The Seep
A blend of searing social commentary and speculative fiction, Chana Porter’s fresh, pointed debut is perfect for fans of Jeff VanderMeer and Carmen Maria Machado. Trina Goldberg-Oneka is a fifty-year-old trans woman whose life is irreversibly altered in the wake of a gentle—but nonetheless world-changing—invasion by an alien entity called The Seep. Through The Seep, everything is connected. Capitalism falls, hierarchies and barriers are broken down; if something can be imagined, it is possible.Trina and her wife, Deeba, live blissfully under The Seep’s utopian influence—until Deeba begins to imagine what it might be like to be reborn as a baby, which will give her the chance at an even better life. Using Seeptech to make this dream a reality, Deeba moves on to a new existence, leaving Trina devastated.Heartbroken and deep into an alcoholic binge, Trina follows a lost boy she encounters, embarking on an unexpected quest. In her attempt to save him from The Seep, she will confront not only one of its most avid devotees, but the terrifying void that Deeba has left behind. A strange new elegy of love and loss, The Seep explores grief, alienation, and the ache of moving on.

The Seep Details

TitleThe Seep
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 21st, 2020
PublisherSoho Press
Rating
GenreScience Fiction, Fiction, LGBT, GLBT, Queer

The Seep Review

  • Chaima ✨ شيماء
    January 1, 1970
    3 starsrtc 3 ½ starsrtc
  • Nenia ⚡ Aspiring Evil Overlord ⚡ Campbell
    January 1, 1970
    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest"People need to give each other space to make choices. We can't live solely for other people. Even if it hurts them. Even when it breaks your heart" (174).I really enjoyed THE SEEP a lot! In some ways, it reminds me of a more sophisticated version of Stephenie Meyer's book, THE HOST. Set first in San Francisco, THE SEEP is about a "soft" alien invasion in which aliens, I guess in liquid form, infect the water supply and other host bodies Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest"People need to give each other space to make choices. We can't live solely for other people. Even if it hurts them. Even when it breaks your heart" (174).I really enjoyed THE SEEP a lot! In some ways, it reminds me of a more sophisticated version of Stephenie Meyer's book, THE HOST. Set first in San Francisco, THE SEEP is about a "soft" alien invasion in which aliens, I guess in liquid form, infect the water supply and other host bodies via secretions, giving them a drug-like high but also allowing their hosts the ability to modify their bodies. Humans can turn into animals, or give themselves animal-like qualities like horns and scales and wings; they can become other genders or ethnicities; and they can even take on the very faces of people they know and admire.The heroine, Trina, is a middle-aged Native American transgender woman, and since identity is so focal to her experience, especially as someone who is in three marginalized groups, she is horrified by what she sees as a tremendously insensitive act of mass appropriation. Identity, she points out to someone (and I'm paraphrasing here), shouldn't be something that can be taken on and off like a pair of socks. But of course, this isn't something that the aliens can really understand with their hive-mind and laughably new age-like hippie mentality.When Trina's partner buys into the Seep's philosophy of renewal and decides to turn herself into a baby, Trina effectively becomes a widow, and ends up turning to alcohol in her sorrow... until she sees a young boy who is untouched by the Seep and ends up thinking of a person she knew when the invasion first began-- someone else who bought into the system and is using it for his own illicit gains. And that's where the story, and Trina's quest, really kicks off.THE SEEP is a slow-moving work of speculative fiction reminiscent of Sheri S. Tepper and Ursula K. Le Guin, especially with the themes of female empowerment, LGBT+ identity, and explorations of what it really means to be human as explored from the lens of an entity that is not. The book is very short but it doesn't feel short-- and the writing is gorgeous. It's great to see a science-fiction work that features an older woman of color who is LGBT+, as a lot of popular science-fiction books tend to feature younger, heterosexual white heroes and heroines as their leads. There are so many great themes explored in this work and it feels very literary. What could have been dark is lightened by some humor and a surrealistic, fantasy-like environment that swirls around you like a Dali painting.I would read more by this author in a heartbeat-- and by the way, big ups to whomever designed that cover because it's gorgeous. I love the flowers.P.S. The quote I cited above may differ in your copy in form or by page count because this was an uncopyedited ARC.Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!  4 stars
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  • Jessica Woodbury
    January 1, 1970
    One of my favorite subgenres is one I call "WTAF?!" It is the kind of book that gives you this response and it isn't a genre with a lot of rules except for the fact that there aren't any rules. The joy of it is not ever knowing what will happen, not quite ever getting oriented. It is also a pretty male-dominated genre, probably because it has its roots in another male-dominated genre: horror. So I welcome THE SEEP (which joins another female-authored WTAF?! book I've read recently, the eerily One of my favorite subgenres is one I call "WTAF?!" It is the kind of book that gives you this response and it isn't a genre with a lot of rules except for the fact that there aren't any rules. The joy of it is not ever knowing what will happen, not quite ever getting oriented. It is also a pretty male-dominated genre, probably because it has its roots in another male-dominated genre: horror. So I welcome THE SEEP (which joins another female-authored WTAF?! book I've read recently, the eerily similarly titled THE NEED by Helen Phillips) to the family. It also brings a little jolt of diversity with its protagonist: a Native American trans woman, Trina.Trina is someone who understands the desire to change into who you really are. But in the near-future world Trina lives in, alien life called The Seep has become ingrained in human life that creates a whole new kind of change. The Seep wants only to make humans happy and gives them the power not only to heal themselves or achieve a happiness high, it also lets you transform your body and your entire life. At first this opens up vast opportunities for a better life, but as time passes Trina--a doctor whose services now mostly consist of just healing people with The Seep--grows dissatisfied. When her wife decides to undertake a particularly drastic modification, Trina is thrown adrift. But this new society does not have room for depression or grief and Trina finds herself on a kind of quest even if she doesn't know her goal.This is a surreal and fluid story, where the rules of how The Seep works are never quite clear so the reader is constantly finding themselves in unexpected and strange situations. Like Trina, we feel unsettled and unsteady. It's beautifully weird to follow Trina's journey and you have to be willing to sit back and let it unfold. Sometimes it feels more like a new kind of performance art, and that isn't a bad thing. There's so much weirdness but the structure and prose is mostly traditional, so while it will probably appeal to fans of writers like Samanta Schweblin, it will also work for a lot of sci-fi readers who enjoy unusual alien stories and queer narratives.
