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Steve Alten
Doubleday Books, 278 pages

A review by Neil Walsh

"MEG, A Novel of Deep Terror" will never be classified as a deep novel of terror, but it is a fun read, particularly if you're a fan of the monster horror/thriller genre. Lots of bad guys get eaten and only a few of the good guys.

It's not difficult to see why Alten earned a couple of million selling the rights to MEG. Disney is already planning the movie version, possibly as early as next summer. It's Alten's first book, and it reads like he had a Hollywood blockbuster in mind the whole time. Is this a bad thing? Well it's not so good if you're looking for high art, but if that's what you're looking for in a monster horror/thriller, go fish.

The back of the dust jacket sports a clever summation from the LA Times: "Two Words: Jurassic Shark." There aren't too many books that can be effectively summarized in two words, but this is one of those rare instances. I'm half inclined to say wait for the movie, but I confess I found the book to be fairly gripping. And if you don't read it, you won't quite catch all the subtleties of the monster's motivations. You almost never get that in the movies.

Oh, the plot? Very simple, really: The monstrous 60-foot ancestor of the Great White Shark has survived in a unique environment in the deepest rift in the Pacific Ocean, heated by hydrothermal vents, but isolated from the rest of the oceanic world by a six-mile layer of near freezing water, until humans accidentally provide an escape route.

Bet you can guess the rest.

Copyright © 1997 by Neil Walsh

Neil Walsh is the Reviews Editor for the SF Site. He lives in contentment, surrounded by books, in Ottawa, Canada.

Steve Alten Related Links
Steve Alten holds a master's degree in sports medicine and has a Ph.D. from Temple University. An avid amateur oceanographer, Alten has been studying Megalodons for over ten years. He lives with his wife and three children in South Florida.

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