Pacific Rim: The Official Movie Novelization by Alex Irvine (book review).

Reading the novelisation of ‘Pacific Rim’, the first thing author Alex Irvine puts into perspective is where did the monsters or kaiju, as they call them, come from and why conventional weaponry was useless. The kaiju come through a rift in the Earth’s crust from another planet from time to time. Nukes were tried but left too much devastation so giant humanoid robots were built to match size for size and make it a slugfest. The pair of humans inside through technological means are linked by neural bridge and act as one to guide these robots into battle. They can be piloted singly but it can damage the pilot’s brain.


Set in 2016-2025, I’m not entirely sure that such technology would be capable within our own time frame although they do cost billions to make and there aren’t many made of each generation. I would have thought the Cube-Square Law would have made these giant robots a bit hard to move quickly, especially underwater where buoyancy wouldn’t have helped matters. Things are not helped when world governments withdraw their support and their boss, Marshall Stacker Pentecost, has to find private funding to keep them going. The various governments resort to giant walls to keep the kaiju out and even the long range forecast on these looks pretty grim. Earth is losing and many of mankind are seeing their own extinction.

Pentecost doesn’t have enough robots for one final plan to get into the rift where the kaiju are coming from and destroy it. He needs to use some of the older robots and people who have experience using them. With that in mind, he re-recruits Raleigh Becket, whose brother died when they had failed in a battle against a kaiju in a mark three robot, towards that goal. His compatibility with Pentecost’s own ward, Mako Mori, ultimately makes her his partner.

The discovery that the kaiju were organically created creatures and only the means to soften up the Earth before the proper invasion force determines Pentecost to bring forward his plan to nuke the rift and keep the monsters out forever.

In many respects, this is a somewhat basic plot, dressed up with people determined to rescue Mankind who see themselves at their own apocalypse as bystanders. Quite why the governments don’t get behind their own people, even at this late stage beats me. I certainly wouldn’t re-elect such people to office.

There are some puzzles in this story that still baffle me. The names of the robots seem totally random. Although I can appreciate the names might be derived from their serial identification, they hardly seem like they’d roll off your tongue as something to shout out as you’re cheering them on. Far too much of a mouthful. Irvine has various articles and media releases scattered throughout the book to remind the reader there is more to the world even if, for the most part, it doesn’t draw too much attention to the main story. The same applies to the kaiju, oddly a non-capped noun for some reason, and the names given to the beasties. The Slattern is named here but no explanation as to why, especially as each creature seems to be a one-off.

Undoubtedly, ‘Pacific Rim’ will appeal to an audience that likes big action robots against dangerous monsters and anything related to it will do well. It has blockbuster written all over it. The novelisation will probably give you more about the motivations of the various characters more than the film will in the space of two hours.

GF Willmetts

July 2013

(pub: Titan Books. 326 page paperback. Price: £ 7.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-78116-678-9)

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Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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