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Meg by Steve Alten
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Meg (original 1997; edition 2008)

by Steve Alten (Author)

Series: Meg (Book 1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8473518,226 (3.32)24
A prehistoric shark surfaces off California and proceeds to wreck havoc. Sixty feet long, it is a member of a species living in the ocean depths for the last 100,000 years. Jonas Taylor, a paleontologist and deep-sea submariner, tries to capture it for an aquarium.
Member:imlee
Title:Meg
Authors:Steve Alten (Author)
Info:Apelles Publishing (2008), 421 pages
Collections:Your library, Physical
Rating:**
Tags:fiction, lee-read

Work details

Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror by Steve Alten (1997)

  1. 70
    Jaws by Peter Benchley (jseger9000)
    jseger9000: Another novel of people battling a man-eating shark.
  2. 30
    Extinct by Charles Wilson (jseger9000)
    jseger9000: Another novel about a resurrected megalodon shark on a rampage.
  3. 20
    Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton (Hedgepeth)
  4. 00
    Raptor Red by Robert T. Bakker (wordcauldron)
None
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English (34)  Spanish (1)  All languages (35)
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
If you drew up a checklist of the necessary components of a B-movie creature-feature, then Meg would tick pretty much every box.

Imperfect hero haunted by his past? Check ☑
Beautiful heroine who loathes the hero with every fibre of her being right up to the point where she realises that she's never loved anyone more in her life? Check ☑
Outrageous monster that no-one except the hero believes exists until it starts eating everyone? Check ☑
Comedy deaths of unlikeable characters introduced two minutes earlier? Check ☑
The hero surviving a suicide mission to slay the beast? Check ☑

Heck, while reading the book I couldn't help but be reminded of that magnum opus of creature features: Shark Attack 3: Megalodon. Don't misunderstand me, I'm aware that Meg predates Shark Attack 3 by some five or six years, but the presence of a few set pieces common to both works led me to compare the two and wonder why I delight in watching the latter while reading the former was more of a trawl. And I think I figured out why.

B-movies tend to be fun because they fall into the "so-bad-they're-good" category. Shark Attack 3 transcends such humdrumness, being so sublimely terrible and ridiculous that it becomes a work of art. The actor's ad-libs are left in the finished film, the human antagonists are bad people and worse actors, there's pretty much only one repeatedly used shot of the Megalodon, which is patently a shot of a great white shark crudely blown up in size. And so when someone rides their jet ski into the shark's mouth you can forgive how silly it is and rejoice in the moment.

Meg's greatest failing is, ironically, that it's not quite bad enough. Steve Alten seems to be trying to play the book straight: with pages of dialogue given over to dry scientific discussion of a Megalodon's ampullae of Lorenzini; with relatively minor plot points discussed repeatedly so that the reader knows that some incongruous plot detail was a clever point and not an error; when the protagonist dons a pair of night-vision goggles we have to be told that they work by "improving light amplification by using a coating of gallium arsenide on the photocathode of the intensifier." I get it, Steve, you did your research, and it's impressive, but with all this straight-lacery around, a few pages later when a surfer douchebag surfs straight into the Megalodon's mouth it's somehow not as much fun as the aforementioned jet-ski incident.

There are some problems with the writing as well, with Steve Alten apparently going to the same writing school as [a:Matthew Reilly|83714|Matthew Reilly|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1309746050p2/83714.jpg]. Exclamations points abound. When someone who isn't expecting to be eaten by a sixty foot shark is unexpectedly eaten by a sixty foot shark I get that it's unexpected. I don't need an exclamation mark to tell me to be surprised. There's also a slew of those annoying line breaks mid-dramatic moment, sometimes two or three in a row, which I've never seen the point of. And my last gripe concerns a moment very early on. The first chapter starts strong, with a T-rex in the Jurassic age hunting a herd of Shantungosaurus. Seriously, if the whole book had been as awesome as a freaking T-rex hunting a pack of honest to goodness Shantungosaurus then it would've been a contender for three stars. But wait, there's more! The T-rex follows its quarry into the shallow coastal water only to get stuck in the loose sand. We're in four star territory now, ladies and gents. A hush descends as the hunter becomes the hunted and a shark the size of Texas shows up not for those pansy Shantungosaurus, but for the mother funking T-rex. A shark eating a T-rex is perhaps the greatest shark related thing ever, with the possible exception of a shark genetically spliced with an octopus, but that'd never happen. What could possibly ruin this moment of perfect literature? Only this: after thrusting us so thoroughly into the Jurassic age that I can almost hear the Procompsognathus chirp outside my window, that I half expect a Stegosaurus to walk through my front door, what simile does Steve Alten use to describe a Megalodon charging into a T-rex? It was, and I quote, "like a freight train striking a disabled SUV." Way to preserve the mood, Steve. ( )
  imlee | Jul 7, 2020 |
If you drew up a checklist of the necessary components of a B-movie creature-feature, then Meg would tick pretty much every box.

