Nannion by Andreas Androutsellis-Theotokis

Nannion by Andreas Androutsellis-Theotokis
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (320 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

On a secluded Greek island in the 1950s, an enormous abandoned mine is filled with sea water for a major international experiment in marine biology. It is intended to study natural selection and, perhaps, evolution in a new aquatic ecosystem. However, the experiment and the island are eventually abandoned. Decades later, a sailor’s photograph of the corpse of a large shark prompts a team of biologists to visit the island. The team discovers unique environments, including an underwater brine lake. The life forms act in ways that affect the fauna on the island as well as themselves. The new ecosystem is dangerous. How to cope with it? The biologists will need some form of interspecies communication with the sea life and even with a cat that has been stranded on the island. It’s simple in theory…

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The pacing of this book was steady and thought provoking. I originally assumed it would have a faster pacing, but I appreciated the time the author took to explain the history of the abandoned experiment and to set the scene for what the scientists and cat found when they arrived on the island. This was a slow-burning novel in the very best sense of the term. There were plenty of opportunities to savor what was happening in the plot, and I became pretty thankful about that by the time I’d reached the mid-point of the storyline.

I would have liked to see a little more time exploring what was happening in the strange portion of the island. The narrators built up to this moment so much that I was expecting them to understand it all a bit better than they did. With that being said, I was definitely interested in the things they learned and felt like the majority of my biggest questions about it were answered.

It was interesting to see how the role of the narrator was shared among the characters. Nannion, a stray cat, explained much of the storyline, but the parts of it she couldn’t understand or wasn’t around to observe were seamlessly picked up by the scientists and researchers who were attempting to discover what was really happening on the island. This was a great example of how multiple narrators can enhance the audience’s understanding of a tale.

Nannion is something I’d recommend to anyone who enjoys thoughtful science fiction.

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