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  • laurel [suspected bibliophile]
    January 1, 1970
    Trina Goldberg-Oneka is a survivor of an alien invasion. But The Seep didn't kill everyone—it made them immortal and gave humanity a utopia. A world without poverty. Without war. Without scarcity. And everything is going well, until Trina's wife decides she wants to begin anew. She wants to restart her life as a baby. And everything Trina wanted in life vanished.so your wife decided to be reborn as a baby...This was a delightfully weird book that nevertheless was such a beautiful exploration of Trina Goldberg-Oneka is a survivor of an alien invasion. But The Seep didn't kill everyone—it made them immortal and gave humanity a utopia. A world without poverty. Without war. Without scarcity. And everything is going well, until Trina's wife decides she wants to begin anew. She wants to restart her life as a baby. And everything Trina wanted in life vanished.so your wife decided to be reborn as a baby...This was a delightfully weird book that nevertheless was such a beautiful exploration of grief and depression in a world where the gentle overseer only wanted to make everything better and bring happiness, no matter what.I wasn't prepared to spend half the book crying for no other reason than I was crying and trying to figure out why saltwater was falling from my eyes, but I did.I also wasn't prepared to love this as much as I did—with comparisons to Annihilation and the weirdness being emphasized in every review, I was leery as hell.But this book is beautiful, and it is sad. And it is fantastic.so you've decided to run away from all your problems...After wallowing for five years, Trina is given a rude wake up call—her house (not hers, per se, since nothing belongs to anyone and everything belongs to everyone) is going to be repossessed if she doesn't get her act together and start giving a damn.And then Trina sees a child of the Compound alone and unafraid and decides she must save him from this strange new world—she must save him from The Seep, or at least help him adjust to whatever is going on with this world.And she embarks on a quest that brings her past and future together, with the help of a really unhelpful pamphlet named Pam.so you're thinking of going on a vengeful quest...The themes of this book are searing and thoughtful.What does it really mean when we all are one? When peace rules, and poverty is no more and everyone is supposed to be happy and have literally anything they could ask for?Does the past still matter? Can change exist with immortality?What does it mean, to truly die?What does it mean, to be truly human?What does it mean, to steal another person's face? Where is the line between cultural appropriation and homage?And how can you say goodbye to someone you'd thought you'd be with forever?Anywho, this is weird as fuck and yet easily understandable. There was a depth I wasn't anticipating, and a hope and love that was unexpectedly beautiful and heartbreaking and hopeful all at once.And the rep is fantastic. An #ownvoices book about a Jewish-American Indian trans woman, and so much queer (mostly sapphic) rep that made me so fucking happy to read.I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    The Seep is an interesting little book. It’s about a transgender woman going through a painful… um.. divorce? (This is a question because what it actually is, is a spoiler.) Aliens invade every aspect of Earth life, connecting us all to each other, making us all high on love. They’re in the water. They’re in your food. They can make you into anything you ever wanted to be.This was a fairlyunique story. I loved the idea of benevolent aliens who’ve come to “help.” It’s not really an idea I come The Seep is an interesting little book.  It’s about a transgender woman going through a painful… um.. divorce? (This is a question because what it actually is, is a spoiler.)  Aliens invade every aspect of Earth life, connecting us all to each other, making us all high on love.  They’re in the water.  They’re in your food.  They can make you into anything you ever wanted to be.This was a fairly unique story.  I loved the idea of benevolent aliens who’ve come to “help.”  It’s not really an idea I come across often.  The word invasion typically has a negative connotation.  The Seep usher in a new era in which people can live forever.  Don’t like your face?  Change it!  Don’t want to adult?  Become a child!  Want to be happy all the time?  It’s cool- have this drink spiked with Seep!Which is where I think the social commentary comes in.  The Seep, despite their insistence that they are only there to help, they only want what’s best for the planet, they only want you to be happy- aren’t really giving you much of a choice in the matter.  On the surface they bring utopia, but beneath it all, they are colonizing Earth in their image.  Sound familiar?It definitely has a surreal, dreamlike sort of quality to it.  I wasn’t sure how much in-book-time was supposed to be passing.  Sometimes it felt like years, others only months.  There are some weird moments that will have you scratching your head, a bear cooking soup, a woman eating fish and crying about it because she can feel their pain as she eats them.  A friendly face missing the way their fingers turned neon orange when eating Cheetos.I did become a little frustrated with the protagonist, Trina, at times.  Due to her divorce she spends a lot of time wallowing in self pity and drinking her sorrows away.  She wasn’t the kind of person I’d want to hang out with in real life and she’s not the kind of character I enjoy reading about.  (For reference, I had a similar complaint about The Girl on the Train).Luckily the book is short, it’s easy to read, and kept me interested until the end, even if I didn’t always understand what was going on.  There were things that I would have loved to know more about if Porter ever wrote a full length novel set in this world.The Seep releases on January 21, 2020.  Thank you to the publisher and Edelweiss for sending an advanced copy for review.
