Creature Feature: The Novel
April 27, 2019 11:49 AM   Subscribe

I have discovered that I absolutely love creature books and because I'm a trash person with garbage taste I would like all of your recommendations for more.

Books of this sort I have enjoyed:
- Jurassic Park & The Lost World
- Subterranean
- Relic
- Jaws
- Bird Box
- The Mist (but I'm not interested in ever reading another Stephen King thing more than 200 pages long)

Books I wanted to love but are too big a piece of crap even for me:
-MEG: A Novel of Deep Terror

I just cracked James Patterson's Zoo and so far it seems like it might be the right thing. In a perfect world Rampage would have been based on a book instead of a video game, and Annihilation would have been 100x less is it a tower or tunnel and 100x more that eldritch screaming bear thing from the movie.

Likes: animals that are Too Damn Big, evolutionary mistakes, genetic accidents, indescribable interdimensional beasts that defy all reason

Dislikes: rodents, bugs

I found this list and it seems promising, except for all the Steve Alten. He's the guy who wrote the Meg and I really cannot explain to you how bad that book was. And Subterranean which was so perfect isn't on this list at all!

Anyway, if you have a suggestion for my next monstrous beast read, I want to hear it.
posted by phunniemee to Grab Bag (21 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
I think you might really like Jeff VanderMeer's Veniss Underground. It's one of his earlier works so it's kind of less... polished? than his Ambergris & more current stuff but if I'm remembering right it definitely fits this!

Also ANYTHING by Caitlin R. Kiernan. This is definitely her exact thing. I can comment again with more specific recs in a bit when I'm back near my laptop.
posted by augustimagination at 11:57 AM on April 27, 2019 [3 favorites]

Michael Crichton writes pretty serviceable crap. Give Prey a whirl.
posted by flabdablet at 12:12 PM on April 27, 2019 [3 favorites]

Maybe Watchers, by Dean Koontz?
posted by five toed sloth at 12:40 PM on April 27, 2019 [5 favorites]

Skimming the list, I've read a few... Nick Cutter is effective but he leans heavily on the gross-out body horror, which may or may not be your thing. The Ruins fills the bill, though the creature is... plant based. Dead Sea (Tim Curran) is very VERY Lovecraftian with giant unknowable interdimensional creatures. It's slow going at first, but picks up later on. The Terror does have a creature-feature element and trapped people being slowly hunted, but it's a looooong book with loads of other themes. The Descent (the Jeff Long novel, not the movie--though the movie is great and does have creatures!) is sort of hollow earth with demonic monsters?

Also, it's not a curated list, just books that readers have tagged with the 'creature feature' tag. So you can add Subterranean by just tagging it in your booklist.
posted by lovecrafty at 1:01 PM on April 27, 2019

John Halkin's _Slime_ is about Britain being invaded by jellyfish. Not giant alien jellyfish, just jellyfish. They flop slowly at you but can be kinda stealthy. Wait for the "devil's pizza."
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 1:23 PM on April 27, 2019

A bestseller roughly contemporary with Jaws, and included in the list in your link: Guy N. Smith's Night of the Crabs.
posted by misteraitch at 1:28 PM on April 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

The Platypus of Doom and Other Nihilists by Arthur Byron Cover would seem to fit this bill. (It includes "The Armadillo of Destruction", "The Aardvark of Despair", and "The Clam of Catastrophe".)
posted by DaddyNewt at 1:45 PM on April 27, 2019

Hiroshi Yamamoto's MM9 is pretty great if you're interested in non-scary Godzilla/Mothra kinds of creatures.

2nding that The Ruins is probably a good fit: a vivid page-turner to shout at or LOL over if you think about it too much.
posted by Wobbuffet at 1:46 PM on April 27, 2019

Fragment by Warren Fahy is trying so very very hard to be a Michael Crichton novel. It's about discovering a lost island of super-predators where everything evolved from mantis shrimp (do shrimp count as bugs?). It reads like it's destined to have a low-budget film adaptation, but it's very fun. There's an unnecessary sequel that is less fun.

