Title: The Seep
Author: Chana Porter
Publisher: Soho Press
Genre: LGBT Science Fiction, Absurdist Fiction
The Seep is a book that I can say with utmost guarantee, comes once in a lifetime. Perhaps more than once, but books such as The Seep that engulf you, and evoke emotions and questions, and more than anything else make you a part of another world – one that is very much rooted in yours, or is what we might term an “idyllic existence”.
The Seep is about alien invasion. I wouldn’t want to call it an invasion, but more like an intervention (or that’s what the aliens think). The Seep is the alien entity. The invasion has been coming for years. Trina FastHorse Goldberg-Oneka is a fifty-year-old trans woman whose life is altered unrecognisably by the invasion. The Seep assures people that anything is possible, and it is. You can be who you want to be. Live different lives, and die the way you want to. You can choose, capitalism falls, hierarchies are broken down. Anything is possible, and all for the good of the people.
Trina and her wife, Deeba, live a peaceful life, till Deeba decides to be reborn as a baby. She moves on to live that life, leaving Trina devastated beyond words. In all of this Trina meets a lost boy and takes it on her to save him from The Seep (why the saving is needed is only clear when you read the book).
The Seep could also be an allegory of our times. It could also be an entity who lures, and alters you beyond belief. Trina’s story is also that of a heartbreak, of loss, of loss in times that you do not fathom, and more than anything else when the world around you is constantly changing.
Porter’s writing makes you think of all the changes, and our reactions to them – individually and collectively. It made me see what makes us human (of course not in totality, but to some extent). Also, might I add that you need not be a fan of science fiction to enjoy and love this book. The story is absurd for sure, but works on a lot of levels. There are great and large themes explored in the book and that’s what makes it literary. Also, major props to the cover design by Michael Morris – it is beguiling and will most certainly make you want to read this cracker of a book.
The Seep to me is a book for our times. Read it.