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The Seep

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  1,303 ratings  ·  341 reviews
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, everyt
Hardcover, 203 pages
Published January 21st 2020 by Soho Press
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One Sentence Reviews Well if you can make those comparisons then there really isn't much "new ground" to break, eh? I would say your comment wraps it up well enough. It's …moreWell if you can make those comparisons then there really isn't much "new ground" to break, eh? I would say your comment wraps it up well enough. It's less about the alien invasion or sci-fi possibilities, and more about grief and identity; how a person can be defined by others or what they have lost. I personally loved it. It was a subtle and understated narrative that took some big swings and nailed most of them. (less)

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Average rating 3.66  · 
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chai ♡
find this review & others on my blog

The novel’s title, I think, is a perfect nod at the tale within: a story that, for the space of a few pages, fills the room like water, seeping into every corner, fluid enough to make its way into the minds and hearts of its readers through all sorts of different angles.

Imagine that it were possible to take one step out of reality, into a place of pure pleasure, far from the familiar tin-can clatter of today’s misery. A place where hierarchies are pick
Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
It’s interesting, I wasn’t really loving this book. I read the whole first half feeling somewhat uninterested and unsure of this world. It had more humor and less detailed writing than I expected. And then it had to gnaw at a very fresh wound: my grief.

I lost my grandpa only a couple of months ago. Sometimes reading about death doesn’t impact me, I feel a distance from the writing or the situation, but this wasn’t one of those times. After not feeling sure about this book I spent the last few c
Nenia ⭐️ Queen of Awkward ⭐️ Campbell

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"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
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 l
Jessica Woodbury
May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 si ...more
laurel [suspected bibliophile]
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
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: edelweiss, sci-fi
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
May 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 grievi
lark benobi
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was ok
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
Jenny (Reading Envy)
A quick read about a benevolent (?) alien invasion that ends war, aging, environmental destruction and more...but a reminder that Utopia for some is inevitably dystopia for others. At times I thought it was satire about liberal politics but ultimately I decided it wasn't, but could have been. I felt the author could have done more with some themes and storylines, basically I wanted more than I got.
Heidi The Reader
Jul 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Hauntingly relevant examination of grief and time, particularly in our current moment. Devoured this basically in one sitting.
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
2.5 Stars
This book was weird... really weird. I loved the initial setup to the story, but I can't say that I enjoyed it as a whole. I did appreciate the diverse elements of the story with a trans female character in a lesbian relationship. I just don't think weird science fiction is a subgenre for me. However, if you enjoy weird scifi, then you might want to try this one. 
Arielle Walker
I picked up and read The Seep exactly a week before my country went into a complete pandemic lockdown. The final chapter (no spoilers, don't worry), a direct reflection of the first chapter, is titled

Tips for Attending a Dinner Party
When Your World Has Ended
Another World Is Just Beginning

Never mind that we cannot, in fact, actually have an actual dinner party except virtually over video calls. Even at the time, as everything spiralled faster and faster into uncertainty, these chapters f
˗ˏˋ aphrodite ˊˎ˗
this is a very subjective 3 star read for me.

granted, all reviews are subjective, but I feel the need to empathize that here because this book really is special. it’s super abstract and weird and deals with SO much that you can unpack in less than 200 pages including grief, existence, love, death, legacy, purpose, etc etc etc. I mean I really could go on and on. I would honestly love to examine this book in a class setting because I really think it’s one that you could read over and over and fi
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 l
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
After a promising start, this book devolved into just random weirdness. I was intrigued by the concept of an invasion by an alien consciousness and the way in which we can lose someone we love when they change (in this case, it’s a physical change). Unfortunately, the last half of the book reads like a bad drug trip mixed with some pseudo-psychology.
Kim Lockhart
Jan 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
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
4.5 stars

Brief, fluid, continuously surprising, I found this little novel impossible to put down once I started it and read it in one breathless sitting.

What initially seems like a slightly dystopian standard "aliens take over Earth" story quickly morphs into something entirely different and much better as Porter gradually (and quite skillfully) shifts the book's focus from world-building to character, particularly one character: Trina FastHorse Goldberg-Oneka, a Native-American trans woman, fo
Sage Agee
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 18, 2020 added it
Shelves: 2020-favourites
i have officially been SEEPED
Bek MoonyReadsByStarlight
Jul 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I finished this book and now I am incoherent, in a daze. I will come back and do a proper review later but holy shit. This says so much about emotions and the human condition and it does so through the world-building and plot. I adore character-driven books and heavy themes and this had both. Now if you'll excuse me, I will be laying and contemplating this book for the rest of the foreseeable future.
Beatrice Césare Savage
May 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Honestly captivating. A future with a benevolent alien invasion that focuses solely on the nuance of humanity and growth. Love the emphasis on the messiness and resistance that can accompany human emotions/experiences.
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: speculativefic
This book only came out in January, but I’ve had the ARC of it for almost a year! Why didn’t I pick it up sooner?!?

A small list of aspects I approve of:
1. Gendered, non-binary inclusive prose
2. Anti-racist, Anti-capitalist, and sex-positive background messaging
3. A plot that hinges on the complexity of humanity
4. Does not favor chaos, work through the hypocrisy of Wants v. Needs

It really is an amazing novella, the politics have taste, and it’s not dogmatic in its political agenda. I really loved
This book show us how people can still be miserable while living in a utopia. It gets 2 stars for having some unique ideas about aliens, asks good questions about what makes us human and brings up interesting social commentary. The second half had me very confused and I didn't really know what was happening. It ended and I thought "what was that?"
Kyra Bea
Mar 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really liked the core concept and the world building! There's an emotional core that I would have liked to have gotten to a little sooner, but the payoff is still nice.
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really liked it right up until the near the end when everything suddenly went bonkers and I had no idea what was going on or why, only that Trina, the narrator, had an epiphany, came to terms with her grief, and was able to get her life back together.

Up until that point, Trina, a trans woman, is our narrator. She is happily married to Deeba. Then The Seep arrives. The Seep is a formless alien entity that invades earth. They want nothing more than to share the physical forms of all life on eart
Dec 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Sapphic Shelves
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
May 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is different and strange, which isn't a bad thing in this case. It has its foundation on loss, grief, painful past, and a struggling future. it's a mind and body fight.

In The Seep we follow Trina in this post current world utopia, where there is no more loss and people can live forever (other things too but you have to read it yourself) following the invasion of Aliens on earth. Trina is a trans woman who is seemingly living the life with her wife in this utopia, she has changed profes
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Goodreads Librari...: Add ebook cover / The Seep 2 15 Jan 15, 2020 12:09AM  

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Chana Porter, writes the NY Times, “uses incongruity and exaggeration to suggest some midnight-dark truths about human life and endeavor.” She is an emerging playwright, speculative novelist, and education activist. Her plays have been developed or produced at The Flea Theater, Playwrights Horizons, The Catastrophic Theatre, La MaMa, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, Cherry Lane, The Invisible Dog, ...more

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Last year, Buzzfeed culture writer Anne Helen Petersen struck a chord with her viral article “How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation.”...
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“Their little party was completed by Katharine and Laura, the friendly, easygoing lesbians from Tennessee. They came with copious amounts of alcohol (one can always depend on the lapsed Christians to bring the bar): pale ale for the butches, and drinkable red wine.” 2 likes
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