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Rin moves into a new flat on the day the aliens arrive. Their new flatmates are laid-back Sanjay and conspiracy theorist Pete. It doesn't take long to notice some oddities about the pair, like hoarding cardboard and hissing at people when they're angry. Something strange is going on, but it's not all due to the aliens.

79 pages, Kindle Edition

First published April 1, 2018

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About the author

Polenth Blake

23 books52 followers
I'm a fantasy and science fiction writer. When I'm not writing, I enjoy walking and art. I live in England with my pet cockroaches.

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5 stars
42 (39%)
4 stars
34 (31%)
3 stars
27 (25%)
2 stars
1 (<1%)
1 star
3 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 37 reviews
Profile Image for Tyler Gray.
Author 2 books225 followers
May 14, 2023
I came for an entertaining story, not to have a million lectures shoved down my throat. Lectures that mostly I agree with, but that still doesn't make it less irritating. It felt more like "how many morals and lessons can I shove down readers throats?" and less like "how can I make an entertaining story?"
Profile Image for Claudie Arseneault.
Author 19 books408 followers
June 9, 2018
This was absolutely wonderful and exactly what I was in the mood for.

Rin's dry sense of humour and sarcasm turns this alien invasion/first contact novella into pure delight. Polenth Blake's worlds never cease to amaze me--always unexpected, always genuine and kind, always diverse (WERECOCKROACHES centers several queer characters of colour with disability, and the narrator is agender, aromantic, and asexual, and the words are used within the text). I also loved the focus on the developing friendship between three flatmates, and Rin's pre-existing relationship with their old neighbour.

All in all, this was a great read, and I wish I currently had the time & energy to properly detail EVERYTHING awesome in it. There's a lot, I promise.
Profile Image for Solly.
467 reviews30 followers
July 6, 2020
This was very weird and I loved it so much and wanted it to be longer. It was short but I loved the main characters, loved the queer and neurodivergent rep, and loved how unapologetically weird the sff elements were. Genuinely, the only thing I didn't like about this is that I wanted more of Rin, Sanjay and Pete.

Edit: Gonna write a slightly more detailed review than what I wrote just above yesterday night just after finishing this novella.

This is a Weird SFF Story and I love those with all my heart. It has, as the title indicates, werecokroaches (and how awesome is that??) and an alien invasion and queer found family and a kickass trans grandma.

It's a weirdly fun and lighhearted story, with a Triple A (aro, ace, agender) main character with a dry sense of humour and a distinct voice, and I loved Rin with all my heart. My favourite character might have been Pete, though, an aspec assistant librarian with a love for conspiracy theories. He was the best and I loved him so much. And there was Sanjay, who tried his best to be patient and functional for the three of them. The three characters had excellent characterization and I loved the little found family they created. I really appreciated how queer and neurodiverse this was, too. There was so much rep! Two of the three main characters are PoC, two are aspec, Sanjay is bisexual, and there's disability rep too. Most importantly though, I fell hard and quick for the characters, which made me incredibly invested in this weird little SFF story.

I really appreciated how different the aliens were from what I've previously read in the subgenre, and how they weren't based on humans at all, and were very different from humanity. It's worht repeating too, but werecockroaches??? Amazing. I want so much more unlikely shapeshifters in my stories.

It was a fun, wild ride, with absolutely amazing characters and queer found family, which I absolutely love. I definitely want to read more by the author.
Profile Image for Mo.
645 reviews15 followers
June 21, 2018
4.5 stars, bumped up because it made me so happy

Werecockroach is strange, hilarious, and wonderfully queer-diverse. If someone had told me there was a science fiction novella about non-metaphorical werecockroaches, an alien invasion, and possibly the end of the world, and then asked me to free-associate, the words “charming” and “heartwarming” probably would not have come up, but there I was getting tearful warm fuzzies. This story is enchanting in every possible way. Polenth Blake is a writer to watch.
Profile Image for Bogi Takács.
Author 55 books579 followers
April 23, 2019
This was fun. Reflects on Kafka's Metamorphosis (I had at least three people ask me about this), but so different from it that I cannot even call it a subversion or anything, it is more like a... distant parallel. Very ownvoices, too, and the aliens are great. I'd love a sequel. Probably more later, but this is going into my 2018 novella highlights too.

Source of the book: Patreon backer reward from the author
Profile Image for Pam.
848 reviews23 followers
October 27, 2020
This has to be the most delightful "alien invasion" story ever. Rin's dry, dry sarcasm is catnip for me, and combining that with Pete's conspiracy theories at the moment of an actual alien sighting was good stuff. 

