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The Sea Came in at Midnight

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  620 ratings  ·  71 reviews
Steve Erickson is a visionary novelist whose time has come. Considered by many the secret heir to Pynchon and DeLillo, he has steadily acquired a passionate following of readers over the course of five previous novels. Now, with "The Sea Came at Midnight," Erickson delivers a masterwork of intense feeling, scope and power--an intimate epic of late twentieth-century civiliz ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published May 1st 2000 by Harper Perennial (first published 1999)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,426)
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karen
this review is for all of the people "following my reviews". i dont know who you are. you dont message me or comment on my reviews, or vote for them. i dont know what you are getting out of this relationship. the only thing i can think of is that you are waiting for me to make the first move and review something just for you. so here it is: read this book. this is one of the best books i have ever read, and it is out of print, (although its sequel is still in print - go figure) so you are going ...more
Mariel
May 09, 2012 Mariel rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: I time travelled to 1987 and it wasn't as good as The Butterfly Effect
Recommended to Mariel by: goodreaders who are better reviewers than me as it is celestially possible to be
Naked:
Undisguised
Honest
Alone

To my regret, although not great regret because I despised this book within the first ten pages, Steve Erickson is:

point-misser:
Seventeen year old girl Kristin is described as precocious...

Precocious:
The author just tells you that they are special.

Oh yeah, so point-misser, as she tells it is missing the point of the thing and this is distinguished from not being able to see that there's a picture at all. (Kristin is not a point-misser because she misses the view. I st
...more
Bill
i started reading this book for two reasons. first, i'd already read another of erickson's novels (tours of the black clock), and thought it was great, and second, i know it's one of karen's favorite books.

i have always read a lot. in fact my mother tells people that when i was born, i came out reading a book. i have no idea how many books i've read, but it's definitely over 5000. i read mostly fiction, mostly novels. i like the vast majority of the books that i read, because i know what kinds o
...more
Mike Puma
First: the disclaimer—I’m not sure I gave this book the chance it deserved. I read it slowly—picking it up and putting it down, too few pages at a reading. Consequently, whatever pacing the author intended was lost on me; my fault not his.

This is one that likely deserves to be read as a mystery of sorts, as it reveals itself slowly, over pages, so-and-so is actually so-and-so. And like all mysteries, it’s probably best accomplished in as few readings as possible. All the characters fit togethe

...more
aidan w-m
Sep 14, 2014 aidan w-m added it
Shelves: 2014
in many ways, erickson is everything i find obnoxious in murakami: the densely connected but unparsable plot threads (though erickson does a much better job of crafting a satisfying narrative), the gratuitous unrealistic sex, the demonstration of central ideas prioritized over analysis. he's got all that, & not what i actually like about murakami: the overpowering atmosphere. there's a comic book momentum to erickson's novels, combined with intricate plot structures, which means any atmosphe ...more
Paul
Oops, looks like I'm the only goodreader who hated this pretentious male fantasy. How many more edgy, slightly SM or even completely SM relationships will we be presented with by male authors, in each of which the S part of the relationship is the man and the M part is the woman, and the man remains clothed and the woman is mostly unclothed, and the man is older and the woman considerably younger? By contrast with all this Blue Velvet, Last Tango in Paris, Secretary-style art, porn is blazingly ...more
Szplug
On the final day of 999, an entire village of Armorican peasants awaited the imminent millennial ocean flood in dozens of wooden boats perched atop poles - an entire village but one. One thousand years later, another congerie of dazed believers march, lemming-like, to embrace the dawn of the third millenium by way of free-fall off of a thousand foot cliff on the California coast. In both cases, the chiliastic fever burned itself out unrealized: it will take a different sort - those with no faith ...more
Drew
Like House of Leaves, but NOT good. Well, it's pretty accomplished, I guess. But I had serious problems with it. Where to begin?

When you have several different narrators, they're usually different characters with distinct voices. In this, Erickson has three female narrators (Kristin, Angie, and Louise) who are all pretty similar: they're hardened, secretive, empowered loners who can take care of themselves except when there's literally any guy around. When there's a guy around, they all have a w
...more
Eh?Eh!
Literature already makes me put on my dunce cap and massage my eyebrows in preparation for knitted confusion, but this one more so than others. I'm not sure what happened in the book. Several stories intricately pulled together, sometimes talking at you and something observing next to you, a lost woman, a lost man, another lost woman, several lost people, why don't they just talk it out oh yeah then it wouldn't be Literature, huh?, something about missing the present because of focus on the end ...more
Adam Floridia
I expected the book to be about “In the final seconds of the old millennium, 1,999 women and children march off the edge of a cliff in Northern California, urged on by a cult of silent men in white robes. Kristin was meant to be the two-thousandth to fall. But when at the last moment she flees, she exchanges one dark destiny for a future that will unravel the present.” I mean, since I copied and pasted that from the “blurb,” it’s a reasonable assumption, right? Let me spoil the first 25 pages fo ...more
Melissa
A bunch of drivel with S&M fantasies enacted on women thrown in for no apparent reason- aside from Erickson probably wanking to them at night and feeling it is absolutely imperative to share his fucked up imaginings with the world.
Colleen
Masterpiece. A spell of regret and loss permeate the lives of six or more characters who seem to have no relationship to each other. The axis of the story is the new millenium, which one character places in Paris of 1968. That's when the chaos began for him personally. Erickson shows a slide into alienation that starts closer to midcentury and permeates the life of everyone by the year 2000. Deep beneath the question of 'What's missing?' are the answers some of these people find in their odd que ...more
Christina Wilder
This book was just...(arms flail)

