karen's Reviews > Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks

Demon Fish by Juliet Eilperin
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's review
Jul 25, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: nonfictions, shaaaaarks

SHARK WEEK FLOAT!!! from a couple of shark weeks ago but still so sharky!!

oh my god i just saw this on the teevee tonight, so i am adding it to the review and you should all watch this clip because it is hilarious! to me. also terrifying.



today is the start of shark week, so get ready. i have been ready for a week now. last week, i watched the best of shark week on demand, i watched jaws for the very first time, and i read this book. i also commanded my father to buy me some goldfish crackers so i could pretend to be a shark while i watch some shark week on the teevee.

no one is more ready than i am.

this book is great. it explores the shark's meaning across different cultures, but only pretty superficially, and more as a springboard to her real point, which is the rapidly decreasing number of sharks we have to play with. between mainland china's increasing prosperity and the higher demand for celebratory and status-proving shark's fin soup, which has led to fisherman "finning" the fish and tossing then rest of its body back into the sea,(and everyone agrees the fin adds nothing to the soup, it doesn't even really taste good, and is purely for status. can't you people just buy an escalade and be done with it?) and sporting tourism groups that allow regular folk to go out into the ocean and land themselves a giant hammerhead (seriously - what are you going to do with a hammerhead?? go pineapple picking instead)and of course the accidental capture/killing of sharks by tuna fishermen and the fences meant to keep sharks from getting too close to oceans where people swim.

but, man... it doesn't look good. sharks have been around since before dinosaurs and even though we know a lot about them, mostly through watching shark week (that is where marine biologists get most of their data, i am sure), no one seems to know how many are left, despite valiant efforts to track them. the ocean - she is too large!

but it is pretty clear that they are struggling and their numbers are dwindling. and it is not getting a lot of press, because it is hard to make people give money to save the shark because this

makes a less adorable t-shirt than this:

although i love the chubby shark on the cover of this book. awwww

but people are afraid of sharks. and it's true, if a shark goes for your leg, it's gonna hurt, no lie. but the chances of that happening are pretty small. i hate the beach/ocean for a number of reasons (because it is a fish-toilet, because of the idea of swimwear on me and on others, because of pointy things and weird green slimy things and sand in my parts) but shark attacks are not really a worry for me. want some stats i learned from this book??

on average, more than forty times as many americans seek hospital treatment for accidents involving christmas tree ornaments than incidents involving sharks

look out!!

...652 people died in chair-related incidents in a single year compared with the 4 killed by sharks


so don't be afraid of the sharks!! they mostly just hang out, looking for real food. we don't taste good - too bony. we require too much effort to eat. however, swimming with dogs increases your chances of getting shark-attacked, because of the erratic movements and rapid dog-heartbeats. it appears to the shark from afar that a fish is in distress. and when it gets close enough, it is too late.

i am giving a lot of practical advice here.

this book is good stuff - it talks about the dwindling fish situation, and what happens when the apex predators are removed from the equation (basically, jellyfish take over) and how it will affect humans. because it will. make no mistake.

and yet i have to admit - it made me crave fish - i am part of the problem, i know, because i want to make sure i get enough fried clams in me before the ocean runs out of all life and i am stuck eating jellyfish pie, like in America Pacifica, a book which did not make me hungry.


i think sharks are fascinating, i loved this book, and i suggest you go watch some shark week and then read this book when the week is over and you go into shark-information-withdrawal.

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Comments (showing 1-50 of 54) (54 new)

karen first we are going to buy some corn, and then i can come home and watch shark rebellion

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

We got to pet sharks at the zoo last time we went. They were very soft. <3

karen really?? i thought they were rough and that's why barnacles won't stick to them etc, and why they are developing sharksin technology for warships, to make them faster and less costly to maintain.

let's watch shark week to find out!

karen i owe it all to shark week.

this weekend i also learned the difference between a raven and a crow.

message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

These were bitty zoo sharks, not rough wild sharks. One of them felt like a burlap sack, maybe that is rough enough to keep barnacles off?

karen leopard sharks are my favorite. they are probably pretty smooth, too:

they are the pimps of the ocean.

message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

It may have been leopard sharks we petted. Are they about three feet long? I'll ask the boy. He probably remembers what kind they were. Kids are good like that.

message 9: by Allan (new)

Allan Fisher Stunning!

message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

Hmm, he says tiger shark. That may be wrong though.

karen oh hahahah - no just cuz they dress sharp!

technically, most sharks and dolphins are sexual thugs, though. it's pretty disheartening.

but if a lady shark is in shallow water, she can just press her goods into the sand and the male can't roll her or get to her, so that's empowering, right??

karen dunno. tiger sharks are up there on the list of "sharks that are dangerous to people" but maybe your zoo is badass.

i know that have pretty awesome stuffed red pandas there. fact.

message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

I doubt my zoo is badass. These were just little guys.

