STEVE ALTEN, Master of the Megalodon and other tales chats to GREIG BECK

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  • Tuesday, June 4, 2013
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  • Greig Beck
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  • I love exploration, the sciences, paleontology, cryptozoology and just about anything to do with the massive creatures of prehistory. 

    What a wonder it would be to see something walking on land the size of a blue whale, and how exhilarating to observe one of the giant carnivores stalking a primordial jungle. 
    And then there are those whispers… those captivating ones that tell us that perhaps some of these things might still exist tucked away in some remote jungle, ice cave, or down deep in the abyssal depths of the ocean. I explore many of these themes in my latest work called The First Bird (www.greigbeck.com). 

    So, imagine my delight, when in the late 90s I came across a book called MEG by Steve Alten - there wasn't a thing about it I didn't like - a monstrous creature from prehistory now unleashed into today's world, all backed by excellent research and mind blowing scenes of horror.

    MEG Overview: On a top-secret dive into the Pacific Ocean's deepest canyon, Jonas Taylor found himself face-to-face with the largest and most ferocious predator in the history of the animal kingdom. The sole survivor of the mission, Taylor is haunted by what he saw - Carcharodon Megalodon, the massive mother of the great white shark. 

    Taylor refuses to forget the creature from the depths and spends years theorizing, lecturing, and writing about the possibility that Meg still feeds at the deepest levels of the sea. But it takes an old friend in need to get him to return to the water, and a high-tech miniature submarine they dive deeper than he ever has before. Taylor will face terror like he's never imagined, and what he finds could turn the tides bloody red until the end of time. MEG is about to surface. When she does, nothing and no one is going to be safe again. 

    Recently I had the good fortune to talk to Steve about his works, his favorite books and what he’s bringing out next. Over to you Steve...

    What makes good horror? I suppose that depends on what you prefer. Horror is like a box of chocolates – do you like the gushy stuff, like zombies eating brains, or the nuts, like Hannibal Lector devouring kidneys with his Fava beans? Me? I prefer dark chocolate fudgy monsters – things with big teeth. 

    The challenge with monsters for the writer is to convince the reader the subject could be real. With the MEG series, I had to find a scientifically plausible way to challenge extinction. With THE LOCH, I had to peel away the layers of mythology. In DOMAIN, mythology dominated the story, which dealt with the Mayan Calendar’s 2012 doomsday prophecy. GRIM REAPER was a modern interpretation of Dante’s Inferno, using a man-made bubonic plague to turn Manhattan into Hell. And the horror in The SHELL GAME dealt with conspiracy fact surrounding the events of 9-11 and the next stage of attacks. 

    In my new thriller, THE OMEGA PROJECT, the horror is in the unknown as a scientist awakens from a thirty-day cryogenic sleep 12 million years in the future. 

    Robert “Ike” Eisenbraun survived the Great Die-Off of 2020 when the world’s oil reserves ran out, leading to war and mass starvation. Five years and five billion deaths later, the scientist helps design GOLEM, a super computer that will remotely operate equipment on the moon to mine Helium-3, the key component in fusion energy. 

    All goes well until the computer determines the mined He-3 isotope to be unstable and takes it upon itself to jumpstart a mission to Europa, selecting six men and six women for the long journey to Jupiter’s frozen moon -- including Ike’s fiancée, Andria. Has GOLEM gone rogue? Ike is charged with finding out – he will join the Omega crew on a training mission beneath the Antarctic Ice Shelf aboard Oceanus, an underwater habitat where the crew will spend the last thirty days of the prep cryogenically frozen. 

    Ike awakens from his cryogenic pod to find Oceanus collapsing into a sea trench. He escapes and surfaces, only the ice is gone, the world changed dramatically. Either he is still asleep, caught up in a vivid cryogenic dream -- or 12 million years have passed, and now a new entity is in-charge! 

    As far as my own favorite horror stories, I’d say the top three are: 
    # 1 DRACULA – because of the brilliant way Bram Stoker wove the story around diaries – especially Jonathan Harker’s journal where the hero is locked away in Dracula’s castle; 
    2 JAWS (would have been #1 if Benchley had written in more shark attack scenes); and 
    # 3 SILENCE OF THE LAMBS


    Look for THE OMEGA PROJECT in August 2013, promoted by a free app entitled THE OMEGA PROJECT: HIGH TIDE. 

    Steve Alten (www.SteveAlten.com).



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