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  • Bee
    January 1, 1970
    Full review to come, but here's what you need to know in the meantime: The Seep is a wonderfully weird book that presents us with a future mere decades from now where "the softest invasion" has already taken place. In this post-Seep world, there is no scarcity, no illness, no war. The story follows Trina, alone in the world after her wife chooses to change form with the power of The Seep- leaving Trina in the home they used to share to be reborn. The story follows Trina years later, still Full review to come, but here's what you need to know in the meantime: The Seep is a wonderfully weird book that presents us with a future mere decades from now where "the softest invasion" has already taken place. In this post-Seep world, there is no scarcity, no illness, no war. The story follows Trina, alone in the world after her wife chooses to change form with the power of The Seep- leaving Trina in the home they used to share to be reborn. The story follows Trina years later, still grieving the loss of her wife. This is not an action-packed tale, but an existential journey for Trina as she treks halfway across the country seeking revenge, chasing a stranger she hopes to protect, and occasionally talking to a pamphlet that The Seep speaks through. Yeah, like I said, weird and wonderful. I highly recommend this for any fans of Jeff Vandermeer, literary sci-fi, quirky dystopian societies, and existential themes. Even if you're on the fence, I promise it's worth it for Chana Porter's incredible writing.Content warnings: (view spoiler)[violence, substance abuse, mention of suicidal ideation (hide spoiler)]I received my copy of The Seep from the publisher via Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Racheal
    January 1, 1970
    I mostly picked this book up because of the gorgeous cover and the Jeff VanderMeer comparison in the blurb, both of which are A+ strategies for getting me interested in reading something. I'm a total sucker for books that are generally a) strange or surreal in a WTF sort of way, b) have a supernatural premise, and c) are written in a vaguely literary style.I'm starting to think that I need to stop getting lured in with that bait, though, because while this checks all my boxes on a superficial I mostly picked this book up because of the gorgeous cover and the Jeff VanderMeer comparison in the blurb, both of which are A+ strategies for getting me interested in reading something.  I'm a total sucker for books that are generally a) strange or surreal in a WTF sort of way, b) have a supernatural premise, and c) are written in a vaguely literary style.I'm starting to think that I need to stop getting lured in with that bait, though, because while this checks all my boxes on a superficial level, it really failed in a lot of essential ways.I mean, there are definitely things I liked about it; the writing really pulled me in and I was pretty engaged up until the final act. I love that it doesn't assume default whiteness/straightness (the main character, Trina, is a 51-year-old Native American trans woman in a long term relationship with a woman, for instance). I also loved the whole setup for this world and a lot of the ideas that it introduces. The majority of the book is set 20 years after an amorphous alien species called The Seep first entered our water system. Once they infiltrated or bodies, they showed us that they just want to help us be happy, and that we are all connected- to each other, to the Earth and the animals and plants- and that violence and capitalism are silly. A "soft" alien invasion where is seems as though the aliens only want to give humans everything they desire? Heck yes, sign me up!Overall, though, I had huge problems with the execution.I'll give one example that I think most clearly illustrates what I found so frustrating about this book. (view spoiler)[First, you need to know that The Seep make humans feel the lives and deaths of the things they eat, which fundamentally changes how people consume food. One way this plays out is that Trina is a vegetarian or vegan (it's not made totally clear), which makes sense. But how else does this play out in the story? There's one striking scene where we see a woman sitting on a park bench crying as she eats little live fish one by one. Morbid, right? I was spooked, I was intrigued.So given our setup, Trina should immediately know at least one reason why the fish lady is upset, right? Meat is murder and all that. Seems like an excellent place to show how The Seep informs Trina's understanding of the world around her and the actions of this woman, particularly because she has had several decades to get used to the intricacies of this reality. Nope. She apparently has no idea why the woman might be upset and has to ask her what's wrong. Uh... ok?Ok, so maybe we can at least explore why this woman is eating these fish when it's obviously causing her so much distress? There are some interesting possibilities for looking at how people have reacted under this alien influence. Maybe we'll explore the idea that humans need pain to feel human? Or how living in a Utopia might compromise some folks' mental wellbeing? Something?Nope. No deeper meaning here. Zero, nada, zilch.  So without using this scene to actually tell us anything, then, it becomes gimmicky. It becomes empty shock value. And this is the crux - this book's sense of creepiness and weirdness feels too centered in our world today, in our normal reactions to our normal world. That event would be fucked up in the here and now and that's why we read it as deeply wrong. Sure, it takes on an extra level of fucked when you consider that the person is feeling each of the fishes' deaths. But the story doesn't DO anything with it. It doesn't use it as a way to show how the main character views the event, the way The Seep has changed how she reacts to this reality. It doesn't look in any way at why this person would want to do this. We get a base level creep out moment without ever exploring any of the implications.That's my problem with the whole book- it's all style over substance. There are just so many missed opportunities here for exploring the complexities of this radically changed world. Like- Does it explore the complex emotions a trans person might have if they were suddenly able to alter their body easily and without consequence? Nope. Does it look at