Medusa's Gaze and Vampire's Bite: The Science of Monsters
We all know “there’s no such thing as monsters,” but our imaginations tell us otherwise. From the mythical beasts of ancient Greece to the hormonal vampires of the Twilight saga, monsters have captivated us for millennia. Matt Kaplan, a noted science journalist and monster-myth enthusiast,... show more
We all know “there’s no such thing as monsters,” but our imaginations tell us otherwise. From the mythical beasts of ancient Greece to the hormonal vampires of the Twilight saga, monsters have captivated us for millennia. Matt Kaplan, a noted science journalist and monster-myth enthusiast, employs an entertaining mix of cutting-edge research and a love of lore to explore the history behind these fantastical fictions and our hardwired obsession with things that go bump in the night. Ranging across history, Medusa’s Gaze and Vampire’s Bite tackles the enduring questions that arise on the frontier between fantasy and reality. What caused ancient Minoans to create the tale of the Minotaur and its subterranean maze? Did dragons really exist? What inspired the creation of vampires and werewolves, and why are we so drawn to them? With the eye of a journalist and the voice of a storyteller, Kaplan takes readers to the forefront of science, where our favorite figures of horror may find real-life validation. Does the legendary Kraken, a squid of epic proportions, really roam the deep? Are we close to making Jurassic Park a reality by replicating a dinosaur from fossilized DNA? As our fears evolve, so do our monsters, and Medusa’s Gaze and Vampire’s Bite charts the rise of the ultimate beasts, humans themselves.
Publish date: 2012-10-23
Pages no: 256
Edition language: English
, Non Fiction
The theme and thesis of this volume is to illustrate the science background or mysteries that gave rise to various myths and legends from pre history to modern times. Kaplan starts very strongly, but I found the second half of this book to be slightly weaker and less interesting than the first. This...
I originally thought I would give this book 3 stars, but it got better as it went on. I think the author stretches a bit in his attempts to find a real world source for every aspect of every "monster," but he does a good job in looking at the fears that inspire them and also tracing them to their mo...
This was a fun, fast read and I certainly learned some new things about the history of monsters - particularly about zombie-makers in Haiti. I had no idea zombie legends could have a pretty solid basis in history and science (Zora Neale Hurston did though, apparently). A lot of the science and theor...
Casey recommends this: "It's called Medusa's Gaze and Vampire's Bite: The Science of Monsters, and it traces the scientific origins of monster myths (including Frankenstein!). Anyway, I haven't read it yet, but it's at the top of my TBR, since it sounds pretty awesome (also, I chatted with the autho...