Imperfect hero haunted by his past? Check ☑
Beautiful heroine who loathes the hero with every fibre of her being right up to the point where she realises that she's never loved anyone more in her life? Check ☑
Outrageous monster that no-one except the hero believes exists until it starts eating everyone? Check ☑
Comedy deaths of unlikeable characters introduced two minutes earlier? Check ☑
The hero surviving a suicide mission to slay the beast? Check ☑

Heck, while reading the book I couldn't help but be reminded of that magnum opus of creature features: Shark Attack 3: Megalodon. Don't misunderstand me, I'm aware that Meg predates Shark Attack 3 by some five or six years, but the presence of a few set pieces common to both works led me to compare the two and wonder why I delight in watching the latter while reading the former was more of a trawl. And I think I figured out why.

B-movies tend to be fun because they fall into the "so-bad-they're-good" category. Shark Attack 3 transcends such humdrumness, being so sublimely terrible and ridiculous that it becomes a work of art. The actor's ad-libs are left in the finished film, the human antagonists are bad people and worse actors, there's pretty much only one repeatedly used shot of the Megalodon, which is patently a shot of a great white shark crudely blown up in size. And so when someone rides their jet ski into the shark's mouth you can forgive how silly it is and rejoice in the moment.

Meg's greatest failing is, ironically, that it's not quite bad enough. Steve Alten seems to be trying to play the book straight: with pages of dialogue given over to dry scientific discussion of a Megalodon's ampullae of Lorenzini; with relatively minor plot points discussed repeatedly so that the reader knows that some incongruous plot detail was a clever point and not an error; when the protagonist dons a pair of night-vision goggles we have to be told that they work by "improving light amplification by using a coating of gallium arsenide on the photocathode of the intensifier." I get it, Steve, you did your research, and it's impressive, but with all this straight-lacery around, a few pages later when a surfer douchebag surfs straight into the Megalodon's mouth it's somehow not as much fun as the aforementioned jet-ski incident.

There are some problems with the writing as well, with Steve Alten apparently going to the same writing school as [a:Matthew Reilly|83714|Matthew Reilly|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1309746050p2/83714.jpg]. Exclamations points abound. When someone who isn't expecting to be eaten by a sixty foot shark is unexpectedly eaten by a sixty foot shark I get that it's unexpected. I don't need an exclamation mark to tell me to be surprised. There's also a slew of those annoying line breaks mid-dramatic moment, sometimes two or three in a row, which I've never seen the point of. And my last gripe concerns a moment very early on. The first chapter starts strong, with a T-rex in the Jurassic age hunting a herd of Shantungosaurus. Seriously, if the whole book had been as awesome as a freaking T-rex hunting a pack of honest to goodness Shantungosaurus then it would've been a contender for three stars. But wait, there's more! The T-rex follows its quarry into the shallow coastal water only to get stuck in the loose sand. We're in four star territory now, ladies and gents. A hush descends as the hunter becomes the hunted and a shark the size of Texas shows up not for those pansy Shantungosaurus, but for the mother funking T-rex. A shark eating a T-rex is perhaps the greatest shark related thing ever, with the possible exception of a shark genetically spliced with an octopus, but that'd never happen. What could possibly ruin this moment of perfect literature? Only this: after thrusting us so thoroughly into the Jurassic age that I can almost hear the Procompsognathus chirp outside my window, that I half expect a Stegosaurus to walk through my front door, what simile does Steve Alten use to describe a Megalodon charging into a T-rex? It was, and I quote, "like a freight train striking a disabled SUV." Way to preserve the mood, Steve. ( )
1 vote leezeebee | Jul 6, 2020 |
A re-read after watching the movie. The book is far less campy than the movie and the science seems almost believable for sci-fi. A solid book ( )
  evil_cyclist | Mar 16, 2020 |
I'm a sucker for a good adventure/thriller novel and this was decent. Not amazing, but pretty much what I expected out of it. Pulse pounding terror, men fueled by revenge, a man who is redeemed (megalodons really are still alive!), the most savage predator on the planet, a bitter ex-wife, new romance, and lots of one liners. Long story short, for years, Jonas Taylor is ridiculed for believing that megalodons could still be alive, but is proved right after once comes up from the deep and starts terrorizing the world. Now his expertise is needed more than ever. Fun, fast paced, and easy to read, but not necessarily one that you'll keep coming back to. ( )
  ecataldi | Dec 4, 2019 |
A good monster yarn. ( )
  PhilOnTheHill | Sep 8, 2019 |
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From the moment the early morning fog had begun to lift, they sensed they were being watched.
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A prehistoric shark surfaces off California and proceeds to wreck havoc. Sixty feet long, it is a member of a species living in the ocean depths for the last 100,000 years. Jonas Taylor, a paleontologist and deep-sea submariner, tries to capture it for an aquarium.

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Many years ago, on a top-secret scientific exploratory dive into the Pacific Ocean's deepest canyon, Jonas Taylor found himself face-to-face with terror with an ancient monster to horrifying for his modern mind to contemplate. Hw was the sole survivor of the creature's wrath that day--left with the almost unimaginable belief that that attacker was a real Meg--the Carcharodon megalodon. All the experts sneered at the though of Meg, but she is indeed all too real. Now something has stirred her from the ocean depths. That ancient creature is rising, hurtling thoward the surface in a deadly fury, ready to churn the tides of terror.
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