what happens to the people who don't imbibe The Seep? Nope. Does it look at how the lives of anyone except the super bougie are changed? Nope (why this book promises "searing social commentary" I have no idea).Do we see character growth at pivotal moments? Nope. We see the night of the seep, then fast forward 20 years. We see the main character's wife leaving her, then fast forward 5 years. We are constantly skipping over the parts that matter.My second main complaint is the ending. I am ok with weird, surreal endings that don't really make sense if they feel intentional on the part of the author, and if they actually fit with the rest of the story. For example, I reached the end of the Southern Reach series with SO MANY questions, but the ending was all so in-line with everything that had come to that point that I couldn't bring myself to be upset. I wouldn't have expected anything different. These unanswered questions didn't feel like a lack of vision, they felt like they were fundamentally unknowable. I'm not ok with a weird, surreal ending, though, that just feels like the author didn't quite know where to go with it or how to make it work. This ending felt like a bit of dramatic hand waving, hoping the reader won't notice that it's got as many holes as Swiss cheese. It also tried to convince me, after absolutely no character growth or emotional development, that the main character suddenly works through her mountain of shit. The whole thing felt abrupt and unearned in the extreme. (hide spoiler)]The finale also has a jarring tonal shift that I thought was entirely unsuccessful, taking it to a comedic, surreal place when the narrative up to that point had been actually quite serious and concrete. It just utterly failed in almost every way for me.I'm giving it one extra star for being very readable and having interesting ideas and imagery, but that's where it ends.
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  • Kim Lockhart
    January 1, 1970
    This intriguing novella is as great as you allow it to be. This is true for all weird fiction, but in this case, the reader must be open to sci-fi, weird fiction, utopian fiction, and speculative fiction.Many themes are woven into this compact narrative: love, loss, companionship, grief, freedom, pain as catharsis (and lack of pain as lethargy), transformation, and the power of self-determination.There's a beautiful analogy about allowing others their own identity, near the end of the story, and This intriguing novella is as great as you allow it to be. This is true for all weird fiction, but in this case, the reader must be open to sci-fi, weird fiction, utopian fiction, and speculative fiction.Many themes are woven into this compact narrative: love, loss, companionship, grief, freedom, pain as catharsis (and lack of pain as lethargy), transformation, and the power of self-determination.There's a beautiful analogy about allowing others their own identity, near the end of the story, and hopefully readers recognize it.Prior to reading this book, it had never occurred to me to consider the tension between Utopian principles and free will, though now it seems obvious. Looking forward to reading more by this author.
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  • Jamie (Books and Ladders)
    January 1, 1970
    See this review and more on Books and Ladders!Check out all things Science Fiction and Fantasy!Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book and chose to review it. This in no way impacts my opinion.So I really liked this one and how things came together. I wish it had been a little longer and explored some of the ideas a little bit more. There were some interesting conversations to be had around gender, race, and identity that were only scratched at during the course of the novel. And while See this review and more on Books and Ladders!Check out all things Science Fiction and Fantasy!Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book and chose to review it. This in no way impacts my opinion.So I really liked this one and how things came together. I wish it had been a little longer and explored some of the ideas a little bit more. There were some interesting conversations to be had around gender, race, and identity that were only scratched at during the course of the novel. And while it's perfectly okay to not have them be the central focus, it felt like the author wanted them to be but was given some pushback about it. But I definitely recommend this one! Such an interesting take on what it means to be human.
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  • Taylor
    January 1, 1970
    i felt compelled to film a review for this at 1am if that means anything to you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXQwp...
  • Katia
    January 1, 1970
    This book is so weird. So weird that it is impossible to judge it by normal standards, which means it is perfect and gets 5 stars. It made me sad in a very amorphous way, like the sad you feel when you are growing but don't really want to. I think, whenever I read a story in which a character experiences a loss, my first instinct is to wish for their loss to be reversed. I find myself wishing that their loved one who left would change their mind and come back, or the person who died will return This book is so weird. So weird that it is impossible to judge it by normal standards, which means it is perfect and gets 5 stars. It made me sad in a very amorphous way, like the sad you feel when you are growing but don't really want to. I think, whenever I read a story in which a character experiences a loss, my first instinct is to wish for their loss to be reversed. I find myself wishing that their loved one who left would change their mind and come back, or the person who died will return to life, and relieve the protagonist of their suffering. It is normal, I think, to wish for an ultimately satisfying narrative. I wish for it in the same way that I sometimes wish my own losses would be relieved, just taken away because it hurts. But this book taught me that even if it is harder, it is better to wish that the main character grow and heal from their grief, rather than for the narrative to "fix" it for them. The book is short, and sometimes very, very strange and tongue-in-cheek. Sometimes very on the nose. But it is all good, for some reason. This is a sweet, tragic, nourishing little story that I never even thought to want.