Oh, and the red panda was awake last we went! I have never seen him awake, in however many years I've gone to that zoo. I tried to get a picture for you, but he was really moving. Cute.

message 14: by Elena (new)

Elena Hi Karen, thought you might be interested in this.


karen ooh! thank you!! i will watch that soon (i have to be considerate where i am right now, dammit)

message 16: by Miriam (new)

Miriam I petted a shark once and recall if feeling sort of rough and smooth at the same time. Like a very fine sandpaper, but wet.

karen yeah, exactly!! but if you go the wrong way, your skin will shred. oops!!

time for sharkbite beach!!!

message 18: by Christy (new) - added it

Christy Sharks are awesome! I am actually kind of torn about Shark Week because, on the one hand, SHARKS! But on the other hand I feel like the marketing for Shark Week does a lot to reinforce the sharks-are-terrifying-monsters narrative that makes it harder to get people to care about protecting/saving them.

karen actually - it seems pretty responsible this year. the last two shows i have just watched have been very clear: we are in their territory. we do not hold our injuries against the sharks...

but actual shark week starts at nine - these are old shows. but i still like them

message 20: by Christy (new) - added it

Christy karen wrote: "actually - it seems pretty responsible this year. the last two shows i have just watched have been very clear: we are in their territory. we do not hold our injuries against the sharks..."

I'm glad to hear that. I haven't had the opportunity to watch for a few years, so maybe it's changed for the better since then. I really hope so.

message 21: by Elena (new)

Elena karen wrote: "ooh! thank you!! i will watch that soon (i have to be considerate where i am right now, dammit)"

It will make you want to stop eating fish all the way around... it's sad but it has beautiful photos ...

karen yeah, that's another good thing about this book - it talks about this campaign that was done featuring shark attack survivors - and all of the ones they got were talking abut how it taught them to respect the sea and sharks etc etc. it's about replacing the fear with respect, like machiavelli never got to the sea or something.

the last show i watched had a little dog who got shark-attacked and lived through it, and i got all misty-eyed.

message 23: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus Sharks *shudder* make me scream like a little girl with a booger-tipped finger heading for her hair.

karen everyone wants to hug a shark!!

karen ooh - shark week proper starts in fifteen minutes.

air jaws might be my favorite special so far..

message 26: by Elena (new)

Elena Are they going to show Sharkwater also? That is another great documentary on conservation issues. You should get it on dvd or something if it's not on tv. 100 million sharks a year get killed just by phinning. It's kind of disturbing but definitely eye opening.

message 27: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus *quivers in a small, tight corner AWAY from the TV and its possible sharkiness*

Joshua Nomen-Mutatio So what you're saying is there should be a Chair Week on TV as well? I support this. I want to see poorly done re-enactments of chair-related injury and death.

"It was too late, the chair had already defeated him."

I wonder if they count people falling off ski lifts as chair-related incidents?

karen last night i learned that sharks can get suntanned.

sooooo cute!

i hope sharkwater is on netflix. i will check when i get home...

message 30: by Elena (new)

Elena I bet you'll find it there. Again, I feel like a broken record, it is sad... but very informative.

message 31: by Shovelmonkey1 (new)

Shovelmonkey1 Genius! I laughed my ass off the whole time while reading this review. In fact I laughed so hard I'm now sitting on the base of my Thoracic Vertebrae.

message 33: by Will (new)

Will Byrnes I knew there was something sinister about all those damned ornaments.


message 34: by Cathleen (new)

Cathleen I haven't had a chance to read all of your shark week reviews/comments, so maybe you've seen this, but...


message 35: by Elena (new)

Elena this is a great site!!!!

karen Cathleen wrote: "I haven't had a chance to read all of your shark week reviews/comments, so maybe you've seen this, but...


i love that site, but i had no idea they were celebrating shark week!! wonderful!! thank you!

karen cool!! endless shark week!!

karen and proud! they are taking their vacation in YOUR waters! they could go to the bahamas, and yet they chose you!

karen this is so cool - i want to make one:

you should make one and go eat it by the shore. be sure to wave.

message 41: by Greg (new)

Greg Awww, sharks just want affection!

karen that man is delusional. i don't think there is any creature in nature that wants to be snuggled and kissed by humans. remember grizzly man??? he was wrong, too.

message 43: by [deleted user] (new)

Which man is delusional? Jerry Brown? Or is there a deleted comment?

message 44: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh. The new clip. Got it. Somewhat slow this morning. Carry on.

karen i just saw this clip last night, and i had to share it. i mean - do sharks need warning labels: do not kiss??

karen haahha they sure are taking their time, then!

karen do not let him watch shark week this week. nor national geographic's "sharkfest."

message 48: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Ayala *chants incessantly* shark week shark week shark week shark week shark week shark week!!!!

karen sharkzilla is on!!!!!!!

message 50: by ॐ Pixie (new)

ॐ Pixie i know this is floated from gazillions ago, but do you remember where that chair came from? WANT.

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