Medusa's Gaze and Vampire's Bite

Medusa's Gaze and Vampire's Bite

The Science of Monsters

Book - 2012
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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 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.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, c2012.
ISBN: 9781451667981
Branch Call Number: 001.944 Kapl
Characteristics: 244 p. ; 23 cm.


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ArapahoeElia Jul 10, 2019

A fun quick read that seems to tell the tale about human fears more than actual monsters. Everything from fossils, natural disasters, diseases, and animal predators loses its edge as we understand our world better. I wonder what our monsters will become next...

tuesdayswithlori Jul 22, 2013

This book would be a very good reference for someone teaching a class on the integration of myth and films (and novels) in the sci-fi genre. It has one chapter on Frankenstein and the issue of various myths in which man has created a living being from either dead material or through the science of atoms/DNA... It does not present anything new on the critique of the novel, but it does compare it to variuos modern films and explain a bit of the science contemporary to the publishing of the novel. It also contrasts it with the knowledge that we currently have with science and technology. This would be useful to students as they are most interested in what relates to their world. One section deals with sexuality that may require the audience of mid high-school and on. However, that section could be ignored. There is a section on being born bad which is most prevalent to moral interpretations of the novel that teachers may find more useful. Science teachers should use this chapter, as it would be a great link between science and literature.


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