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The Seep

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  362 ratings  ·  112 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,
Hardcover, 203 pages
Published January 21st 2020 by Soho Press
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Average rating 3.70  · 
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Chaima ✨ شيماء
Full review now posted HERE 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 kinds of different angles.
Nenia ⚡ Aspiring Evil Overlord ⚡ 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
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 ...more
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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?"
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
Jamie (Books and Ladders)
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
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wat, fiction, lgbtq, arc
i felt compelled to film a review for this at 1am if that means anything to you:
Leilani W
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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.
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
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
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.
Tonstant Weader
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 05, 2020 rated it liked it
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
Akemi G.
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-fiction
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
Geonn Cannon
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, lgbtqiap

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
Becky Spratford
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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?
I really wanted to like this, based on its awesome premise. Sadly, I found little character development, a superficial treatment of addiction, borderline painful dialogue, heavy-handed plot devices, and many missed opportunities re: world-building. I'm glad this was written, but disappointed with the outcome.
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2020
My review is here.
Maria Maier
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
This book is, indeed, a lot like the work of Jeff VanderMeer. But unlike his books, which seem to operate on a "show, don't tell" principle, here there is a lot of telling but not as much showing. I think that diminishes the book's attempt at creating a weird, fantastical atmosphere. At the same time, while the ideas presented in the story are compelling, they don't always need to be explicitly stated. Let the reader puzzle through this strange sci-fi landscape on their own.
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
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: speculative
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
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc
For me this ARC copy of the book read as a tale a person would tell, half-heartily, over a campfire; not a lot of dialog or other personal feelings. Felt straight to the point, no added emotions other than what was necessary. While the plot was a good idea, the way it was wrote didn't give me any connections to the characters.
Nov 10, 2019 rated it liked it
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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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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“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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