Sunday, February 28, 2010

Murder Machine

Doubtlessly, you've been checking and re-checking the Hyper Kitchen (sweat pouring down your furrowed brow) in anticipation of February's installment of our internationally known Monster of the Month series. Well! Mop that perspiration away, dear reader, and feast your eyes on the mechanical monstrosity known as the Killdozer.

The Killdozer originally appeared in a 1944 novella written by Theodore Sturgeon, published in Astounding Science-Fiction Magazine. Sturgeon had been writing professionally since 1938, but suffered from a crippling bout of writer's block. Searching for ideas, he recalled his time as a construction worker and bulldozer operator in Puerto Rico and in a sudden burst of inspiration wrote the story Killdozer!. It proved to be quite profitable and was even adapted into a made-for-TV movie in 1974.

The Killdozer was once an ordinary piece of heavy machinery, used in constructing an airstrip on a remote pacific island during WWII. The small crew of workers unearth a strange temple and discover the existence of an ancient super-civilization that was all-but destroyed in a war with living machines. An energy form emerges from the temple and possesses the workers' bulldozer, and the resulting monster proceeds to slaughter those on the island. Only one of the workers survives, and after destroying the Killdozer, all evidence of the extraordinary events is forever erased by some Japanese bombers who demolish the landscape into rubble.

While Sturgeon would go on to write excellent works of science-fiction including To Marry Medusa and More than Human, Killdozer! is of comparable quality (if less high-brow). Sturgeon was was able to take a bizarre, nearly comical premise and turn it into an entertaining yarn with genuine suspense and action. The story is greatly recommended.

But don't take my word for it!
You can read about it in a book.


  1. Killdozer - monster of the month, or the newest energy drink?


  2. Yeah, I decided not to include anything about Heemeyer as his rampage wasn't inspired by the story and the Killdozer moniker was only applied to him much later.

    There's also a pretty bad band called Killdozer.

  3. I misread the title of this article as Mister Machine and I assumed I would be reading about everybody's favorite toy robot.

    It was a deadly mistake.