And it's just so clever. Even when it's at its silliest, it's clever silly. Realistic silly, even. I loved the direction it took, I loved that I didn't have to turn my brain off to enjoy it (because I don't do that very well), and I loved the humor. 

It's short -- even shorter than that page count since the last chapter is basically a flashback from one of the tertiary character's POVs -- and I really wanted to see what was next for this budding friends-as-family group since I felt like Rin was almost as much of a mystery to me as they were intentionally being with their new roommates, but I found the ending satisfying enough to enjoy it and recommend it to anyone looking for a quick diversion that's smart, funny and different from anything else you've read.
Profile Image for Tsana Dolichva.
Author 4 books64 followers
March 25, 2021
An unexpectedly compelling novella. Funny and well-written. And you don't have to like cockroaches to enjoy it (I am not personally a cockroach fan). Also contains queer, disabled and ace characters. And aliens.
Profile Image for Kamilla.
101 reviews2 followers
March 10, 2020
A charming story following our unflappable protagonist as they navigate new roommates and an alien encounter.

This story was certainly easy to read. Clocking in at around 70 pages, I finished this in a few hours. I was a bit surprised by how.... smooth everything went. I think this entire plotline was just overwhelmingly neutral. Neutral reactions to extreme scenarios, neutral outcomes to seemingly large conflicts and people living ordinary lives, despite their extraordinary backgrounds.

Usually novellas and short stories make up for their brevity with extra 'punch' per page. This didn't feel the same for Werecockroach. Unfortunately, I felt as though I was reading a story outline instead of the story itself.

However, it was a really good premise and a cool concept. I liked the characters and I liked the setting. I just would have preferred to have a little less happen, and a bit more depth explored.
Profile Image for Tanya.
951 reviews16 followers
September 29, 2020
... battles were always involving me that I couldn’t control. Once I’d got over the whole spaceship thing, the aliens hadn’t turned out to be that different in the end. Most humans didn’t ask me if I wanted to be involved either. [loc. 576]

Rin, who's lost everything in a fire, is about to move into a shared flat in London. Unfortunately, moving day is also the day the alien spaceship appears over London, causing widespread panic and disruption. Rin, however, is pragmatic: their new flatmates, Sanjay and Pete, seem to respect this, and accept Rin's stated identity (non-binary, asexual, aromantic) and disabilities (partial deafness, dyslexia). Turns out this is because both Sanjay and Pete have divergencies of their own.

This is a short sweet novella, in which aliens abduct almost everyone in London except for Rin, Sanjay and Pete. Rin is surprised and pleased to be so quickly accepted by their companions, and together -- with the help of Rin's old friend Addie -- they manage to successfully achieve First Contact, though the aliens' translation machine is based on the Internet. ("With this one weird trick, communication with any human is possible. We hope it gives you all the feels." [loc. 1069]) Misunderstandings cleared up, a new era dawns.

I loved Rin and their perpetual snark, which contrasted nicely with Pete's conspiracy theories and Sanjay's solid good sense. Rin does seem to have another set of secrets, to which Addie refers: "I had a policy of waiting at least six months before I’d share with someone I’d met," thinks Rin. I am intrigued.

Queer, neurodivergent, and cheerful: I enjoyed this, and am pleased to discover that the author is working on a sequel.
Profile Image for Nina ( picturetalk321 ).
538 reviews30 followers
September 18, 2020
A truly weird short indie book. It is so indie that it doesn't even have shutterstock-generated cover art but a title and a cockroach hand-drawn by the author -- which I appreciated no end.

This book is about an alien invasion and about people who are also cockroaches. It is written in a dry and wry style, fully embraces the uniqueness of everyone (I really liked the respect for pronouns, be they "them" or "ze", for difference, for neuro-atypicality, for skin colour not leading to stereotypical associations, for the whole spectrum of sexualities and asexualities) and the celebration of friendship. The three main characters are truly eccentric, and not in the Hollywood movie "hey I'm a quirky pixie" way, either.

And what is truly magnificent is the alienness of the aliens which made me think about our own alienness. The aliens initially think that ants rule the world -- and who, indeed, is to say them nay? It is only our own anthropocentric perspective that renders this assumption absurd but aliens who simply find our buildings and cities irrelevant and zero in on termite mounds? Pretty wonderful. And also thinky.

There is much humour here and much meta.

"We stared at the aliens. They waggled their antennae back.

'Hi,' said Peter. 'We come in peace."

