From Morrow (The Philosopher’s Apprentice, 2008, etc.), a sharp-edged, delightfully batty novella that denounces the atomic bombing of Japan during World War II.
In the summer of 1945, as Japan prepares to defend itself to the death, an unexpected delay halts the Manhattan Project. Fortunately, the U.S. Navy steps in with its top-secret Knickerbocker Project: gigantic, fire-breathing, mutant iguanas poised to wade ashore and devastate the Japanese homeland. But before the Navy iguanas are unleashed, what's needed is a demonstration to convince the Japanese to surrender and spare themselves, and the rest of the world, the horror. Step forward Hollywood B-movie star Syms Thorley, fresh from his triumphs as the Frankenstein's-monster-like Corpuscula and Kha-Ton-Ra, the living mummy. The Navy will pay Thorley to rubber-suit up as the merciless Gorgantis and convincingly devastate, in front of a Japanese delegation, a miniature Japanese metropolis. If Thorley can play the most terrifyingly persuasive role of his career, the suitably cowed delegates will induce the Japanese high command to surrender. If he fails, the real lizards will lurch out of the ocean, roaring, stamping and spouting flame.
Preposterous but somehow almost plausible, skillfully mingling real and imaginary characters with genuinely hilarious moments.