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Fearsome Creatures of Florida Paperback – May 29, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

Review

John Henry Flemings Fearsome Creatures of Florida is required reading for anyone who lives in Florida, has ever lived there, has relatives who live in Florida, ever went to Florida on vacation, has ever flown over Florida on route to somewhere else, has ever dreamed about Florida, ever even once had a fleeting thought about Florida, ever heard Deliuss Florida Suite, or ever read Charles Willeford or John D. MacDonald. Much ingenuity, much wit, much verbal magic -- this book is sheer pleasure. --Peter Straub, author of Ghost Story

About the Author

John Henry Fleming is also the author of The Legend of the Barefoot Mailman, a Florida novel. His short stories have appeared in many literary journals, including McSweeneys, The North American Review, Mississippi Review, and Fourteen Hills. He grew up in Atlantis, Florida, and lived in seven other states before returning in 2001 to teach creative writing at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 79 pages
  • Publisher: Pocol Press; 1st edition (May 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1929763409
  • ISBN-13: 978-1929763405
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #841,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By John Henry Fleming on September 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
Book Review: Fearsome Creatures of Florida
August 27, 2009 at 10:11 am by Shawn Alff

In Fearsome Creatures of Florida, Tampa author John Henry Fleming serves as taxonomist of Florida folklore, producing a wildlife handbook that could have been published by National Enquirer. This book breathes new life into real creatures and popular myths like the Skunk Ape and the Chupacabra. However, the beasts that stay with readers long after finishing the book are Fleming's creations, like the ghost of the monkeynaut, Gordo, trouncing along the Space Coast in his shiny suit.

From David Hazouri's sketched illustrations, I expected a Disney World version of swamp monsters. Instead I was confronted by Swiftian creatures that prey on the book's true monsters: humans. These unnamed locals and tourists are lazy drunks more concerned with stocking their liquor cabinets than evacuating from a hurricane.

The cataloged beasts are the Frankenstein monsters of modern culture. The Key Deer evolved into ruthless survivalists due to overdeveloped breeding grounds. Some animals were set loose from defunct tourist traps or pet cages, like the Glade's Python which has developed a taste for "big, slow-moving, sun-worshipers." The Mangrove Man eats land developers and the lone Were-Panther attacks complacent drivers exceeding 75 miles an hour down Alligator Alley. In the book's darkest piece, the Hanging Trees come to life. Having learned from the surprising number of lynchings in Florida between 1882 and 1930, these trees strangle unsuspecting victims then mail dismembered toes to the deads' families.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lynn S on December 26, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fearsome Creatures of Florida

"Fearsome Creatures of Florida" is a journey through a Florida the tourist industry would like to pretend doesn't exist. Author John Henry Fleming's effortless blend of cryptozoology and fiction is intriguing, thought-provoking - you may well find yourself more reluctant to tear your eyes away from and eventually forget about that darting shadow, dismiss that feeling of glowing eyes glued to your back - and genuinely eerie. A Mangrove Man taking its nourishment from human blood instead of saltwater? Were-panthers and a vampire mermaid of Weeki Wachi Springs?

Critters aside, the book calls attention to environmental issues, mainly the destruction of native habitat and the consequences for both the environment and society (a portion of the royalties going to nonprofit environmental groups).

Some cryptids you most likely have heard of - like the Skunk Ape and El Chupacabra. Others you may not, like storm devils, the St Vincent sambar and Okeechobee flatwhales. At 100 pages, it's a quick read but there's a lot of information there.

If you have even a passing interest in Florida, crytozoology or short, creepy fiction you owe it to yourself to get this book.
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Fearsome Creatures of Flordia by John Henry Fleming is a great addition to my collection of cryptozoology and paranormal books. I enjoyed the creatures, old and new; that Fleming had added in this book. The Skunk Ape, the "Glades Python" (python escapees), and the Chupacabra are probably the most recognizable creatures/cryptids in this book but, the new ones such as the Mangrove Man (personal favorite), the Okeechobee Flatwhales, and the Peat Fairies are creatures I've never even heard of. Strangely, Fleming used more of a "story telling" approach in order to introduce these creatures by creating a type of scenario which was weird but, effective. Though, the only one which I did not enjoy was the El Chupacabra; in which Fleming wrote the section as if he was asking the creature multiple (and obvious) questions (example: "But for what, Chupa? To sleep by the day and live in the dark? To leap from the bush with your kangaroo legs and ruin our livestock and pets? With two puncture holes you leave your mark, Chupa.") Other than that the book was a great read. I would recommend it to anyone whom lives in Florida or anyone whose interested in monsters, creatures, and animal escapees.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Katherine G. Riegel on April 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
It's too bad that one reviewer here couldn't see how this beautiful book of fiction supports what's presumably the reviewer's line of work--the search for the fantastic, the attempt to prove what we know is true in our deepest selves: that there is still mystery out there in the natural world, that nature is stranger and more complex than any of our attempts to describe and define it.

Fearsome Creatures of Florida is not a catalogue of the real, unreal, or yet-to-be proved. It asks readers to imagine not only the kinds of gruesome and weird creatures that might be out there, but how those creatures might react to the human incursion into their ancient territories. Simultaneously it points out that we can never "be one with nature" and that, to even try, we must embrace our darker selves. And it does so with satirical wit and sly insight.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By P. Tan on April 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
OK, I just moved to Florida, and I'm regretting it after reading Fearsome Creatures of Florida. A Skunk Ape? A Were-Panther? A Vampire mermaid? Yes, it is a book of fiction, yes, I realize fiction means "made-up," yes I am a person who easily scares, but that's the power of fiction, yes? I can't help but stare out the window and see El Chupacabra waiting to munch on my bones. I have the feeling that some of this is based on truth and because of that I'm putting a "For Sale" up in front of the house. Good read. Scary. Look twice when you are in the mangroves.
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