Starts out great. The young protagonist starts talking to a recently deceased man, telling him about her past. She'd escaped from a doomsday cult, and ended up homeless and starving. A man takes her in, but he basically uses her as a sex toy while he creates a calendar counting down the end of the world.

Two damaged people often don't amount to happily ever after, but it just seemed a lot like randomness thrown onto the page, with rape thrown in. It just didn't wo
...more
Stuti (Turmeric isn't your friend. It will fly your ship
this is the kind of book i'm going to come back to years and years later, when i have thrice the experience i hold in my memories right now. even now, having scratched only the surface of it, this book is just so fucking... ugh i don't know, it just is. you'll know when you read it, okay? in that sense, it's like silently and very fast. so this is basically what i have to say of this book.

also, don't read this in one go, is my advice.
Chrissy
Wow.
This is one of those rare books that is short in pages but unending in its impact. It's a book that seems easy, until you realize it only seems that way because its more difficult ideas are so inaccessible to you that all your mind can do is try to avoid them, and then of course Erickson will not let you avoid them forever; a book that seems predictable, until you realize that you don't understand chaos, and then of course that you never can or will; a book that seems to be saying one thing
...more
Erin
Dec 28, 2014 Erin rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Erin by: karen
Though I thoroughly enjoyed this book I will be the first to say that it's not for everyone...however for fans of China Mieville or David Mitchell you are likely going to find something to enjoy here. A mix of magical realism and an incredibly gritty version of present day Erickson covers the lives (and often the deaths) of a number of constantly intertwining characters (in fact sometimes I felt I needed a flow chart to keep up with the relationships) - Kristen, the Occupant, Louise, Angie, Carl ...more
Anna
Recently I gave myself a treat by buying a stack of cheap second hand books off eBay. They had all been on my to read list for a long time, most of them so long that I’d forgotten precisely why I intended to read them in the first place. The summaries all seemed intriguing, however, so I decided to trust my past self. I must say, the first three have been rather a let down, this one especially so. From the blurb, I anticipated that this novel would be a literary examination of the apocalyptic at ...more
Ross
This was the craziest thing I've read in some time. But I mean that in a good way. This a very surreal look at our lives, how our memories are important to us, and tries to answer questions about what's missing in our existence.
The story begins with Kristen, who is working at a "memory hotel" in Tokyo, when her client dies. Waiting for the proper people to pick up the body, she begins to tell him her story, starting a year before, on December 31st, 1999. From her encounters with cults, crazy les
...more
Jonfaith
The errant effects and disputed origins of the drugs would have been more central; however such causal chains were lost amidst the shrieking of the John Zorn playing overhead. Mr. E stepped back into an alcove, nearly door-stopping an Asian woman explaining her theory of Brakhage to her snoring Nordic boyfriend. Oops he muttered, but only to his soul. One day, he droned, I'll write a perfect novel, one which captures the amniotic insanity of cinema and how we are nascent suicides forever reachin ...more
Michael
Somewhat more personal than his other novels and a step above my last one ( Tours of the Black Clock ). Unlike his other books, the fantastic elements are a little more discreet. I found the notion of the Apocalyptic Calendar fascinating.
Gaby
This was my first Steve Erickson novel, and I must say that it will be my last. This novel is rife with babble about memories, chaos, faith, and dreams, but it only tangentially addresses these themes with murky symbolism. I must admit that I am generally wary of these types of books that profess to make some sort of grand statement about a theme, but The Sea Came in at Midnight surpassed grand statements and went straight into pretentious dreck territory. I am interested in exploring our modern ...more
Fee
If you have kids, u may not wish for them to read this book. It got pretty dark. But if your okay with letting your kid hang out accepting their uncle sandusky's invitation watching Goonies in his dungeon which is his favorite Steven Spielberg flick, then go right ahead. You may ask how I know his favorite flick? Leave it up to berg making a movie about a group of boys chasing after one eyed willie's treasure the whole movie. Did I just make you like this movie less? I digress, what's good is to ...more
Kjetil Svarstad
"La oss si jeg kunne få gjøre det hele på ny: og at jeg endret på alt. Si jeg overga meg litt mer til tro og litt mindre til visjon, si jeg kunne ta tilbake den første løgnen som knuste et hjerte, si at ved å slå meg til ro med noe mindre faktisk vant noe større. Si at alt jeg gjorde var ugjort, si at alt ugjort var gjort. Si at jeg ved å utnytte kaos i kraft av min egen skaperkraft lærte tiltro i kraft av mitt eget liv. Si kjærlighet vant hver eneste kamp over feighet. Si jeg ikke tenkte så for ...more
McKenzie
The Sea Came in at Midnight, will leave you feeling the irresistible pull of the ocean, leave you wanting to return to the shore of time, memory and tide again and again and also set out across the sea and chart new experiences.

