35PM  
57843
I was born and raised in Connecticut but spent much of my adult life overseas, living in Morocco from 1995-98 and in Lahore, Pakistan from 1998-2008. Since 2008 I have been living and teaching in Honolulu. I began getting published in 2004, with The Preservationist, a retelling of the Noah story from Genesis. This was followed by Fallen, which reexamined the stories of Eve/Adam and Abel/Cain. In 2...more
More about David Maine...
The Preservationist Fallen The Book of Samson An Age of Madness The Gamble of the Godless

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