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Medusa's Gaze and Vampire's Bite

Medusa's Gaze and Vampire's Bite

The Science of Monsters

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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.
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  • Scribner | 
  • 256 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451667981 | 
  • October 2012
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Introduction

In the darkness it came. There was no way out. Cornered and helpless, all who found themselves in this dreaded place knew their fate. Relentlessly, the half-human, half-bull fiend found its quarry and tore them to pieces. Scrambling and searching for an exit was pointless. Even if any did miraculously find a way out, the natives of the island were against them. They would simply throw escapees back into the blackness of the depths. Whether their deaths were quick or drawn out remains a mystery, for in the labyrinth of legend on the island of Crete, none of those forced in were ever heard from again.

To those who feel... see more

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