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  • Sage Agee
    January 1, 1970
    This book was a weird dream that I didn’t want to wake up from. The Seep is a sentient aliens life form that becomes a part of you, that gives you everything you want, until suffering is a thing of the old world. How are you supposed to deal with grief, in a reality that tells you you’ve transcended above negative emotions? This is Chana’s debut novel and WOW, I’m already excited for her next one, please. This story will stick with me in that constant need to question everything, even/especially This book was a weird dream that I didn’t want to wake up from. The Seep is a sentient aliens life form that becomes a part of you, that gives you everything you want, until suffering is a thing of the old world. How are you supposed to deal with grief, in a reality that tells you you’ve transcended above negative emotions? This is Chana’s debut novel and WOW, I’m already excited for her next one, please. This story will stick with me in that constant need to question everything, even/especially the good things.For a full review video watch my latest video https://youtu.be/TO1hgs4waXE
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  • emma
    January 1, 1970
    Wow. This is one that I will want to reread over and over again. It is quiet and moving. How this book explores grief and loss is so excellent. Go into this with as little as possible so you devour every word on your own.
  • Paperclippe
    January 1, 1970
    Man, I really really wanted to like this. A short, sci-fi novel with a Jewish trans woman main character about an alien invader that takes over everyone's brains and the societal repercussions of a so-called utopia. This has me written all over it.And it tried, it really did, but I think that was kind of the problem. In a lot of places, it just tried way too hard. The subtlety was missing from a lot of things, and the in-your-face nature felt forced. At the same time, it made the reader take a Man, I really really wanted to like this. A short, sci-fi novel with a Jewish trans woman main character about an alien invader that takes over everyone's brains and the societal repercussions of a so-called utopia. This has me written all over it.And it tried, it really did, but I think that was kind of the problem. In a lot of places, it just tried way too hard. The subtlety was missing from a lot of things, and the in-your-face nature felt forced. At the same time, it made the reader take a lot of things for granted - and I love coming into things en media res, but when I have to flip back five, six, seven pages to make sure I didn't miss something (and I inevitably didn't), maybe you need to build the world a little more. I also feel like the Compound was an unintentional McGuffin; it was the plot device that never was, because the plot ended up being something entirely different than the set-up seemed to want it to be.The best way I can describe this is a mash-up between Jeff VanderMeer's Dead Astronauts and Chuck Wendig's Wanderers, but lacking the cohesion and strength of them both.
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  • Tonstant Weader
    January 1, 1970
    The Seep are aliens who come to Earth in the near future. They are seemingly omnipotent beings who are pure sentience. They are joined, united, and have no physical form which makes Earth and its humans fascinating. Humans “partake” of The Seep, absorbing them and with The Seep are able to self-heal, to transform their appearance, to be immortal, even.The Seep permeates the earth, healing it of toxins and pollution, growing enough food to end all scarcity. Now that The Seep has arrived, there is The Seep are aliens who come to Earth in the near future. They are seemingly omnipotent beings who are pure sentience. They are joined, united, and have no physical form which makes Earth and its humans fascinating. Humans “partake” of The Seep, absorbing them and with The Seep are able to self-heal, to transform their appearance, to be immortal, even.The Seep permeates the earth, healing it of toxins and pollution, growing enough food to end all scarcity. Now that The Seep has arrived, there is no scarcity, no war, no poverty, no illness. The world is a Utopia, but not everyone is completely happy.Take Trina Goldberg-Oneka, she misses the struggle. She has used The Seep for years but is using less and less. When she is exposed, she even drinks some charcoal water to get it out of her system. Her wife Deeba, though, wants to go deeper with The Seep, to be reborn as a child. She would love for Trina to be her mother, to experience Trina’s love another way, but Trina can’t process that and perhaps because she could not do what Deeba wanted, she can’t process her grief at losing her.The second and third parts of the book follow Trina down to the depths of despair and her journey to save a young boy who grew up in a compound of people who have never accepted The Seep. It is also a long conversation with The Seep through her pamphlet, a self-help pamphlet that alters to the circumstances. She calls it Pam and while it seems hilarious at first, it gets a bit eerie and the conversations become much more existential. The Seep wants to learn from Trina and wants so much to make her happy, but really Trina and The Seep are learning from each other.The Seep is wonderfully inventive. I love the idea of noncorporeal aliens who are as excited as can be about being embodied. I love the idea of ending scarcity and war, though I hope it is something we can figure out without alien intervention.The surreal inventiveness of The Seep modifications, the humans with animal ears or tails like a Neko or the animals who gain consciousness and talk all reminded me of Second Life where people create avatars to embody their aspirational selves. If you imagine an avatar in the virtual world as humans, then the player behind the screen is The Seep and the avatars embody our sentience.I loved how Trina and The Seep came to understand each other and the meaning of humanity. What makes us human? The Seep does not understand something that is fundamental to Trina and that mutual understanding is something it wants desperately.The Seep will be released on January 21st. I received an e-galley from the publisher through Edelweiss.The Seep at Soho PressChana Porter author sitehttps://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpre...
