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Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror Paperback – June 1, 1998

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Carcharodon megalodon, prehistoric ancestors of the shark, survive in the abyss, trapped in place by seven miles of frigid ocean water. Paleontologist Jonas Taylor, helping a friend recover scientific sensing units that have been mysteriously damaged in the ocean trench, watches helplessly as the "Meg" that destroys his friend's capsule is then ripped to shreds by its mate?who then migrates to the surface. The female Meg is pregnant and hungry and far too large to be contained. This first novel offers nonstop excitement, as Taylor and other scientists try to corral the beast, while idiotic tourists and news crews flock to the scene to watch. Only Taylor understands the size, power, and ferocity of the Meg. Meg is slated to become a Disney movie, and there should be immense demand. Buy multiple copies.
-?Marylaine Block, St. Ambrose Univ. Lib., Davenport, Ia.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Who would believe the old ploy can still hook 'em? Doubleday, that's who. Twenty-two years ago, the house published Peter Benchley's Jaws, which Steven Spielberg turned into his career-launching movie, which spawned film sequels aplenty, which spurred Benchley to try the trick again (Beast [1991], in which the bogey from the brine was a humongous squid) and again (White Shark [1994], in which the monster turned out to be a Nazi!). And now . . . this: an exaggeration--in scale and carnage--of all the above, with a Carcharodon megalodon (a really BIG shark) doing the romping and chomping. Supposedly 100,000 years extinct, the meg, as everybody in the book calls it, is actually, as our hero Jonas Taylor (sort of a paleo-ichthyological Indiana Jones) suspects, still alurk at the bottom of the Marianas Trench in the western Pacific, where the heat of volcanic vents maintains a livable warmth, and six miles of lethally cold water above that environment keep the 60-foot fish from the surface. Keep it, that is, until early in this yarn that seems more novelization of a screenplay than novel. The action is nonstop, the characters are all pumped and touchy (even the women suffer from testosterone overload), and the dialogue is risibly cliched. But is it a hoot, anyway? Yep, and guess what? Disney's filming it. Ray Olson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Meg
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; First Edition edition (June 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 055357910X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553579109
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (682 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,407,799 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Steve Alten grew up in Philadelphia, earning his Bachelors degree in Physical Education at Penn State University, a Masters Degree in Sports Medicine from the University of Delaware, and a Doctorate of Education at Temple University. Struggling to support his family of five, he decided to pen a novel he had been thinking about for years. Working late nights and on weekends, he eventually finished MEG; A Novel of Deep Terror. Steve sold his car to pay for editing fees. On September (Friday) the 13th, 1996, Steve lost his general manager's job at a wholesale meat plant. Four days later his agent had a two-book deal with Bantam Doubleday.

MEG would go on to become the book of the 1996 Frankfurt book fair, where it eventually sold to more than a twenty countries. MEG hit every major best-seller list, including #19 on the New York Times list (#7 audio), and became a popular radio series in Japan.

Steve's second release, The TRENCH (Meg sequel) was published by Kensington/Pinnacle in 1999 where it also hit best-seller status. His next novel, DOMAIN and its sequel, RESURRECTION were published by St. Martin's Press/Tor Books and were runaway best-sellers in Spain, Mexico, Germany, and Italy, with the rights selling to more than a dozen countries.

Steve's fourth novel, GOLIATH, received rave reviews and was a big hit in Germany. It is being considered for a TV series. MEG: Primal Waters was published in the summer of 2004. A year later his seventh novel, The LOCH, hit stores -- a modern-day thriller about the Loch Ness Monster. Steve's eighth novel, The SHELL GAME, is about the end of oil and the next 9/11 event. The book was another NY Times best-seller, but the stress of penning this real-life story affected Steve's health, and three months after he finished the manuscript he was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. Steve's ninth novel, MEG: Hell's Aquarium, is considered to be the best of the best-selling MEG series. Steve says his best novel is GRIM REAPER: End of Days. The story, a modern-day Dante's Inferno, takes place in New York when a man-made plague strikes Manhattan. The release date was 10-10-10. His eleventh novel. PHOBOS: Mayan Fear is the third in the Domain series and will debut in the Fall of 2011 (Tor/Forge).

Steve's novels are action-packed and very visual. He has optioned DOMAIN, MEG and The LOCH to film producers. Steve has written six original screenplays. His comedy, HARLEM SHUFFLE was a semi-finalist in the LA screenwriting contest, his psychological thriller, STRANGLEHOLD, was selected as a finalist at the Philadelphia film festival and his reality series, HOUSE OF BABEL won at Scriptapalooza. He has also created a TV Drama, PAPA JOHN, based on his years coaching basketball with hall of Fame coach John Chaney.

Over the years, Steve has been inundated with e-mail from teens who hated reading ...until they read his novels. When he learned high school teachers were actually using his books in the classroom (MEG had been rated #1 book for reluctant readers) Steve launched Adopt-An-Author, a nationwide non-profit program designed to encourage students to read. Teachers who register for the program (it's free) receive giant shark posters, free curriculum materials, student-author correspondence, an interactive website, and classroom conference calls/visits with the author. To date, over 10,000 teachers have registered, and the success rate in getting teens to read has been unprecedented. Steve now spends half his work week working with high schools. For more information click on

As an author, Steve has two goals. First, to continue to work hard to become a better storyteller and create exciting page turning thrillers. Second, to remain accessible to his readers. Steve reads and answers all e-mails, uses the names and descriptions of his loyal fans as characters in all his novels, and even hires readers as editors, depending on their particular expertise.

