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Medusa's Gaze and Vampire's Bite: The Science of Monstersby Matt Kaplan
Synopses & Reviews
This eye-opening tour through history’s legendary monsters and the science and culture that spawned them, provides new insight into the creatures that have terrified us for centuries.
We all know “there’s no such thing as monsters,” but our imaginations may hold a different opinion. Matt Kaplan, a noted science journalist and enthusiast of both the hard facts of science and the fantastic fictions of myth, employs an entertaining mix of cutting-edge research and a love of lore to explain why monsters have held us in such thrall for millennia.
Ranging across history, Medusa’s Gaze and Vampire’s Bite tackles the questions that arise on the frontier between reality and fantasy. What caused ancient Minoans to create the tale of the Minotaur that was imprisoned in a subterranean maze? Did dragons really exist? What inspired the creation of vampires and werewolves, and why have they endured as figures of horror? Kaplan also brings readers to the forefront of scientific discoveries that potentially verify some of the monsters we have always taken for granted. Does the legendary Kraken, a squid of epic proportions, really roam the deep? Are we close to actually replicating a dinosaur from DNA taken from fossilized amber as Jurassic Park postulates? As society’s fears have changed, monsters have evolved, and the author charts the rise of a new beast, humans.
We all know “theres 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, Medusas Gaze and Vampires 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 Medusas Gaze and Vampires Bite charts the rise of the ultimate beasts, humans themselves.
About the Author
Matt Kaplan is a science journalist, regularly contributing to National Geographic, New Scientist, Nature, and The Economist. His writing has also appeared in The New York Times. When not chained to a desk, Kaplan travels the wilds of the world as part of a London expedition team. He lives in London.
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