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  • Lark Benobi
    January 1, 1970
    This novella is stretched artificially to 202 pages by using a small-book format and near-double spacing, and the story itself feels artificially stretched, as well, like an outline of something that might have been good, with a little more of literally -anything- added to the pages: more event, more dialogue, more passion, more differentiation between characters, more of an idea of who these people are and why I should care about them. It needed more editing, too. There is a lovely soft rhythm This novella is stretched artificially to 202 pages by using a small-book format and near-double spacing, and the story itself feels artificially stretched, as well, like an outline of something that might have been good, with a little more of literally -anything- added to the pages: more event, more dialogue, more passion, more differentiation between characters, more of an idea of who these people are and why I should care about them. It needed more editing, too. There is a lovely soft rhythm to the narrative, but the register never changes. The dialog, when it comes, is in a strange author-speak. People say things like "perhaps" and "a bit." Is their way of speaking being affected by "The Seep?" Or just evidence of a writer still looking for her voice? The characters feel somnambulant, which maybe in part can be explained by the premise of the novel, I suppose, of an alien invasion where the aliens seep into human minds and thoughts via the water and via "bodily fluids" (a phrase that reminded me of Dr. Strangelove, of course, but I don't think the author meant it that way). The characters came across as if they're stoned, and maybe this is also meant to be part of "The Seep" effect but it was hard to say for sure.There is a very good premise here, which made me excited to read the novel, but the actual experience of reading felt more like reading a synopsis of a novel that is still waiting to be written. This is a pretty harsh review because I was really looking forward to a novel where trans-ness becomes effortless, not just along a gender spectrum but in many other ways, and where people are able to express themselves outwardly with any physical shape that makes them feel most themselves. I love that idea and I'm still looking for that novel.
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  • iam
    January 1, 1970
    The Seep does that masterful thing where reading the book feels like experiencing what happens in it - because here, consuming the non-corporeal well-meaning alien lifeform invading earth makes you high, and this book certainly was a trip. Content warnings include: death, separation from loved one, racism, character shoots another person, drug and alcohol use, substance abuse, inappropriate questions about a trans person's transition; mentions of suicide.At the center of The Seep stands The Seep does that masterful thing where reading the book feels like experiencing what happens in it - because here, consuming the non-corporeal well-meaning alien lifeform invading earth makes you high, and this book certainly was a trip. Content warnings include: death, separation from loved one, racism, character shoots another person, drug and alcohol use, substance abuse, inappropriate questions about a trans person's transition; mentions of suicide.At the center of The Seep stands Trina, a butch jewish Native American trans woman, who is middle-aged and happily married to her wife Deeba when The Seep invades the earth and changes everything. And while at first the changes are global, they soon affect the two women's private relationship too.The changes The Seeps bring and how it is utilized by the people living under it are at the same time deeply fascinating, utopian and terrifying. Through Trina, who has lived with The Seep since it arrived and who sees both its advantages and drawbacks, as someone who isn't happy with everything it's lead to, who balks at some of the possibilities others have made reality, it gloriously portrayes its absurdity, grotesqueness and euphoria. The Seep is unlike anything I've ever read before. I couldn't always tell where things were leading, and what was meant with some things, but sometimes neither could Trina and I think it was part of the experience. It also failed to keep me highly engaged, however.Trina's journey is both sad, confusing and meaningful, and I quite liked some of the insights given to her along the way from others and that she reached on her own.The plot isn't all that straightforward, which was fine and fit the overall mood but I wish the ending had been a bit more conclusive - though at the same time, I can see why it wasn't. I received an ARC and reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
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  • Akemi G.
    January 1, 1970
    Haha, I love this philosophical/spiritual SF about shapeless aliens who are SOOO benevolent, so willing to help, and who make humans shapeshifters (we can be anything!) and therefore immortal (why die when you can rejuvenate?) It's a great antidote to the inspirational talks that some people quite love. Full disclosure: I indie-published a book titled Why We Are Born. There are many critical differences between natural awareness and alien-induced enlightenment. One is about willingness and leads Haha, I love this philosophical/spiritual SF about shapeless aliens who are SOOO benevolent, so willing to help, and who make humans shapeshifters (we can be anything!) and therefore immortal (why die when you can rejuvenate?) It's a great antidote to the inspirational talks that some people quite love. Full disclosure: I indie-published a book titled Why We Are Born. There are many critical differences between natural awareness and alien-induced enlightenment. One is about willingness and leads to serenity (not fake pretentious serenity but a resilient kind), the other is forced. One fears so-called negative feelings, even as they insist they accept all kinds of emotions. The Seep is invasive, and quite fearful--of rejection primarily. And yet, I know many people who get into this constant mental chatter while they genuinely intend to improve themselves. It's a baffling state because the chatter sounds so positive and filled with spiritual jargons. (shrug) It's a utopia/dystopia story, and I love the brilliant images. (I gather the author is in theater art.) Very interesting read.
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  • Leilani W
    January 1, 1970
    Though this book was set against an intriguingly magical and fantastical backdrop, the part that hit me hardest was humanity being explored and defined. How the human race, and humans as individuals, would react and adapt to The Seep was so beautifully and realistically rendered. It was beautiful and heartbreaking, and I could not put this book down.
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  • Geonn Cannon
    January 1, 1970
    A really good alien invasion story that's more about the human response than the actual aliens (who are both ever present and almost nonentities at the same time). A very quick read about surviving in a changed world, and what can happen when the needs of your partner don't mesh with your own.
