Tag Archive: megalodon


extinctExtinct by Charles Wilson

Published May 15th, 1997 by St. Martin’s.

Buy this book at: B&N / Amazon / Books a Million / Book Depository

 

Synopsis:

From the Gulf of Mexico’s warm shallow waters…to the deepest parts of the Pacific…terror comes to the surface…

Six-year-old Paul Haines watches as two older boys dive into a coastal river…and don’t come up. His mother, Carolyn, a charter boat captain on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, finds herself embroiled in the tragedy to an extent she could never have imagined.

Carolyn joins the marine biologist Alan Freeman in the hunt for a creature that is terrorizing the waters along the Gulf Coast. But neither of them could have envisioned exactly what kind of danger they are facing.

Yet one man, Admiral Vandiver, does know what this creature is, and how it has come into the shallows. And his secret obsession with it will force him, as well as Paul, Carolyn and Alan, into a race against time…and a race toward death.

 

Rating: 1 star

 

Review:

This book was a serious letdown. I was told that it was different from other books in the “giant shark killing people” genre. But it’s not. It is exactly the same as every other book on the subject out there, but with even more confusion and irritation.

Let me start off with a bit of a rant. I NEVER EVER EEEEVVVVVEEERR want to see any of the following in a monster megalodon shark killing people book/movie again:

 

1. A story about the megamouth shark or coelacanth. Anybody who has ever read a single one of these stories knows those stories already! We already know about how the coelcanth was thought extinct for millions of years until one was caught in 1938. I could recite the story for you word for word with the amount of times I’ve heard it in these books. And we already know that the megamouth shark wasn’t even known to exist until 1976, and so the existence of one giant shark without anyone knowing means it’s possible for the megalodon too. I KNOW THESE THINGS, STOP TELLING ME!

2. Also, can we please stop telling the story of the shark attacks on the Jersey shore in 1916. First, I know the story like the back of my hand. But also, can we please stop saying that it was a great white shark that was responsible. Some of the attacks took place in a river. The only shark known to mankind who can survive in rivers is the bull shark. The attack pattern fits a bull shark. Most scientists have been split more than 20 years ago that it was not a white shark but a bull shark, even though officially the attacks are still recorded as white shark attacks. But seriously, stop it already.

3. I realize the the Marianas Trench is a fabulous place to say that a 100 foot long shark has been hiding for millions of years, and that’s a find theory. However, then the shark comes back to shallow water and hasn’t evolved in the last however many years to reflect their new environment? They still have exactly the same coloring as a great white, which is a shallow water predator. But I have a feeling that over many millions of years spent in deep trenches with no light, these predators would have changed and evolved their coloring and hunting patterns. Why would they still need to be able to use their eyes for sight? Living in the Marianas Trench they would have no need for sight. Why would they still have dual coloring, they don’t need to disguise themselves from prey because there is no light for their prey to see them.

4. Please please please stop giving killer sharks families that they go on revenge sprees for! Sharks do not have families. Sharks do not have mates. Sharks do not care for their babies. They get pregnant (often violently) and then they give birth and the babies are on their own. Expecting me to believe that a whole family of sharks is out there and getting revenge when one of them is killed is so laughable. Two second on Google would tell you that it was stupid and ludicrous.

 

Alright, now that I’ve had my little rant, lets move on to the flaws in the writing of this book:

 

1. I did not know until 200 pages into this crappy book that it actually was taking place in different places, Florida and Mississippi. That is not the mark of a good author. I thought they were in Florida and all of a sudden someone mentions Mississippi and I had no idea where that came from.

2. I have the ability to suspend my disbelief a great deal, but I couldn’t with this. There was two 25-foot megalodons, one 50 foot megalodon, and two 200-foot megalodons….but they only manage to eat about 10 people total. What the fuck is up with that? And why are these mega-predators eating scrawny bony little humans when there are whales and seals to be had? And if these sharks had so much food to eat in the depths, why come to the surface at all? Again, no logical sense made.