Format: A well-formatted e-book with good proofreading - more than can be said for many mainstream publications!
Profile Image for Fairyhedgehog.
11 reviews1 follower
April 6, 2018
Very, very funny and entertaining.

The characters are great and I'd love to read more about them. The plot is zany and unpredictable, and it all comes together brilliantly in the end.

I loved it.
Profile Image for ν1ятυα.
259 reviews2 followers
October 27, 2020

This was such a delightfully strange read, a bit different from most books that I've read this year and yet I really liked it all the same.
Profile Image for Sophie A. Katz.
112 reviews1 follower
November 1, 2020
While reading Werecockroach, I kept looking back to check when this book was published. The answer is 2018, but it could have fooled me into thinking it was written this year.

“There was nothing to be done about the aliens,” Rin narrates, “so it was easier to focus on the easy things, like making another pot of tea.”

Replace “aliens” with your choice of 2020 disaster, and you’ll see what I mean. Suffice to say that this was the perfect point in my life to read this book. It has a sarcastic humor relatable to twentysomethings facing situations far beyond our control.

The story is short enough that discussing too much of the plot would be a spoiler, so I will keep this brief. Werecockroach is unashamedly silly. The narration is fun, the cast is quirky, and the world is consistently detailed enough to feel as real as our own, even though this version of reality includes aliens and werecockroaches. Take it at face value; it very much is exactly what it is.

Regarding ace and aro representation – because y’all know I’m all about ace and aro representation – this book includes your typical scene which answers the “what is asexuality” question. What’s great about it is that the response to this explanation is, “Oh, cool, me too.” It’s still pretty rare for just one ace character to exist in a story, so having two out of four central characters be aro-ace is, frankly, delightful.
Profile Image for iam.
982 reviews130 followers
April 3, 2020
Read this review and more on the blog!

I absolutely adored this!

Rin, the protagonist, has an amazingly distinct voice that I loved reading. Their humor and sarcasm frequently made me laugh, and I loved that despite their cynicism they were not an ass about it.
The plot was great and very unique, features aliens and, well, werecockroaches, and I loved the slowly developing relationship between Rin and their new flatmates.

All of the characters we meet are interesting and fun to encounter, always leaving me eager to learn more about them, and I loved how diverse the entire cast is! Various queer rep, POC and disabilities are casually implemented into Werecockroach, starting with Rin, who is non-binary, aromantic and asexual, brown, dyslexic and has hidden hearing loss and tinnitus.

I enjoyed this novella greatly and recommend it highly, please don't let the title or cover scare you away!
I have a pretty intense phobia when it comes to various crawlies (part of why I challenged myself to read this, aside from the a-spec rep) , and I had no problems reading this - in fact, all roaches featured in this were quite adorable!
Profile Image for hedgehog.
216 reviews32 followers
September 3, 2020
I wish I had read the novella everyone else reviewing this has. It was not funny, none of the disparate parts hung together in any coherent way, and the writing style was tedious with plentiful dashes of overexplaining things in ways that would just stop the narrative dead, every time. It's 97 pages and took me two weeks to read because I kept finding excuses to do literally anything else. One star because half of my basement is decluttered now thanks to this novella.
Profile Image for Baylee.
886 reviews130 followers
September 25, 2022
Puoi trovare questa recensione anche sul mio blog, La siepe di more

Allora, visto che l’inglese non è la mia lingua madre e che il lessico relativo agli insetti non è il mio forte, mi ero convinta che werecockroach fosse un tipo particolare di cockroach, ovvero di blatta (non è decisamente il libro adatto a chi schifa gli insetti). Questo, oppure il mio cervello rifiutava di prendere in considerazione l’idea di blatte mannare: invece è proprio quello che significa il titolo. Blatta mannara.

Che ingenua a pensare che l’elemento più bizzarro della storia fosse un’invasione aliena.

Stranamente, però, questo libro funziona. Un sacco. Racconta una storia così balzana e così piena di sarcasmo che mi ha divertito tanto da farmi rimpiangere il fatto che fosse un romanzo breve. Il fatto che Blake abbia (e abbia avuto) delle blatte come animali domestici fa sì che conosca molto bene le caratteristiche e il comportamento di questi insetti e che l’abbia inserito in maniera coerente nella sua storia (per esempio, apparentemente le blatte detestano i cetrioli e c’è una scena molto divertente con le blatte mannare alle prese con questo ortaggio).

