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Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror

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Language  English
Publication date  July 1997
Originally published  July 1997
Preceded by  The Trench
Publisher  Bantam Books
3.8/5 Goodreads

Country  United States
Series  Meg
Pages  337 pp (paperback)
Author  Steve Alten
Followed by  The Trench
Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror t3gstaticcomimagesqtbnANd9GcRG1vklNxxFY6Ucy
Media type  Print (paperback and hardback)
Genres  Fiction, Horror fiction, Science Fiction, Suspense, Horror, Speculative fiction
Similar  Steve Alten books, Fiction books

MEG is a science fiction novel by Steve Alten, and was first published in July 1997. The novel, along with its sequels, follows the under water adventures of a U.S Navy deep sea diver named Jonas Taylor.


Plot summary

The novel begins in the late Cretaceous, with a herd of Shantungosaurus being attacked by a Tyrannosaurus rex on a shoreline. The Tyrannosaurus rex chases a pair of Shantungosaurus into the sea and gets trapped in the mud. It is swiftly killed by a massive Megalodon.

In 1997, Jonas Taylor is a deep sea diver working for the United States Navy on a top-secret dive in the Mariana Trench. He sees a Megalodon, a massive ancient predator that is believed to be extinct. Because he is the only survivor he is disbelieved. He becomes a paleontologist and tries to prove that the Megalodon is real, but he is still considered a crackpot.

An old friend, Masao Tanaka, asks him to go back and help recover a UNIS (Unmanned Nautical Informational Submersible), which helps predict earthquakes, from the Mariana Trench. Again, they encounter a megalodon in the depths: the species has indeed survived, but is trapped in the Mariana Trench due to the 'cold water barrier' (the bottom of the Trench is heated by geothermal ducts, keeping the water warm, but that warmth has limited range and the far colder water above it keeps the sharks trapped there as the cold water would apparently have highly negative effects on the giant sharks unless traversed properly). A white bioluminescent (millions of years of adapting to the darkness of the trench lead to this evolutionary trait) male megalodon attacks them and kills Tanaka's son D.J. before being entangled in the metal ropes connecting the submarine to the ship, which start dragging the shark up. However, the male shark's vulnerable state prompts an even larger female megalodon to emerge and attack it, and as the female rips it apart, she is bathed in the shark's warm blood as she follows the entangled male upwards, the warm flood of liquid keeping the female protected from the cold water long enough for it to reach the warmer surface waters of the ocean, hence unleashing the megalodon anew on the ocean's ecosystem.

It doesn't take long for the shark to pick up where it left off after it reaches the surface, as it starts killing and eating whales, and sometimes people, including Jonas's estranged wife, Maggie. To make matters worse, the female is pregnant and gives birth. Both are tracked, as Taylor and Tanaka wish to capture the creature. They manage to get the mother, but it breaks free and starts attacking boats in the area where it was captured. Taylor manages to kill the mother in the carnage by ramming a submersible down its throat, slicing his way through its inner body, and eventually cutting through its heart before escaping. Jonas also manages to capture the offspring of the meg, ending the novel.


The novel spawned a series with the following sequels:

  • The Trench
  • Meg: Primal Waters
  • Meg: Hell's Aquarium
  • Meg: Origins
  • Meg: Night Stalkers
  • Film

    A film based on the novel has 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 have indeed reverted to Alten, but the film has remained in development hell.

    Alten made a relatively recent comment on his sparsely updated website in 2011 which has given a significant and yet cryptic update to the status of the film project. Along with the announcement that he would be releasing a prequel novella called Meg: Origins, Alten indicated that he is holding back the release of his next entry in the series Meg: Night Stalkers to time with the release of the film. While no official information yet exists on the film, this may indicate that progress on a film adaptation may be further along than previously believed. On January 2, 2015, Alten appeared on Coast to Coast AM radio with George Noory and said that a film based on Meg is back on track.

    On June 16, 2015 it was announced that Eli Roth would direct the film adaptation. He left the project due to creative differences. 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. Turteltaub is also currently attached to Walt Disney Pictures' It's a Small World movie.

    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 June 2016, Steve Alten confirmed that John Cena had joined the cast of the film. In July 2016, Jessica McNamee and Ruby Rose also joined the cast of the film.

    The film was due to be released on March 2, 2018, however that release date has now been pushed back to 10th August 2018.


    Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror Wikipedia