I'm very happy to announce today that my 34th book is now officially published, and as you can discern from its title – ShukerNature Book 3: Crystal Palace Dinosaurs, Jungle Walruses, and Other Belated Blog Beasts – it's a third compendium of my most significant ShukerNature blog posts, expanded and updated wherever possible, packed with colour and b/w illustrations, and 404 pages long.
If you have purchased either or both of my previous two (as I'm sure you have!!), you will know that ShukerNature Book 1 was devoted to creatures I'd blogged about that I referred to in its subtitle as cryptic. That is, not merely cryptozoological in most cases but also (indeed, especially) little-known, esoteric examples - from the likes of locust dragons, king hares, giant oil-drinking cathedral spiders, and Linnaeus's hellish fury worm, to medieval snail-cats, glowing lightbulb lizards, tizheruks, tsmoks, and many more offerings from the most obscure realms of unnatural history.
For ShukerNature Book 2, I concentrated upon creatures I'd blogged about that I referred to in its subtitle as monstrous. That is, straddling the often ill-defined borders between the mythological and the mundane, fantasy and fact, reverie and reality - such as living gorgons, bottled homunculi, fossil griffins, Lewis Carroll's mock turtle, Harry Potter's ambiguous amblypygid, and Doctor Dolittle's pushmi-pullyu, the Big Grey Man of Ben MacDhui, Wisconsin's giant grasshoppers, South America's photographed but non-existent 'ape', and all manner of other fascinating if macabre curiosities and caprices from the shadowy hinterlands of darkest zoology.
For this present, third ShukerNature book, however, I elected to veer off into a very different direction when selecting its contents as drawn from my blog. I've been a professional cryptozoological researcher and writer for almost 40 years now, so, as you can imagine, I've covered a vast array of subjects during that lengthy period of time. Yet however many I do document, there are always countless others jostling for position on the literary sidelines, impatiently agitating to secure their place in a future book or article of mine. Of these, there are a number that I have fully intended to blog about for many years, but for a multitude of different reasons I have somehow never got around to doing so in spite of just how much they have always fascinated me. Equally, there are subjects that my many readers down through the years have persistently asked me to blog about but which again, inexplicably, I've never actually done so.
During the lengthy, enforced periods of social lockdown necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic, however, I made a determined effort to rectify my previous procrastination concerning these undeservedly delayed subjects, by researching and blogging about as many of them as possible. Having now done so with a sizeable selection, it is these, therefore, that constitute the theme of this third ShukerNature book – which in turn safeguards them from the uncertainties of ongoing online existence by preserving them for all time in print.
They include such long-awaited topics as the awe-inspiring Crystal Palace dinosaur statues that I visited and photographed over a decade ago but never wrote up afterwards (but which are now the subject of my book's spectacular wraparound cover – the very first such cover that has ever graced any of my books), my personal (and undoubtedly controversial, iconoclastic, heterodox) views regarding the (in)famous Surgeon's Photograph reputedly depicting an unknown object in Loch Ness, the huge but mysterious animal head discovered in an ancient Egyptian boat, and the muddle of misidentification surrounding Lake Dakataua's aquatic migo.
Plus the Nandi bear specimen that was actually examined by two of the world's foremost scientists before it mysteriously vanished, the officially-impossible elephant hybrid whose existence proved all the experts wrong, the wry comedy of zoological errors enshrouding the huge but hysterical imperial flea, as well as an eclectic assemblage of jungle walruses, flying monkeys, hairless hyaenas, Koch's monstrous Missourium and horrid Hydarchos, Beebe's black-and-white mystery manta ray, the giant lizards of Papua, a tenacious tomb-shattering pterodactyl, and lots more too.
So many of these curious, charismatic subjects have been a long time coming, I freely confess – but now that they are finally here for you to read about and ponder over, I hope very much that, as with all the best things in life, you'll consider them well worth the wait. More details concerning my book can be found on its dedicated page here, in my official website.