Per quanto riguarda l’arrivo dellз alienз, è ovvio che sconvolga la vita di questз tre coinquilinз (Rin, appena arrivatǝ, Peter e Sanjay), che non hanno il tempo di familiarizzare che subito devono entrare in modalità sopravvivenza. E anche questз alienз, poi, che ci mettono così tanto a materializzarsi e che pensavano pure che le forme di vita più intelligenti del pianeta fossero le formiche…
Profile Image for Kerstin.
196 reviews6 followers
December 4, 2020
It's strange, it knows that it's strange, and I just gotta respect that. And I, too, have been judged for my hatred of cucumbers.

This is one of those indie books that are so clearly written for an LGBTQIA+ audience because all of the main characters are LGBTQIA+ in some way. And as someone who literally doesn't have any straight friends, it's always such a "Cheers, I'll drink to that"* kind of thing for me. The lines about disliking coming out as a-spec because it always feels awkward and like you're reading from a dictionary were really relatable for me, oof.

A fun tale of friendship and found family and literal werecockroaches. Maybe the absurdness just hits different in a lockdown for a pandemic I didn't expect to be dealing with for the whole damn year, but somehow it just works for me.

*I'd drink something non-alcoholic; I just like that reaction GIF
Profile Image for Ana.
370 reviews6 followers
March 23, 2019

It's hard to come across something that feels really creative and innovative these days, but this work really surprised the hell out of me, in great ways! So strange in such delightful ways that did not feel haphazard, just... off the beaten path. Extremely fun, heartwarming, relatable, while also helmed by a sarcastic hero who doesn't expect to be able to trust anybody. Just a delight all around. Loads of things were skillfully explored in a novella length - neurodivergence, making new friends, having to start life over, poverty & capitalism, found family, the problem of communication with creatures that are fundamentally different from one's own perspective - exactly the kind of story I love.
Profile Image for Joanna.
1,807 reviews38 followers
February 25, 2021
Dieses Buch ist ziemlich abgedreht und nur ein klein wenig verrückt. Wer sowas nicht mag - nun gut, wer sowas nicht mag, greift wohl kaum zu einem Buch mit dem Titel "Werecockroach".

Bei Blake geht alles drunter und drüber, er mixt, was es zu mixen gibt, und erzählt seine Geschichte mit viel trockenem Humor, fast schon irnosch/zynisch. Ich mag das. Ich mag das sogar sehr und kam aus dem Grinsen oftmals gar nicht mehr heraus.

Die Ideen in diesem Buch sind frisch und frech, anders, unkonventionell. Der Autor geht Pfade abseits des Mainstreams, aber daran muss man sich entweder gewöhnen oder mit der erforderlichen Neugierde an das Buch herangehen.

Wer mal etwas Anderes lesen möchte, ist mit diesem Titel definitiv nicht schlecht beraten.
1 review8 followers
February 21, 2022
I absolutely loved this story. After the first page made me laugh literally out loud, I had to go for it! And my hopes were met brilliantly. Gentle is an excellent word for this book: cozy SFF, found family, a genuinely snarky narrator (which is so rare!) and deft, delicate handling of so many identities. And, I was very pleased and excited by the short story added to the end. I would love to read more in this universe!

Just a perfect delight, and it's so nice when you find a writer you can trust to handle a story well; reading this book felt like slipping into a warm bath. I now have a new backlist to explore.
Profile Image for Helen Whistberry.
Author 25 books56 followers
July 29, 2023
One of those times when the book cover and title caught my eye and I had to give it a try. What a fun surprise! When Rin moves on the same day as an alien invasion, mayhem and friendships ensue. Can Rin and their new roommates (who have some puzzling habits) save the day? A truly entertaining and unexpected alien invasion novella that does not go anywhere you expect it to at any moment right through to the end. Sharply defined, appealing, and truly diverse (in every sense of the word) characters, lots of humor and warmth, thrills and absurd situations all made this a delight. Will definitely be seeking out more of this author's work!
165 reviews1 follower
February 4, 2019
It's hard to keep secrets during an alien invasion. A fun tale of first contact, told on the personal scale of three flatmates, two of whom might not - it turns out - be entirely human. There are no laser battles or crashing motherships here. The story is told gently, and remains focused on kind people.
Profile Image for shannon  Stubbs.
1,653 reviews2 followers
June 4, 2018

This story was interesting and different. I liked the adventure the three roommates went on. It definitely had a surprise at the end.
Profile Image for Ash.
702 reviews13 followers
June 22, 2018
This was a charming and strange and fun little story. I highly recommend it for a quick read.
Profile Image for Barry.
47 reviews8 followers
December 9, 2018
This was a very fun read! I'd love to read more about the three main characters, I really liked all of them and I really liked the focus on their developing friendship during the alien invasion.
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