Mermaids have never been my thing. But I love Mira Grant, so I thought I would give this short story a try.
Mira Grant has really made a name for herself in the contemporary horror market. Her stories are tech savy, taking into account the generation of internet and media junkies we have become (I’m looking at you Newsflesh series). In Rolling in the Deep we follow a group of scientists on a quest to prove that mermaids exist or at least that’s what the the television network has told everyone. The scientists have sold their names to the television company in exchange to do their own research on the deep ocean in exchange as a way to verify the authenticity of the currently being filmed documentary. The network gets their click bate television show and the scientists get an expenses paid for a trip to an uninhabited stretch of ocean.
This is going to be a cakewalk right?
During one of the experiments one of the scientist’s probes disturbs something, the probe comes back with a blood sample. When another probe is brought aboard with a real live mermaid… well things go from zero to eleven really really quickly.
These mermaids aren’t like Disney’s Ariel. They’re more along the lines of the merman from Cabin in the Woods.
Yeah, I don’t want to run into one of those on a ship in the middle of uncharted ocean territory, let alone a dark alley.
From the very beginning of the novel you know that no one is going to make it to the end. The story is presented as a documentary stitched together from all the pieces that were recorded over the course of the ship. That’s the nice (and somewhat terrifying thing) about crossing blogger culture with reality tv. Everything is recorded. EVERYTHING. I could see Rolling in the Deep translating to film easily. It would be a great throw back to the original found footage horror films or monster movies (I’m thinking the thing). It would also do well as a mocumentary.
Can you guess how badly I want to see this book as a movie?
The majority of the novella is setting up for the last fifteen pages where the mermaids attack and well, everyone dies. Grant spends a lot of time letting the reader get to know the group of scientists and the ships crew. Everyone feels well developed even though they’re not given a lot of space. You feel the sense of camaraderie between the captain and her first mate, you feel the sense of respect and jealousy cultivated between the scientists.
Like all the good slasher flicks all of this and the plot goes flying out the window as the mermaids turn the ship into a meat grinder (a sentence I never thought I would ever write. Ever). This is also the weakest part of the novel, only because it’s so short. Two thirds of the book for set up, one third of the book for payoff. I would have loved to see just a little bit more in these sequences. More of the crew trying to fight back, etc.
The ending though. Extremely wonderfully solid and I don’t want to spoil it for you.
If you’re looking for something short to read between books than I suggest you pick this up. Depending on what format you get it in it’s only just over 100 pages.
I’m not sure if I’ll be joining any deep sea diving trips for a while now. Thanks for that Mira Grant.