For more information, contact the author at
or go to

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Will on March 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
When I was reading Meg, co-workers kept asking me what it was about and I told them "It's about a big, prehistoric shark on the loose in the modern age." And they'd ask if it was good and I'd say"Sure, I'm learning alot about ocean trenches and sharks." Then they'd ask about the plot and I'd tell them that it was like reading an action movie jam packed with facts, like Hunt for Red October would have been if they'd put Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan on the sub with Sean Connery.
Meg is all about supersizing. Everything is big or state of the art. Everyone is at the top of their game, even the drunk Viet Nam Vet who pilots the helicopter and the little kid on the surf board. The subs and boats are all cutting edge or retro-fitted. There's even an uber shark tank.
Meg gets bonus points for coming up with a new way to finish off the climactic battle between Man and Beast.
In the opening notes, the author thanks Disney for their interest. Since the book's publication, Disney has held and dropped the film rights. It's too bad, because this is the Jerry Bruckheimer of shark books. If you see Michael Bay, tell him to get Nicholas Cage in to a wet suit and to get work.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Ken Fontenot VINE VOICE on June 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
"Meg" is a fun novel to read. It is full of almost non-stop action with just enough science to snag the tech-heads and just enough suspense for fans of mystery and horror. Alten knows just how far to go when describing the megalodon and uses just enough technical information to keep scientifically-inclined readers flipping through the pages.

The story is pretty basic. A scientist named Jonas Taylor runs into something in the Mariana Trench that scares him. So much so, that it costs the lives of the two Naval scientists with him. From that point on he becomes wary of the deep sea, but completely addicted to the study of Carcharodon megalodon, the prehistoric cousin of the great white shark. He swares that a megalodon lives in the Mariana Trench, but cannot prove it.

Ten years after his accident, Taylor is given another chance at the Mariana Trench. This time, he is asked to help out a friend hoping to recover damaged equipment deep within the trench. Taylor agrees to help, not without reservations. From this point on, the story picks up at a nail-biting pace that makes for a great read.

The description of the Meg and her vicious attacks are so vibrant that you can easily see them in your mind. It's obvious that much time and research was put into this novel by Alten. He gives the reader a clear view of everything. Even the least seaworthy reader can get a grip on what is happening the entire time.

"Meg" is also a great book to hand to your friends who might be a little bit slow to sit down and read a novel. This book's quick pace and fast action makes it an easy book to read. Hopefully, Alten's other books are just as great.

Highly recommended, especially to those who love fast-paced adventure.
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29 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Cosci on December 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
If I listened to my mother who said "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all," this would be a very short review. The best thing that can be said about Meg is that it has an extremely fast pace. The author does not bog down the action with unnecessary details or over-flowery prose. This is, after all, a novel of suspense, not great literature.
That being said, let me talk about what bothered me about this book. For starters, as many people have mentioned, this book reads like a script for a summer blockbuster movie. Sometimes, that's not a bad thing. But this book reads like a cliche-ridden script, devoid of original ideas.
Then there are the characters. People greatly underestimate the value of fully-developed characters. Suspense is a million times greater when you feel some sort of connection with a character - sympathy, empathy, or genuine concern. However, the characters in this book are nothing more than names with one personality. They are unbelievable, and you never care about any of them - not a single one. They could survive or be eaten by the shark, and it wouldn't make a difference.
And this is the biggest problem with the book. It lacks any sort of suspense. You kind of read in morbid fascination to find out what gets destroyed next or who gets eaten next. But you never care. What's the point?
In addition to the lack of suspense, this book requires way too much of a suspension of disbelief. I'm willing to accept fiction if there's some sort of credibility. But how can I accept the scene where they use the historic submarine The Nautilus to hunt for the Meg? It made no sense. Why use an old sub with old technology? So you don't lose a lot of money if it gets destroyed? It's like using Lindbergh's Spirit of St.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Beverly on July 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
I had never heard of this book until I read the reviews of Charles Wilson's Extinct, and I decided to try it. Jonas Taylor spends the better part of his career trying to convince the public that prehistoric megalodons could survive in the warm waters of undersea canyons. When a submersible dive goes awry, he spends the next 7 years in psychotherapy and trying to convince himself that he only imagined seeing a megalodon. But when a friend shows him a picture of what could be a megalodon tooth lodged in the old wreckage of the submersible, Jonas decides to make the dive again. What he discovers on the dive leaves him paradoxically excited that he can finally prove that he is right yet upset that he loses another friend and inadvertantly brings the female to the surface. Everyone, including the media and the U.S. Navy, gets into the act once the megalodon surfaces. The ensuing chase and capture of the megalodon is exciting and will keep you reading, constantly wanting to know who will win out, man or beast. Like any good shark book, Meg is filled with "good guys" and "bad guys", and I can't deny that I felt a certain satisfaction when the meg snacked on the cheating wife. I only wished that the lover and news reporter had met the same fate. Of course, I also never understood why Benchley's great white never got to munch on the mayor of Amity! Unlike many of the reviewers below, I remember that this is science fiction, and what does it matter how big the tooth is, how long the meg is, or how many millions of years ago it lived? It IS fiction, after all. I found the explanation of how megs could survive in the Mariana Trench and how one of them could swim to the top bathed in the warm blood of the dead meg plausible.Read more ›
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