Here There Be Monsters
Hundreds of years ago, there were many unexplored regions of the world. These areas were left blank by mapmakers . . . but something sinister was out there. Sailors claimed that these faraway places were inhabited by mysterious beasts and sea serpents. To warn of the dangers lurking on land and under the sea, mapmakers wrote words that would chill the hearts of even the bravest explorers: Here There Be Monsters.
One of those monsters caused fear in sailors all over the world. It had huge eyes, an enormous head, and a razor-sharp beak. Most terrifying of all were its tentacles and slithering arms, each lined with hundreds of suckers. The creature was strong enough to grab an entire ship and drag it down—along with all the men on it—to the dark depths of the ocean. This monster was the legendary kraken.
Weaving scientific discovery with historical accounts—along with the giant squid’s appearance in film and literature--Here There Be Monsters explores the mystery of this creature in fascinating detail. Readers will find that the monster remains hidden no longer, because scientists have finally seen the kraken with their own eyes . . . alive and rising up out of the sea.
KIRKUS REVIEWS writes: In an engaging, fast-paced text, Newquist chronicles how centuries-old myths about a sea monster known as the kraken transformed into the modern study of Architeuthis dux, the giant squid. Until the 1870s, when dozens of giant squid were sighted and more mysteriously washed up dead on coasts around the world, scientific knowledge of the creature was fragmentary, and speculations about it were based more on fiction than facts. Even now, despite enormous advances in underwater exploration technology, the creature remains shrouded in mystery. A live squid was not observed until 2004, by Japanese scientists. The author does a commendable job of packing a great deal of information into a compact narrative. He seamlessly moves among exploration of history, mythology, film, literature and scientific discovery; the discussions of how everyone from Alfred, Lord Tennyson to Jules Verne to Walt Disney kept the myth of the ferocious kraken alive in people's imaginations are especially interesting. The book is abundantly illustrated with charts, maps and photographs.
According to Newquist "One of the things that I write about in "Monsters" is that humans have been to the moon six times and retrieved more than two thousand rocks. The moon is 250,000 miles away from earth. Yet scientists have collected only about two dozen specimens of the colossal squid, a creature that lives less than one mile under the ocean. It's very weird that we have more specimens from a place that is a quarter of a million miles away than we do of one of the biggest creatures on the earth, even though it lives right here in our oceans."