Front cover of my latest book, A Manifestation of Monsters (© Dr Karl Shuker/Michael J. Smith/Anomalist Books)
I'm delighted to announce that my latest book, A Manifestation of Monsters: Examining the (Un)Usual Subjects, published by Anomalist Books and containing a foreword by my good friend and fellow cryptozoologist Ken Gerhard, is now available to pre-order on Amazon.
Please click its title above to access its own dedicated web-page on my website, which includes direct clickable links to its ordering pages on Amazon's American and British sites.
Fellow cryptozoologist and good friend Ken Gerhard, who very kindly wrote the foreword to my new book - thanks, Ken!! (© Ken Gerhard)
And here's a summary of what inspired this 22nd book of mine and what it contains:
During the 30 years in which I have been investigating and documenting mystery creatures, my writings have been guided by countless different inspirations, but what inspired this present book was a spectacular work of art. Namely, the wonderful illustration that now graces its front cover, which was prepared by Michael J. Smith, an immensely talented artist from the USA, and which I first saw in 2012. It depicts no less than 17 cryptids and other controversial creatures, including the Loch Ness monster, bigfoot, coelacanth, mokele-mbembe, Jersey devil, chupacabra, Mongolian death worm, Tasmanian wolf, dogman, giant squid, skunk ape, and dodo.
Ever since seeing it, my notion of preparing a book inspired directly by this painting and the eclectic company of entities that it portrays has always stayed with me, but the fundamental problem that I faced if I were to do so was how to categorise them collectively.
What single term could be used that would effectively embrace, encompass, and enumerate this exceptionally diverse array of forms, as well as the range of additional creatures that would also be included in the book? 'Cryptid' was not sufficiently comprehensive, nor was 'mystery creature' or 'unknown animal', because some of the depicted beasts seem to exist far beyond the perimeters - and parameters - of what is traditionally deemed to be the confines of cryptozoology. Consequently, I eventually concluded that there was only one such term that could satisfy all of those requirements – indeed, it was tailor-made for such a purpose. The term? What else could it be? 'Monster'!
UPDATE: 2 September 2015 – Look what manifested through the post today! (© Dr Karl Shuker)
Derived from the Latin noun 'monstrum' and the Old French 'monstre', 'monster' has many different modern-day definitions - a very strange, frightening, possibly evil (and/or ugly) mythical creature; something huge and/or threatening; a malformed, mutant, or abnormal animal specimen; and even something extraordinary, astonishing, incredible, unnatural, inexplicable. These definitions collectively cover all of this book's subjects – and so too, therefore, does the single word 'monster' from which the definitions derive.
Thus it was that this became a book of monsters, but not just a book – a veritable manifestation of monsters. That is, a unique exhibition, a singular gathering, an exceptional congregation of some of the strangest, most mystifying, and sometimes truly terrifying creatures ever reported - still-unidentified, still-uncaptured, still-contentious. Even 'mainstream' species like the dodo and coelacanth, whose reality and zoological identity are fully confirmed, still succeed in eliciting controversies, and are veritable monsters - the dodo having been referred to by various researchers as a monstrous dove, and the coelacanth as a resurrected prehistoric monster.
So, if you're looking for monsters, you've certainly come to the right place, and will certainly be purchasing the right book. Just pray that once you open it and encounter the incredible creatures lurking inside, you don't live to regret your bravery – or foolishness - in having done so. In fact, just pray that you do live...
Hoping that you enjoy encountering my manifestation of monsters!!
Michael J. Smith's spectacular original artwork, 'Cryptids', which inspired my book and which now appears on its front cover – thanks, Michael!! (© Michael J. Smith)