I was invited to the launch of Monstrous Commotion at Waterstone’s in Inverness last night. I’d had a chance to read it prior to the launch. Not impressed. Will read it again and then do a review. It is available from Waterstone’s locally and also from Amazon price £20.
On first speed-read, it’s biggest plus is that the author has cited all of the references to the early sightings and on into the seventies. The references, indices, bibliography etc. took up what must be close to 30% of the book. Anyone studying the subject seriously might find it useful, but his repeatedly going into depth about exaggerated sightings and reports which, for anyone who knows the subject, have no credibility whatsoever, was the most annoying aspect of it and I found that extremely tiresome. This was the very reason why I didn’t include all of these irrelevant sightings in my own book. However, now they are all referenced, perhaps we can let them die a natural death.
The author’s exhausting and repeated references were so brilliantly comprehensive I think his next project should be an in depth publication on how to write an academic book. I learned nothing new from the first read although it did confirm many obvious opinions I and others have had over the years.
His conclusion was so timid he didn’t want to express it in the book or at the launch, but reading between the lines, he thinks the whole thing was dreamt up in a London pub to boost tourism, but this just demonstrates that academics really have no idea about how difficult it is to market a region. If, and it is a HUGE “if” anyone did invent the monster we can only credit Alex Campbell with that achievement, but even his efforts to promote the beast cannot fully explain its origins.
Anyway, I’ll come back with a longer review after the second read. Unfortunately I found it dreadfully boring the first time around so not looking forward to the second read.
Disappointed. I was hoping Adrian Shine would eventually cover the early period of the monster’s history himself, and I am sure it would be in a more engaging manner. It is a shame it has perhaps been pre-empted in such a boring tome.
Tony Harmsworth, 13th November 2015
Link: You can buy my book on this link if you don’t have it already.