Legacy of Heorot by Jerry Pournelle, Larry Niven, and Steven Barnes. Science fiction, and a little retro in its manly man-ness but it has a cool and unique monster. Scratches the mysterious monster/survival horror itch super well. There's an unnecessary sequel that is less interesting.
posted by Lorc at 1:48 PM on April 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

Railsea by China Mieville might be up your alley.
posted by gnutron at 1:55 PM on April 27, 2019 [2 favorites]

Jeff Vandermeer also wrote Borne, which has a fair amount of Big Animals Doing Things. It's very weird and very good!
posted by LeeLanded at 1:55 PM on April 27, 2019 [4 favorites]

What about plants that behave like animals? In which case you really need The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham which is a classic.
posted by Athanassiel at 3:00 PM on April 27, 2019 [5 favorites]

Oooh, if you like sentient plants, there's also The Ruins, by Scott Smith. A group of spring breakers who barely know each other abandon their beach plans to go to these secret ruins when they find themselves trapped and killed off one by one! (Smith also wrote A Simple Plan.)
posted by mochapickle at 3:42 PM on April 27, 2019

...Which I now see has been recommended already! So a third for that!
posted by mochapickle at 3:47 PM on April 27, 2019

Basically Meg but not as dumb or sexist: Extinct by Charles Wilson.

Jaws with squid, by Jaws guy: Beast. Also a decent tv-movie with Captain Tightpants from _Manhunter_. Main character's name is only slightly less silly than Dirk Squarejaw or Big McLargehuge
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 4:05 PM on April 27, 2019

Molly Gloss's Wild Life might not be trashy enough for you (I have read and enjoyed Relic, I think I know what you are after) but it's fine reading and might be worth trying.
posted by jessamyn at 7:10 PM on April 27, 2019

Bookmarked your list -- thank you.

Jaws, Peter Benchley (Second book is okay, the series is proof you can beat a dead shark into the surf. And the movie is better without the Ellen Brody / Matt Hooper angle. Plus, you've gotta love a shark that can trail a plane across the Atlantic just to munch on another Brody -- Jaws IV.)
Hunger, William R. Dantz
Extinct, Charles Wilson
The Lake, R. Karl Largent (Also Prometheus Project, Black Death, The Sea)
Meg, Steven Alten (Still like 'em, the series does not get better. The movie is an improvement.)
Congo, Michael Crichton (Also Jurassic Park, Lost World)
Relic and Reliquary, Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston (Some of their other books are good, but not creature features, such as Mount Dragon and The Ice Limit.)

You don't like rodents. Pass on "Graveyard Shift" found in Night Shift by Stephen King.

If movies are also on your agenda:
Movies of the above books. I really wish someone would take another crack at Relic and Reliquary. R. Karl Largent's The Lake would be awesome.

Sharks: 12 Days of Terror, Bait, Peter Benchley's Creature, Dark Tide, Dark Waters (2003), The Deep, Deep Blue Sea I and II, Into the Blue I and II, Open Water I, II and III, Raging Sharks, The Reef, Red Water, Swamp Shark, Shark Attack I, II and III, Shark Hunter, Shark Night, The Shallows, Shark Zone

Piranha: I've looked. I have looked! Can't really recommend anything that isn't "throw popcorn at the screen and laugh hysterically" corny. And I set a low bar for creature feature entertainment.

Alligator/crocodile: Blood Surf, Black Water, Croc, Crocodile, Lake Placid I, II and III, Primeval, Rogue, Super Croc

Other reptiles: Curse of the Komodo, Komodo, Anaconda I and II, Python I and II, Boa, Snakes on a Plane, Venomous, Tremors (in all its glory, both the series and the TV show)

Other water critters: Orca, Larva, The Bay, Peter Benchley's Beast, Deep Shock, Loch Ness Monster, Leviathan, Octopus

Land critters: Bats, The Birds, Blood Monkey, Congo, Backcountry, The Edge, The Grey, Frozen, The Ghost and the Darkness, Maneater, Sabretooth, Prey, Stephen King's Pet Sematary, Cujo, Pterodactyl, Sound of Thunder

And you said no bugs, but the spiders are creepy and hilarious in Eight-Legged Freaks and Arachnophobia. Plus 1955 Tarantula is a classic!
posted by TrishaU at 8:18 PM on April 27, 2019 [2 favorites]

Wyndham's The Kraken Wakes is ____ acting as monsters.

Sladek's The Reproductive System is a silly grey-goo romp
posted by scruss at 8:53 PM on April 27, 2019

Creatures are not my department, although popcorn trash is, and I was sure there absolutely, positively has to be a Clive Cussler Dirk Pitt novel that fits the bill, and indeed, Medusa is about giant rogue jellyfish!
posted by DarlingBri at 4:15 AM on April 28, 2019

Creature books for a “trash person” with “garbage taste”, huh?

Welcome to Luntville, West Virginia! The Bighead by Edward Lee
posted by doctor tough love at 11:29 AM on April 28, 2019

Noticing who'd posted this, I suggest that even though it doesn't have big critters you might enjoy Mount Dragon, listed above. There's a virus that makes your head explode.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 6:39 PM on April 29, 2019

« Older Star San for mildew on wooden cutting board?   |   Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.