[a:Mira Grant|3153776|Mira Grant|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1380320279p2/3153776.jpg] is the horror nom-de-plume of [a:Seanan McGuire|2860219|Seanan McGuire|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1245623198p2/2860219.jpg] — 3× Hugo-winner (and 20 more noms), 2× Locus-winner (7 more noms), 1× Nebula-winner, 2× Tiptree honouree, John W Campbell-winner, Philip K Dick ﬁnallist, 3× WFA nom’d, 2× Endeavour nom’d, 1× Sidewise nom’d, 1x BFA nom’d, 1× Shirley Jackson nom’d.
Normally, Mira Grant is someone who I buy the moment I see her work available for pre-order, since having discovered her work with her “political conspiracy theories with zombies and bloggers” novel [b:Feed|7094569|Feed (Newsflesh, #1)|Mira Grant|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1408500437l/7094569.SY75.jpg|7351419]. That said, a lot of her work gets published through Subterranean Press, who make beautiful books but which are expensive in print and not always available as UK ebooks. That is pretty much the only reason I can think that it took me until now to read her 2017 novel Into the Drowning Deep, which follows on from her 2015 novella [b:Rolling in the Deep|23634011|Rolling in the Deep (Rolling in the Deep, #0.5)|Mira Grant|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1417291618l/23634011.SX50.jpg|43239096], which I have also yet to read.
In the best of cryptid horror traditions, the Drowning Deep tales feature mermaids who dispense with the conventional beauty bullshit and concentrate on luring sailors to their deaths. To be clear, the luring is very much optional; they’ll absolutely come to you. Seven years after a reality TV network sent a mockumentary crew to the Mariana Trench to “prove whether mermaids are real” and the ship was lost with all hands, the sister of one of the crew joins a return to the Trench, aiming to prove that the loss of the Atargatis was not a hoax — and hoping not only to prove the existence of mermaids but to be able to study one.
Obviously, they discover that mermaids do exist — and that they are in no way friendly, as chai ♡ put it in their review, “the so-called lovely ladies of the sea exist, and they are out for slaughter” — because otherwise it would be a pretty dull horror story but, as with every Mira Grant tale that I’ve read, she excels at pacing the tension and slow-reveal of the details, so that you end the book not only having enjoyed the journey but also feeling like you’ve learned something, not just about the ﬁctional world she’s created, but at the real world too. [a:Freya Marske|7106498|Freya Marske|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1588506273p2/7106498.jpg] put it well in her Goodreads review:
This book has my gratitude for managing to perfectly capture the way it feels to watch a Jurassic Park movie: you know from the opening moments there’s gonna be lots of science and musings on the hubris of humanity and also like 60% of the cast is gonna die bloodily.
I cannot recommend Mira Grant highly enough; if you are even slightly interested in intelligent horror stories, you should seek out and devour her every word. It had been far too long since I’d read any of her work and, while knowing she’s an absolute favourite author, I had forgotten quite how much starting one of her books was like falling into the arms of a friend for a reassuring hug. Albeit a hug with an alarmingly high body count and a lot of mortal terror.
Grant identiﬁes as bi or pansexual and as demisexual; our main protagonist in Into the Drowning Deep is a bisexual woman and there is a romance with an autistic gay woman on-ship. Also, there are people of colour, most of the scientists are women and 2 of them are Deaf — accompanied by their also-PhD-qualiﬁed sister, who Sign-interprets for them — as well as a there being a wheelchair-using corporate rep in charge. (And there are some dolphins as PoV characters.) Seanan McGuire makes a point of writing very diverse ﬁction and it’s one of the many things I love about her work. I really must prioritise reading some of her fantasy works, which are published under her legal name.
CN: Lots of death: of humans and animals, with a healthy dose of mortal peril and injury detail on the way. Some ableism and sexism (and maybe also queerphobia, but I forget) from unsympathetic characters. And you might not be too keen on seagoing for a little while afterwards