3. Switching between different character POVs literally every 4 paragraphs is not an effective way to tell a story. All it did was confuse me. It took me almost the whole book to figure out who all the characters were because I never spent more than a page with any of them. Boring, and annoying.

 

If I want a giant killer shark book that is at least funny in its stupidity I’ll go back to the MEG series, because this sucked.

 

Review: Meg by Steve Alten

meg Meg by Steve Alten

Published June 2nd 1997 by DoubleDay

Buy this book at B&N / Amazon / Book Depository

 

Synopsis:

On a top-secret dive into the Pacific Ocean’s deepest canyon, Jonas Taylor found himself face-to-face with the largest and most ferocious predator in the history of the animal kingdom. The sole survivor of the mission, Taylor is haunted by what he’s sure he saw but still can’t prove exists – Carcharodon megalodon, the massive mother of the great white shark. The average prehistoric Meg weighs in at twenty tons and could tear apart a Tyrannosaurus rex in seconds. Taylor spends years theorizing, lecturing, and writing about the possibility that Meg still feeds at the deepest levels of the sea. But it takes an old friend in need to get him to return to the water, and a hotshot female submarine pilot to dare him back into a high-tech miniature sub. Diving deeper than he ever has before, Taylor will face terror like he’s never imagined. MEG is about to surface. When she does, nothing and no one is going to be safe, and Jonas must face his greatest fear once again.

 

Rating: 4 star

 

Review:

God how I loved this book, I loved it like a fat kid loves ice cream. We have all seen a horror movie that we thought “Oh man, this is just so awful! I love it!” That’s what this book was for me, a made for tv horror movie. But that’s also what made me hesitate to give it four stars. Based on the technical merits of the writing it would probably be a three, based on the story alone maybe a two, but based on how much I absolutely adored it a five would be appropriate. So in the end a 3.5 to 4 seems most fair.

Let’s get a few things straight about this book right up front. The writing is not very inventive or clever. I counted at least 3 times that the word “entrails” was used in every single scene where the shark eats something or someone. It was a bit repetitive and not very thrilling. The plot is also highly outlandish. You might just have to turn off your disbelief switch because I don’t think just suspending it will do the trick.

Though the plot was out there, I also thought it was awesome for that exact reason. More than once I just sat there with the book in my lap laughing so hard that I couldn’t see straight as the book slowly slid its way to the floor unnoticed. I couldn’t put it down because I wanted to see what outrageous thing would happen next. It was fabulous! And the ending…oh my God the ending! Give me a minute, the giggles came back. *deep breath* Okay, I’m good now. The ending was quite possibly the silliest and most amazing thing I have ever read. I cannot even fathom how such an ending came into being. I refuse to say anything else about it because it would ruin the amazingness.

Now let’s ponder for a moment on Mr. Alten’s  theory of how the Megalodon survived the mass extinction of the dinosaurs. The book proposes that the Meg’s prey were driven to the depths of the ocean by the Ice Age and given that they are warm blooded the Meg followed and then stayed there because that’s were the prey was. And by the time they had any need or desire to return to the surface they were trapped by the colder water temperatures and so have stayed in the depths for millions of years. It’s an interesting theory but it ignores several key facts about the closest living relative of the Megalodon, the Great White shark. The White is also warm blooded, and it prefers colder waters. The White is most concentrated in areas such as northern California, off the coast of Massachusetts, the southern tip of Africa. Yes they can and do inhabit warmer waters as well, but the colder water is seemingly preferred. Since the Megalodon is considered a cousin to the White shark, why would that species be much different? There is no logical reason that the Meg would have been “trapped” by the cold layer of water between the depths and the surface. It made for an interesting theory for a book, but doesn’t make much logical sense. *blush* I’m sorry, is my nerd showing?

ENTRAILS!  Now that you’re all distracted let’s move on to characters. They were all typical of this kind of horror book, nothing new or earthshattering. I did think the love interest seemed really forced. I mean, it wasn’t necessary so why not just leave it out? Instead I was caught feeling…wait a second they were wishing death on each other not two chapters ago and now they’re planning a romantic trip for when they survive this? That was kind of weird.

