Seanan McGuire is an american author and filker. In 2010, she was awarded the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer by the 2010 World Science Fiction Convention, largely because of her urban fantasy/detective story Rosemary and Rue (2009). She also has number of other published novels since then, also featuring October Daye. She writes under the pseudonym Mira Grant.

We turned monsters into myths, and then we turned them into fairy tales. We dismissed the bad parts.

“Rolling in the deep” is a novella. The story revolves around a channel ‘Imagine Network’ which had built its reputation on B-grade horror movies and reruns of old science fiction classics. The channel commissioned a documentary on mermaids, to be filmed from the cruise ship Atargatis. Many believed that this would spell the end of Imagine Network, considering how the channel had been plagued with declining ratings and no advertising commitments . But, the footage found aboard SS Atargatis proves everyone wrong. The action in the story is based on the footage from cameras aboard Atargatis. With this particular program the plan was to go way into deep waters, so as to effectively capture the footage of real mermaids. Nondisclosure agreements are signed, skeptical scientists are brought in along with their interns.  A few women are also signed up who would operate as insurance in case they don’t actually find any mermaids, for everybody believed  mermaids were a myth sailors made up. They certainly didn’t expect to see mermaids with teeth.

Like in every other book of hers, Grant used a framing device to tell her story. In this case it is a television voice-over, warning the viewers about the graphic content in the material the channel is about to air. Another skill of hers is writing lovable characters which the readers can relate to and surprising tragic deaths at the end. This is no spoiler, the reader will be briefed of how the Atargatis was found drifting in the Mariana trench, unmanned, right at the very beginning of the novella.

“We may never know how much of the footage from the SS Atargatis was faked, or how much of it was real. What we do know is that none of the scientists, crewmen, or actors who set sail with the Atargatis were aboard when the ship was found, adrift, some six weeks later, and none of them have resurfaced since.”

The tale is told in an interleaving fashion, weaving the perspectives of those who perished with a TV special that aired after it was clear that something very bad happened to them.

Not only does Grant present characters belonging to a range of specializations within the oceanography field, she lets them drive a portion of the narrative as they take readings and analyze their findings. She also goes into the reality of  how a rating-seeking reality show goes to stage a scene and manipulates the audience.

For a novella, Grant did a wonderful job at an adding tension. She could also make me care for these characters in such a short amount of time, which is damn inconvenient because you know up front all of them are going to die. I don’t want to give anything else away. I can say that it is a spooky, well-researched and definitely unputdownable!

Find out: what happened in Mariana Trench?What killed the crew and the passengers of the Atargatis? What is lurking in the bathypelagic zone of  Mariana Trench? Are mermaids really like how they are depicted in the “Little mermaid”?… read “Rolling in the deep” by Mira Grant and uncover all the mysteries!

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