Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror

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Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror
Cover art
Author Steve Alten
Country United States
Language English
Series Meg
Genre Science fiction/Horror
Publisher Bantam Books
Publication date
July 1997
Media type Print (paperback and hardback)
Pages 337 pp (paperback)
ISBN 0-9761659-1-0 (paperback)
OCLC 64574002
LC Class CPB Box no. 2426 vol. 1
Followed by The Trench

Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror is a science-fiction horror novel by Steve Alten, and was first published in July 1997. The novel, along with its sequels, follows the underwater adventures of a Navy deep-sea diver named Jonas Taylor. In 2018, a film adaptation titled The Meg, was released.

Plot summary[edit]

In the novel's prologue, taking place during the Late Cretaceous Period, a Tyrannosaurus rex stumbles into the ocean while pursuing a herd of Shantungosaurus, and is promptly attacked and devoured by a Megalodon.

In 1997, Jonas Taylor, a paleontologist and marine biologist, is working deep in the Mariana Trench with the United States Navy. His mission is top secret and involves confirming the existence of an extinct species of shark known as the Megalodon, a predator that could grow up to 20 meters in length.[megsize 1]

While on the dive, Jonas watches in horror as a Megalodon rises from the depths, Jonas surfaces as fast as is safe and escapes; unfortunately, the Navy does not believe his claims, labeling him a madman and ruining his career. Years later, Jonas continues to try and prove that what he saw was real. He is approached by a friend, Masao Tanaka, who lost a remote submarine in the Mariana Trench and hopes to retrieve it. Seeing this as an opportunity to prove his theory that the Megalodon still exists, Jonas agrees to help Tanaka.

When they arrive at the Trench, Jonas and Tanaka's son dive in small submersibles. A male Megalodon rises from the depths and Jonas tries to distract the creature, but to no avail, and the shark kills Tanaka's son. Jonas watches in horror as the Megalodon is trapped in the steel cables connecting Tanaka's son's sub to the ship. As the Megalodon is pulled to the surface, Jonas watches a second Megalodon, a much larger female, rise out of the Trench. She attacks the male and feeds on him as he is pulled to the surface, his heated blood protecting her from the cold water layer that has previously kept them from entering the wider ocean.

Jonas and Tanaka are worried about the imbalance in the ocean's ecosystem that might result from the re-introduction of a Megalodon after an absence of millions of years. Meanwhile, Jonas also has issues with his estranged wife, Maggie, a ruthless news reporter from whom he is currently separated (and, unknown to him, having an affair with his best friend). As Jonas and Tanaka try to track down the Megalodon, the female surfaces off the coast of San Diego and kills several surfers. She also attacks and destroys a helicopter that is tracking her at night after discovering that thousands of years of living in the depths of the Trench has led them to develop bioluminescent hides.

Jonas and Tanaka come to the realization that the female Megalodon is pregnant, and are determined to capture her before she gives birth or risk completely disrupting the food chain. Maggie seizes this opportunity to advance her career and decides to film the entire capture from within a shark cage. The mission fails as the Megalodon breaks the cage and devours Maggie.

Jonas and Tanaka track down the female as she gives birth. While vulnerable Jonas uses a submersible to dive down her throat and into her stomach, then slices his way out with a fossilized Megalodon tooth, severing her main aorta, killing her before it could kill Tanaka. The two survivors are able to capture the juvenile Megalodon before it swims off, and are excited about the opportunity to study this believed-extinct creature in the flesh.

  1. ^ Estimates of Megalodon's size vary from 18-25 meters. The book states 20 meters.


The novel spawned a series with these sequels:

  • The Trench
  • MEG: Primal Waters
  • MEG: Hell's Aquarium
  • MEG: Origins
  • MEG: Night Stalkers
  • MEG: Generations
  • MEG: Purgatory (announced at the end of MEG: Generations)


A film based on the novel had been mired in development hell since 1997. At one point, reports surfaced that the film was slated for a 2008 release date and was to be made by New Line Cinema, which had recently bought the rights from Alten. Names that were attached to the project included Jan de Bont and Guillermo Del Toro. However, in July 2007, New Line cancelled the production. Steve Alten had said that once his relationship with New Line was finally over, he would be taking the property elsewhere. The rights eventually reverted to Alten, but the film remained in development hell.[1][2]

In 2011, Alten made a comment on his sparsely updated website. Along with the announcement that he would be releasing a prequel novella called MEG: Origins, Alten indicated that he was holding back the release of his next entry in the series MEG: Night Stalkers to time with the release of the film.[citation needed] On January 2, 2015, Alten appeared on Coast to Coast AM radio with George Noory and said that a film based on MEG was back on track.[citation needed]

On June 16, 2015, Eli Roth was announced to direct the film adaptation. He left the project due to creative differences.[3] On March 3, 2016, reported that director Jon Turteltaub (National Treasure) has since been in talks to helm the movie adaptation of Steve Alten's MEG.[4]

On April 14, 2016, various media outlets reported that action star Jason Statham would be taking the lead role of Jonas Taylor in the upcoming film.[5] In July 2016, Jessica McNamee and Ruby Rose also joined the cast of the film.[6][7]

The film was initially due to be released on March 2, 2018, but the film was ultimately released on August 10, 2018.[8]


  1. ^ "MEG Coming in 2008?". MoviesOnline. Archived from the original on January 4, 2007. Retrieved January 17, 2007.
  2. ^ Welkos, Robert W. (April 13, 2008). "Trapped down in the depths". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 21, 2009.
  3. ^ Miller, Michael (June 16, 2015). "Eli Roth to Direct Monster Shark Thriller Meg". People. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  4. ^ Lesnick, Silas (March 3, 2016). "Meg Movie Finds Potential Helmer in Jon Turteltaub". Retrieved March 22, 2016.
  5. ^ Busch, Anita (April 14, 2016). "Jason Statham Takes On Prehistoric Shark In 'Meg'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 14, 2016.
  6. ^ Kroll, Justin (August 2, 2016). "Warner Bros. Shark Pic 'Meg' Casts Female Lead (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved August 3, 2016.
  7. ^ Kroll, Justin (August 3, 2016). "Jason Statham's Shark Epic 'Meg' Adds 'Orange Is the New Black' Actress Ruby Rose". Variety. Retrieved August 5, 2016.
  8. ^ "Shark Flick Meg is Pushed Back to Summer 2018 - THE HORROR ENTERTAINMENT MAGAZINE". THE HORROR ENTERTAINMENT MAGAZINE. 2017-03-05. Retrieved 2017-03-05.

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