”Like a midnight tide, abandonment rushed in…”


Erickson attempts to anchor core senses of identity that are adrift in his characters in a sea change of randomness of the new, and of everything in-flux. He does this through giving his post-modern, time-woven, apocalyptic
...more
Christy
Not terrible, but the Pynchon and Delillo comparison is just marketing. Those men are masters of prose style, for one thing, and he's all right but not that good. As far as worldview's concerned, he fits more with David Foster Wallace and Mark Danielewski, without all their belabored technical hoo-haw. His mythology, like theirs, is really reducible to late 20th century White American Male Angst - obsessed with the broken family, the broken couple, the only social units they really care about. H ...more
Kevin
For me, the magic of Steve Erickson is this: every single one of his novels has been a genuine page-turner. Many have written about the strangeness of his books, but it is also possible to look past the fantastical elements and dream logic and appreciate the powerful narratives and universal themes that they serve. What I found in this book was a timeless dramatic structure, classical in how events escalate into conflict, and how conflict inevitably leads into satisfying resolutions. It is a tru ...more
Nancy Oakes
It is a good thing I like fiction that's off the beaten path because this book is definitely out there. Very dark, very deep and I'm sure I'm going to read it again in the near future because I'm sure many of the nuances in the book have escaped me. It is totally a novel about coincidence on a majorly cosmic scale; full of symbolism that I can't even begin to explain (but there are several scholarly treatises on this novel that do so that I plan to peruse over the next few days).

In the year 999
...more
Bud Mallar
Don't remember the exact reason I got this book - more likely it sounded interesting and was on sale at Amazon for $1.99

I'm glad I read it, but not sure another Steve Erickson is in my immediate future.

First, my short term memory isn't what it was, like some days I don't remember what I ate for breakfast, and I did loose track of some of the characters as the story shifted from one to the other, and it was important to keep those relationships straight, as, in the long run, it mattered.

Which is
...more
Colin McKay Miller
Looks like my first Steve Erickson will be my last.

There's a story I should like in The Sea Came in At Midnight: At the dawn of the new millennium, 2000 cult members are set to walk off a cliff. The problem is, number 2000 -- a teenage runaway named Kristin -- decides to turn back and instead connects with a man, the Occupant, who's trying to make sense of the world by creating a calendar based on tragic events.

Alas it gets garbled quickly: Erickson tells the stories of other people, but it neve
...more
Ubik 2.0
Un sogno non è altro che un ricordo del futuro.

Come gli altri due romanzi di Steve Erickson, Arc d’X e Zeroville, che credo siano la totalità dei libri pubblicati in Italia di questo autore, anche “Il mare arriva a mezzanotte” è un’opera a struttura labirintica caratterizzata da un complesso groviglio di rimandi, allusioni, coincidenze e simboli.

Ma mentre i due libri citati, Zeroville soprattutto, mantenevano un fulcro portante attorno al quale erano tessute le divagazioni e le deviazioni dal
...more
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Memory 1 7 Aug 24, 2009 01:44PM  
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5279
Stuttered as a child, a motif which often appears in his writing.

Began writing stories at age seven. Began publishing as a teen. Wrote first novel at seventeen.

Studied film and journalism at UCLA.

Received Guggenheim Fellowship in 2007.

More about Steve Erickson...
Zeroville Days Between Stations Tours of the Black Clock These Dreams of You Arc d'X

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“If I had it to do all over again . . . I wouldn't change a thing.'. . . the final expression of narcissism, the last gesture of self-congratulation.” 9 likes
“Lets say from the first moment of my life, everything's always been about me and nothing else, including apocalypse and chaos; let's say even apocalypse and chaos have been conceits of my psyche and bad faith--this assumes I ever kept any kind of faith at all, bad or otherwise...Let's say I'm faithlessness made flesh, the modern age's leap of faith stopped dead in its tracks, fucking around with apocalypse and chaos only because in some broken part of me, among any wreckage of honor or altruism or commitment of compassion, or the bits and pieces of moral vanity, I really believed the abyss was always just the playground of my imagination, and I was its bully.” 1 likes
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