This book had a nice set up for a sequel, which I do intend on reading. I recommend this book if you want to read a book that is as silly as it is tropey, but still completely awesome. I know I loved it.

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Once again this August I sat down to set my DVR to record Shark Week. This has been a tradition for me for most of my life. I have been watching Shark Week every year for the past 17 years. Back in those days I was just 11 years old and had to call my dad and remind him to set the VCR to record every night. Oh and I did call every night! I remember sitting down to watch hour long shows about exactly how the science of a shark’s electroreception worked. I remember a show that focused on different internal organs that are unique to sharks as they performed an necropsy on a shark that had died in a shark net. I remembered watching gorgeous programs about blue sharks, white sharks, tiger sharks, sandtiger sharks, even the nurse shark. All of them were visually stunning and educational to boot. It inspired in me a burning desire to know more. For years I ravenously watched every shark program I could find and I scoured my local bookstore for the latest shark related science book. Every year I anxiously anticipated what new and amazing thing Discovery Channel would delight me with that year. I found myself over the years answering questions posed by the show before the experts could or even arguing with the experts on television on why I believed their conclusion to be flawed.

But the past 4 or 5 years, Shark Week just hasn’t been the same. Oh there’s still the obligatory conservation commercials about protecting sharks but everything else is sensationalism, sensationalism, and more sensationalism. It dismays me. the last 2 years I have resorted to recording everything on Nat Geo Wild’s Shark Fest instead because while the programs may all be reruns at least it’s something that isn’t just cotton candy for my brain. I can find no excuse for what I see on my DVR this year Discovery Channel, and it’s insulting to my intelligence.

– Megalodon: Similary to DC’s “mockumentary” about mermaids last year on Animal Planet this was embarrassing. They attempted, poorly, to pass this off as an actual truthful program and it was laughable. First, their “scientist” Collin Drake doesn’t exist. I scoured the interwebs for him and there is no One Tree Hill look alike scientist with that name anywhere. The closest I got was a software engineer on Facebook. Similarly the female scientist that tags the supposed “megalodon” also doesn’t exist anywhere on the internet except in relation to this program. They talk about a fishing vessel of Americans that went down in South Africa under mysterious circumstances and no bodies or survivors were recovered. Strangely, no such news report exists. Gee, I would think that might be newsworthy, wouldn’t you? Then they show photos of a whale carcass with its tail bitten of in a clear shark bite, those photos don’t exist online either. The only real scientist I could connect to this program was Mike Bhana. Add to this the lightning fast disclaimer at the end “no entities or organizations named in this program endorse its contents. Some portions of this program have been dramatized.”  Aka, it was all bullshit.

– Shark After Dark Live: Seriously?  SERIOUSLY?! You have some drunk, shirtless redneck loser with moonshine on there talking about his show and sharks. You have a host who is completely toasted and a moron to boot. Then a cutely dressed girly announcing all the latest and greatest social media activity who is so drunk I worried that she might fall right off her stool. Plus you have the only real expert from the Megalodon program, Mike Bhana, who says without 30 seconds of the show open…megalodon is not real, period end of sentence. I can’t stop laughing now, I think I actually felt my brain shrink a little during that hour.

Air Jaws Part 429: So we seriously need another edition of this garbage? It was interesting the first time but it’s just old news now. Nothing interesting here, move on.

To move further along the sensationalism road, this week we have Return of Jaws, Voodoo Shark, I Escaped Jaws, Spawn of Jaws, Great White Serial Killer, and Sharkpocalypse. My God, am I watching SyFy and their next big idea after Sharknado?!

If Discovery Channel was even the least bit interested in education and conservation of sharks why not do a documentary on shark finning, that is killing hundreds of millions of sharks per year?  Why not a program about how shark nets are negatively impacting dozens of marine species for the illusion of safety? Why not send out an expedition to try and find Great White’s birthing grounds? Why not do a program about the real liklihoods of attack and how to avoid one?

I am just about at the end of my patience with Discovery Channel. I think their head is so far wedged up their collective ass that they’ll never recover. RIP Shark Week, I guess it’s reruns of Shark Fest for me next year.