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  • Leslie
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to NetGalley and Soho Press for the early review copy of The Seep.“When the aliens first made contact, Trina and her not-yet-wife, Deeba, threw one of their famous dinner parties for a select group of friends.”Picture it. Sicily. 1928. JK. Picture a not-so-distant future where aliens invade, giving humans everything they could ever want or need. The Seep is an alien collective that wants physical form in exchange for a cohesive existence among living creatures, and in return, there’s Thank you to NetGalley and Soho Press for the early review copy of The Seep.“When the aliens first made contact, Trina and her not-yet-wife, Deeba, threw one of their famous dinner parties for a select group of friends.”Picture it. Sicily. 1928. JK. Picture a not-so-distant future where aliens invade, giving humans everything they could ever want or need. The Seep is an alien collective that wants physical form in exchange for a cohesive existence among living creatures, and in return, there’s no need for possessions or ownership of anything. Trina and her wife, Deeba, seem happy enough, but when Deeba decides to partake in a sort of rebirth, reverting to infancy to be raised again in this somewhat-utopian world, free of all the inhibitions and toxic behaviors of being raised before The Seep, Trina is lost. Without Deeba, she feels completely lost, until she’s faced with the opportunity to save a young boy. In the process, she might just save herself as well.What a strange, beautiful, wonderful, little book. Please note, I am a cis, queer, white lady, and my opinions of Trina, a trans lady character are my own. I would love to read more reviews and opinions from members of the trans community, because a lot of the themes explored within the world built by The Seep have a lot to say about our own society’s views on trans folks.I don’t want to give too much away, but Porter covers a great deal of ground in this work, literally years in about 200 pages, but I was never bored, and I loved that Porter was able to create such a complex and interesting, alien world without hundreds of pages of world-building. The details provided me with enough context to perfectly picture this world Trina and her loved ones inhabit, and I was 100% on board to take that journey with her.There a bit of everything in this book. A little bit sci-fi, a little bit literary fiction, and full of colorful, whimsical, and lovely characters, It’s out now, so if you like your fiction weird, searching, and heart-warming this winter, give it a go. Also, more trans characters and voices in fiction, please and thank you. Plus, more Indigenous representation would be the bomb.com as the kids said, I dunno, ten years ago or something? Yeah, more of that!
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  • Becky Spratford
    January 1, 1970
    I will have a longer review soon, but this is one of the best utopia/dystopia books I have read in a long time. So thought provoking and a perfect book club choice.Right away I thought of WE CAST A SHADOW by by Maurice Carlos Ruffin because its speculative with extreme satire and yet, when you step back, how extreme is it really?
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  • emmy
    January 1, 1970
    Mentioned in a blog post at https://booksbeyondbinaries.blog/2019...Full review to come.
  • Lizy
    January 1, 1970
    Note: I received this ARC through one of the ABA White Boxes through my place of employment, Copperfish Books.The Seep is a story about Trina, a middle aged trans woman trying to live through an alien invasion where these parasitic, omniscient, bodiless aliens are attempting to turn Earth - and humanity - into a utopia-- whether the humans like it or not. It wouldn't be so bad, except thatthat Trina's wife of 25 years has decided to use the aliens to be reborn. As a baby. In France. This touches Note: I received this ARC through one of the ABA White Boxes through my place of employment, Copperfish Books.The Seep is a story about Trina, a middle aged trans woman trying to live through an alien invasion where these parasitic, omniscient, bodiless aliens are attempting to turn Earth - and humanity - into a utopia-- whether the humans like it or not. It wouldn't be so bad, except thatthat Trina's wife of 25 years has decided to use the aliens to be reborn. As a baby. In France. This touches off a severe cycle of suffering and grief, and it's Trina's quest to find a place for herself in this bizarrely changing world which sets the tone for The Seep.Love is an understatement for this book. I'm admittedly biased: I saw the Soho logo on this ARC and went "yup I'm gonna like this." I literally couldn't finish reading the blurb on the back because I saw "fifty year old trans woman" and "alien invasion" in one sentence and upped it to "this is mine. This is for me. None of you can have it."But make no mistake: this book is wonderful. It's funky, it's off-beat, it's crazy liberal and it questions so many things, and it's absolutely devourable. I know that's not a word, but this is the sort of book you invent new words for.
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  • Georgi
    January 1, 1970
    Finished an advance copy a couple weeks ago and can't get this book out of my mind. It's a page-turner but also more provocative than I anticipated or initially thought. Porter's utopic world feels effortlessly constructed and completely believable, protagonist Trina's pain from lost love and her resistance to change is written with a moving and human simplicity, and the story unfolds surprisingly and without gimmicks. Every fantastical element feels completely earned. But what keeps me thinking Finished an advance copy a couple weeks ago and can't get this book out of my mind. It's a page-turner but also more provocative than I anticipated or initially thought. Porter's utopic world feels effortlessly constructed and completely believable, protagonist Trina's pain from lost love and her resistance to change is written with a moving and human simplicity, and the story unfolds surprisingly and without gimmicks. Every fantastical element feels completely earned. But what keeps me thinking is the way Porter pushes into thorny questions about identity. I have a strong reaction against sci-fi that seems to speak too directly to current events, but the subtlety of her approach disarmed me. Something about the way how, in processing their own immortality, these characters are forced to confront which parts of their pasts they will keep and which they will release, and how the full spectrum of a person's identity can really be explored in this new world really rang true to me. Can't wait to read more from this author.
