Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror
|Media type||Print (paperback and hardback)|
|Pages||337 pp (paperback)|
|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. A revised and expanded version of the novel (also containing the prequel Meg: Origins) was also released to coincide with the film's debut.
Plot summary (Revised and Expanded Edition)
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. This is later shown to be part of a slideshow by Jonas Taylor, a paleontologist and marine biologist for his presentation on Megalodon.
In 1997, Jonas 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, but causes death of a few of his crewmates as a result; unfortunately, the Navy does not believe his claims, labeling him a madman and ruining his career while simultaneously covering up the discovery. Years later, Jonas continues to try to prove that what he saw was real. This has also led Jonas to push away his estranged and separated wife, Maggie, and leads to her having an affair with his billionaire friend. He is later approached by a friend, marine biologist Masao Tanaka, who lost a remote submarine in the Mariana Trench and hopes to retrieve it. Seeing this as an opportunity to prove that the Megalodon still exists, Jonas agrees to help Tanaka, over the objection of Tanaka's daughter, Terry.
When they arrive at the Trench, Jonas and Tanaka's son, DJ, dive in small submersibles. A male Megalodon rises from the depths and, despite Jonas' attempts to distract the creature, kills DJ. Jonas watches in horror as the Megalodon is trapped in the steel cables connecting DJ'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. As Jonas and Tanaka try to track down the Megalodon, the female surfaces off the coast of Maui and kills several surfers. She also attacks a helicopter that is tracking her at night after discovering that thousands of years of living in the depths of the Trench has led the sharks to develop bioluminescent white hides and destroys a military submarine led by Taylor's commanding officer from his time in the Navy.
Jonas and Tanaka come to the realization that the female Megalodon is pregnant, and are determined to capture her before she gives birth. Maggie seizes this opportunity to advance her career and decides to film the shark from within a shark cage as she swims to California to give birth. Despite his best efforts, the Megalodon breaks the cage and devours Maggie as she tries to escape.
Jonas and Tanaka track down the female after she gives birth to three pups. After tranquilizing her and capturing her, Taylor's vengeful superiors and Maggie's lover try to kill the shark with a homemade depth charge, causing the shark to awaken and rampage, killing dozens of witnesses and bystanders including Taylor's superiors themselves. While the Megalodon is rampaging, Jonas pilots a submersible down her throat and into her stomach where he uses a fossilized meg tooth to cut his way out and cut her heart out, ironically killing the meg with a meg tooth. The two survivors capture the last surviving Megalodon pup as Jonas is taken away to be treated for decompression sickness from his fight with the adult shark, and are excited about the opportunity to study this believed-extinct creature in the flesh.
- 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.
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. 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.
On June 16, 2015, Eli Roth was announced to direct the film adaptation. He left the project due to creative differences. On March 3, 2016, ComingSoon.net reported that director Jon Turteltaub (National Treasure) has since been in talks to helm the movie adaptation of Steve Alten's MEG.
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. In July 2016, Jessica McNamee and Ruby Rose also joined the cast of the film.
The film was initially due to be released on March 2, 2018, but the film was ultimately released on August 10, 2018.
- "MEG Coming in 2008?". MoviesOnline. Archived from the original on January 4, 2007. Retrieved January 17, 2007.
- Welkos, Robert W. (April 13, 2008). "Trapped down in the depths". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 21, 2009.
- Miller, Michael (June 16, 2015). "Eli Roth to Direct Monster Shark Thriller Meg". People. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
- Lesnick, Silas (March 3, 2016). "Meg Movie Finds Potential Helmer in Jon Turteltaub". ComingSoon.net. Retrieved March 22, 2016.
- Busch, Anita (April 14, 2016). "Jason Statham Takes On Prehistoric Shark In 'Meg'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 14, 2016.
- Kroll, Justin (August 2, 2016). "Warner Bros. Shark Pic 'Meg' Casts Female Lead (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved August 3, 2016.
- 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.
- "Shark Flick Meg is Pushed Back to Summer 2018 - THE HORROR ENTERTAINMENT MAGAZINE". THE HORROR ENTERTAINMENT MAGAZINE. 2017-03-05. Retrieved 2017-03-05.