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Abominable Science Update

by Daniel Loxton, Jul 31 2013
Daniel Loxton (left) and Donald Prothero (right) at The Amazing Meeting 2013

Daniel Loxton (left) and Donald Prothero (right) at The Amazing Meeting 2013. Photo by David Patton

Hi, guys! A quick post today to update you about the release of Abominable Science, my big Columbia University Press cryptozoology book with Don Prothero.

The book is hitting stores right now. It’s officially “in stock” at Skeptic.com; at Amazon.com, available in both hardcover and Kindle; at the iTunes bookstore; and, also on Kobo! (As of this writing, Amazon.ca still has it listed for pre-order—not too surprising, as it’s officially an August 6 release.)

All those options are great, but I might mention that buying directly from us at Skeptic.com has the advantage of supporting this kind of skeptical scholarship two ways: by supporting both Abominable Science and also the nonprofit Skeptics Society’s wider, sustained project of advancing the literature about allegedly paranormal mysteries. (Donations in support of that work are always needed.)

I’m happy to say that early responses to the book are very encouraging. Publishers Weekly says, “This work is as valuable for its analysis of the hunted as it is for the light it shines on the still-hopeful hunters.” Library Journal hails it as “accessible and absorbing… Highly recommended” in an upcoming starred review. And, strikingly, the journal Nature has given the book a positive full-page review, calling Abominable Science “a gripping read…a sensitive but devastating takedown of an entire subculture.” Even cryptozoologists are acknowledging the book as “scholarly and balanced.”

If you’d like to learn more about the book or about the ways in which Don and I approach the topic of cryptozoology, the acclaimed podcast MonsterTalk is back today with an in-depth conversation between the two of us and host Blake Smith. We get right into the nitty gritty on this one, delving into many of cryptozoology’s darker corners. If you’re interested in monsterology, it’s an episode not to be missed!

ORDER the book from Skeptic.com

ORDER the book from Amazon.com

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9 Responses to “Abominable Science Update”

  1. gdave says:

    I just ordered the hardcover from amazon US. It was listed as a preorder with an August 6 release not in stock. Looking forward to it!

  2. Josh Hunt says:

    Daniel,

    You link to Loren Coleman’s tweet about the book. One of the other tweets expresses suspicions that your book commits the genetic fallacy. Have you ever heard that before? That researching and reporting the origins of a cryptid is committing the genetic fallacy?

    I suspect that the author of that tweet doesn’t understand the genetic fallacy.

    • Clearly, this person hasn’t read the book, nor does he understand what we said. The genetic fallacy is only a fallacy if the origins story in question has no relevance to the truth or falsity of the argument being made. But the long story lines that Daniel teased out about the history of each of these cryptids–especially how their descriptions are inconsistent, how they are strongly influenced by cultural factors such as current movies, how they are full of hoaxes and bad data that the cryptozoologists NEVER expunge, and how they compile “lists of sightings” which are houses of cards, with nearly every one of them useless or questionable–is VERY relevant to the credibility of each cryptid.
      Even if we had not compiled the historical record of each cryptid, the rest of the book demolishes the possibility of their existence by a whole range of biological, geological and paleontological constraints that this critic clearly never read about. As usual, he’s doing the usual creationist tactic to avoid the confrontation of hard data against his beliefs: dismiss it with an irrelevant or false argument and then ignore it.

  3. My apologies for the confusion. The book was listed as “in stock” at Amazon.com for about a week, and was in stock when I made this post. It seems it may have briefly sold out since then, and reverted back to pre-order. I assume it should be back in stock in fairly short order.

    I hope that you enjoy it!

  4. Scott the Aussie (in Devon!) says:

    Huge hint left with my wife that this will be my Xmas present. :-)

  5. gdave says:

    I finished reading the book a couple of days ago. Congratulations! It’s excellent!

    I thought the chapter on sea serpents was particularly impressive. These have always seemed to me like the most plausible cryptids – but your historical review of how they have been reported across different eras and cultures makes it very clear that whatever monsters the seas may still harbor, the “sea serpent” is a social construct, not a biological one.

    Also, on Nessie, the comparison of the Spicer sighting with a sequence from “King Kong” was something I had never come across before – and was very compelling. I’m still dubious about a direct connection between “The Outer Limits” and Betty and Barney Hill’s story, or between “Species” and the chupacabra, two cases of alleged influence of TV/movies on the appearance of “monsters” that have become widely repeated in the skeptical literature. But the detailed similarities between George Spicer’s report and the brontosaurus in “King Kong” that you point out are convincing.

    Again, great job!