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  • Kimberly
    January 1, 1970
    I really wanted to love this book. The writing was beautiful and the concept was unique and had me intrigued but ultimately I found myself wanting more. I feel like the author just scratched the surface of this world and these characters and I was left wanting more of everything.
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  • Marzie
    January 1, 1970
    The Seep is a novel of speculative fiction by playwright Chana Porter. Presenting us with Trina (a Native American and Jewish trans woman doctor and artist) and Deeba, her wife, the novel begins shortly after alien contact has occurred with humans on earth. In the "softest of invasions," the sophisticated alien entity called The Seep infiltrates the consciousness of humans, providing them with the means to fulfill their dreams in myriad ways. But it's a tricky process, as Trina finds out when The Seep is a novel of speculative fiction by playwright Chana Porter. Presenting us with Trina (a Native American and Jewish trans woman doctor and artist) and Deeba, her wife, the novel begins shortly after alien contact has occurred with humans on earth. In the "softest of invasions," the sophisticated alien entity called The Seep infiltrates the consciousness of humans, providing them with the means to fulfill their dreams in myriad ways. But it's a tricky process, as Trina finds out when Deeba decides to leave their marriage and start her life all over as the daughter of a Persian couple in the South of France. Trina is left heartbroken, but she isn't lured into The Seep's plan of trying to assuage her loss with similar offers, which effectively would alter her memory and perceptions of Deeba. While she can see things that The Seep has improved (no wars, because everyone is drunk on their personal happiness), Trina also feels that for some, particularly herself, The Seep has broken her irretrievably. She also questions whether the growth the world seems to have made is real since she believes some degree of unhappiness is necessary to drive change in people. And with The Seep messing with people's thoughts and memories, she has a lot of questions about whether The Seep is ultimately just erasing human existence.This is a thought-provoking novella* that contemplates our mortality, existence, and how we define ourselves through our relationships with others. *Though sold as a novel, at a slender 216 pages, it appears to be novella length?"Oh, babe, go figure out who you are without me." ~ DeebaI received a Digital Review Copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Krys
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher I was able to read this in exchange for an honest review.***The Seep follows Trina in the wake of the world’s gentlest alien invasion.The Seep are here to help and make things easier in exchange for a symbiotic like relationship so they can experience things and learn from their new planet hosts. Trina has lived through the beginning and makes it quite a way through the new world change when her wife decides to make a life altering change that leaves Trina Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher I was able to read this in exchange for an honest review.***The Seep follows Trina in the wake of the world’s gentlest alien invasion.The Seep are here to help and make things easier in exchange for a symbiotic like relationship so they can experience things and learn from their new planet hosts. Trina has lived through the beginning and makes it quite a way through the new world change when her wife decides to make a life altering change that leaves Trina grief stricken and lost in a world that is already so alien. She spirals for years following her wife’s choice and then has an encounter that wakes her up and takes her on an existential experience.This book is the best kind of “wtf”. It explores the idea of Utopia and what that would look like and mean, it takes and explores what it means to be human when it’s so easy to be anyone/thing now and how it can confuse identity in the process. It’s a bizarre adventure of life and what it means to have choice and utilize it.This book probably won’t be for everyone, like I said, a little bit “wtf”, but for those that find it I hope they enjoy Trina’s journey as much as I did.
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  • Cassidy Washburn
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.A uniquely complex utopian novel, filled with life lessons and great representation. As with many utopian novels, the main point of conflict is the lack of free will but this novel also addresses themes of race and morality, and what is truly ethical when the world has essentially become “healed.” Trina is a Native American, Trans woman who is starting to question whether the sentient being known as “The Seep” is actually good or not. Sure, it I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.A uniquely complex utopian novel, filled with life lessons and great representation. As with many utopian novels, the main point of conflict is the lack of free will but this novel also addresses themes of race and morality, and what is truly ethical when the world has essentially become “healed.” Trina is a Native American, Trans woman who is starting to question whether the sentient being known as “The Seep” is actually good or not. Sure, it has eradicated sickness, cleaned the air and seas, and allowed people to become immortal, but how far is too far? After her wife restarts life as a baby, Trina falls apart. This short novel follows her journey as she tries to heal from her loss and figure out who she is without her loved ones.It’s a beautiful tale and a fast read. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for something new and different!
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  • Kara Bianca
    January 1, 1970
    I forget how much I love the new-weird genre till I read something like this and my mind is BLOWN. This story follows Trina, a trans-woman, whose wife leaves her to become a baby again when an alien race known as the Seep invades and totally revolutionises human society. Now, everyone is connected, everyone can change their cells as they want, and follow all their whims and desires. The actual process of the Seep's technology isn't described in detail but its affects are clearly understood I forget how much I love the new-weird genre till I read something like this and my mind is BLOWN. This story follows Trina, a trans-woman, whose wife leaves her to become a baby again when an alien race known as the Seep invades and totally revolutionises human society. Now, everyone is connected, everyone can change their cells as they want, and follow all their whims and desires. The actual process of the Seep's technology isn't described in detail but its affects are clearly understood within the confines of the novel. Trina is left devastated and grieving her not-dead wife, and the Seep is working to bring her back into the fold. This book is a great exploration of grief, identity, individuality versus hive-mind style dynamics, and really explores the dark problems that arise out of the potential utopia. The writing style is funny and poignant, and I think so many people will really enjoy it!
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