Ever since first seeing it in 2012, Shuker has wanted to prepare a book incorporating this painting's eclectic company of creatures, but the fundamental problem that he faced was how to categorize them collectively.
What single term could be used that would encompass this exceedingly diverse array of forms, plus the many additional creatures also to be included in the book? "Cryptid" was not sufficiently comprehensive, nor was "mystery creature" or "unknown animal," because some of the depicted beasts seemingly exist beyond the perimeters-and parameters-of cryptozoology's traditional confines. Eventually, Shuker concluded that only one such term could satisfy all those requirements. Indeed, it was tailor-made for this purpose. The term? What else could it be? "Monster"!
Derived from the Latin noun "monstrum" and the Old French "monstre," "monster" has many different definitions-a very strange, frightening, possibly evil/ugly mythical creature; something huge and/or threatening; a mutant, or abnormal animal; 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.
Consequently, this book is a manifestation of monsters-a unique exhibition, a singular gathering, an exceptional congregation of some of the strangest, most mystifying, and sometimes truly terrifying creatures ever reported.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Karl Shuker has written another book that mixes mythology, cryptozoology, and science. Unlike some of his other volumes, this one repeats very little from his earlier writing and introduces many new creatures. (The giant horse-eating South American toad is a real hoot.) It also seems to lean more to the mythological than some of hie other books. I think it is aimed more at his core audience than at newcomers to cryptozoology. They should start with The Beasts That Hide From Man or Extraordinary Animals Worldwide before buying this or some of his other recent offerings.