Medusa's Gaze and Vampire's Bite by Matt Kaplan
The Science of Monsters

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Mr. Kaplan writes with a jaunty style and often strains to connect mythic monsters to scary figures in modern popular culture...
-WSJ online

Synopsis

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.
 

About Matt Kaplan

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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.
 
Published October 23, 2012 by Scribner. 258 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Science & Math. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Medusa's Gaze and Vampire's Bite
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

WSJ online

Below average
Reviewed by James Romm on Oct 30 2012

Mr. Kaplan writes with a jaunty style and often strains to connect mythic monsters to scary figures in modern popular culture...

Read Full Review of Medusa's Gaze and Vampire's B... | See more reviews from WSJ online

NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Norman Powers on Oct 23 2012

Mr. Kaplan writes in the concise, clearly organized style of the experienced journalist that he is, and keeps the casual reader engaged in the way a particularly lively museum guide would on a tour of the oddities stashed in the basement.

Read Full Review of Medusa's Gaze and Vampire's B... | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

Reader Rating for Medusa's Gaze and Vampire's Bite
77%

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