Here’s Nessie: A Monstrous Compendium from Loch Ness by Dr. Karl P. N. Shuker

Paul Henri LeBlond

Abstract


Not another book about Nessie! Even its author bemoans the “veritable ocean of Nessie-themed books” already crowding the shelves. But wait, this one is different!

Advertised up-front as a compendium, one might suspect that it could be just a rehash of the author’s earlier publications, repackaged for improved marketing. Shuker does indeed draw on his extensive work on the Loch Ness creature, much of it unpublished except as recent installments of a blog, but he brings everything up to date in an original and attractive presentation.

Here’s Nessie is also different in terms of the scope of its contents. The core chapters include a brief review of some of the most compelling observations, followed by an extensive discussion on the nature of the beast. A chapter on the “relic plesiosaur hypothesis” documents the ongoing efforts by its proponents to reconcile the long-necked creature described by witnesses with what they imagine a plesiosaur could have morphed into over 65 million years of evolution. Another chapter deals in a similarly meticulous fashion with the “long-neck seal” hypothesis. Other suggested identities also receive consideration. 

Beyond the fundamental zoological enquiry, where Shuker’s professional expertise clearly stands out, further chapters cover other Nessie–cryptozoological topics: early encounters with British saints; an account of the 1987 International Cryptozoology Society meeting in Edinburgh; striking hoaxes; and a couple of “Nessie-ssary” reviews (Loch Ness Discovered, Discovery Channel, 2005; Tony Harmsworth’s Loch Ness: Nessie & Me).


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