Eight – W. W. Mortensen (Review)

EDeep in the jungles of South America, an expedition searches for a lost city and a new source of potentially limitless power. But something is stirring in the ancient ruins – something ancient, dangerous, and hungry.

Rebecca Riley, an entomologist, joins the expedition at the request of her former partner, facing her deepest fears in search of his deepest desire. What was promised to be a journey of scientific discover quickly becomes a desperate struggle for survival.
Continue reading “Eight – W. W. Mortensen (Review)”

Three Reasons to Read Steve Alten’s “Meg” series

I’ve read a lot of books, and watched a lot of films, about monsters. In so far as “monster attacks group of people” is a genre, it’s one of my preferred genres. I have thrilled to tales of liopleurodons, Humboldt squid, sabre-tooth tigers and titanoboas. I have watched, due to the prominence of sharks as the antagonist, countless films with a two word title in which the second word is “shark” (or, to be fair, “sharks”). The first word of the title allows more variation, including “snow“, “swamp“, “Jurassic“, and “raging“. I’ve even had the privilege of enjoying a whole bunch of works which just jammed two words together to create the title, like Sharknado, Sharktopus, and Piranhaconda

I mention these works to establish that I know what I’m talking about here, rather than as recommendations. I’m not recommending them because, in all this time of monster books and films, a common element has come clear: most of these works are absolutely terrible. Sturgeon’s Revelation states that 90% of everything is awful, but I believe monster stories to be a special case; I think the percentage for this specific genre might be closer to 98%.

For some reason, authors seem to feel that they can get away with more poorly-written books than in other genres. This might be attributable to the fact that a higher proportion of monster books seem to be self-published than in other genres, so there’s no one to enforce editing and proofreading. I don’t think that’s entirely it, as there are many traditionally published monster books that are terrible, and several well-designed self-published ones. In general, it just seems that monster books are where authors dump all their plot holes and inconsistent characterisation – it’s not a genre that is taken that seriously, or regarded very highly.

Now, this doesn’t particularly bother me. I like monster stories enough that despite (and occasionally because of) their terribleness, I still enjoy them. I will struggle through countless clumsy coincidences and grammatical errors to read about a deranged businessman being devoured by ptero-wasps. However, I’m aware that not everyone is as forgiving of, or as engaged in, the genre as I am.

MEG1I thought I’d use this post, after trashing the genre as a whole, to recommend an author who not only writes monsters books, but does so well. One of the few authors who manages to write a coherent plot in coherent English that’s also about a shark killing people.

Steve Alten’s “Meg” series is one of the stand-outs of the monster genre. The books are based around the idea that Carcharodon Megalodon, an ancestor of today’s great white shark, survived into the modern era; when one of these antediluvian murder machines comes into contact with humans, it’s up to a tortured marine biologist to stop the carnage. Continue reading “Three Reasons to Read Steve Alten’s “Meg” series”

From the Deep – Michael Bray (Review)

From the Deep

Whales are beaching in unprecedented numbers, fleeing from something unknown. Carcasses with bite marks from a massive predator are washing up on shores. Fishermen and tourists are going missing, swallowed up without a trace.

At first, there are only rumours, unconfirmed sightings that suggest a creature no one has encountered before. Driven by different motivations, several different groups set out to find the monster while its appetite for destruction grows. Continue reading “From the Deep – Michael Bray (Review)”

Hotel Megalodon – Rick Chesler (Review)

Hotel MegalodonHotel Megalodon is one of the many books about Carcharadon Megalodon, a massive and extinct relative of today’s Great White Shark. It follows roughly the same plot as other megalodon books – a prehistoric monster causes havoc while characters learn that mankind’s dominance over nature is a fragile thing.

This books differentiating factor is the setting. Hotel Megalodon takes place in and around an experimental underwater hotel. On the day of the grand opening, celebrities and the super-rich arrive to enjoy the glories of the underwater restaurants and luxury suites.

But the construction of the hotel has awoken something in the depths of the ocean. Something angry and hungry. The hotel’s guests and staff find themselves trapped underwater by poor safety standards and a long-extinct apex predator.

Continue reading “Hotel Megalodon – Rick Chesler (Review)”

Hunger

I’m not a monster.

Not really. I don’t hide under your bed, grabbing at your foot as you run for the safety of the covers. I don’t crush cities with a scaled tail. I don’t lay eggs in your sternum.

I’m just hungry. All the time. Continue reading “Hunger”

Below – Ryan Lockwood (Review)

Below Ryan LockwoodOff the coast of California, people start going missing. A group of migrants fail to make their rendezvous; a girl is dragged into the water by something on the end of her fishing line. Divers go down, but don’t resurface.

Will Sturman, an alcoholic widowed diver, finds himself involved, joining the investigation into exactly what is happening and how to stop it. Working with a cop and a marine biologist, Sturman comes face to face with the terrors of the deep. Continue reading “Below – Ryan Lockwood (Review)”

Romanticore

O Manticore, Romanticore,
Most cruel in ev’ry part!
Yet though thou art a barb’rous beast
I give to thee my heart.

Your pelt is rough and tawny fur –
A dreadful knotted hide
Still ‘neath that harsh and bristled fleece.
I sense a softer side. Continue reading “Romanticore”