Tag Archives: Soho Press

The Seep by Chana Porter

The Seep by Chana Porter Title: The Seep
Author: Chana Porter
Publisher: Soho Press
ISBN: 978-1641290869
Genre: LGBT Science Fiction, Absurdist Fiction
Pages: 216
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

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.

Where the Dead Sit Talking by Brandon Hobson

Where the Dead Sit Talking Title: Where the Dead Sit Talking
Author: Brandon Hobson
Publisher: Soho Press
ISBN: 978-1616958879
Genre: Coming of Age
Pages: 288
Source: Author
Rating: 5 Stars

Coming of age stories are always appealing to me. Somewhere or the other, they spring up and I read them and get all nostalgic about growing-up too soon or growing-up and not realizing that it happened. “Where the Dead Sit Talking” is one such book. Also, might I add here that coming-of-age stories could also take place at a time when you are also an adult, however, this one is set on the brink of adolescence and is illuminating and intensely psychological at the same time.

“Where the Dead Sit Talking” is not a regular coming of age book. It is raw, jagged at the edges and tackles some major issues such as child abuse, abandonment, alcoholism and neglect without any pretense. Also, to some extent it draws on the flaws of the American foster care system (I’ve always wondered how efficient that is, but I guess there is another book for that at another time).

The book is set in the late ‘80’s, Sequoyah a fifteen-year-old, is the narrator of the book. He has moved from one foster home to another (his mother is serving jail time), till he seems to settle with this one family in Little Crow and that’s where the story begins. He forms an instant connection with one of the other foster children there – Rosemary and that forms the crux of the book.

The thing about this book is that it doesn’t sugar coat brutality. It is there for all to read and experience, no matter if you are cringing or don’t want to turn another page (which you wouldn’t want to, because this book is that good), read you must.

Hobson’s characters are so flawed and waiting for redemption so long, that you start hoping for them. Brandon’s prose is simple and yet striking, it is layered and easy to read, which to me are fantastic about very few books. Also, the Native-American narrative is so needed (was always needed) and comes out powerfully in the book. At the heart of it though, “Where the Dead Sit Talking” is about humans – battered, lonely, the ones who do things and then regret and sometimes there is no regret as well. It is a book waiting to share its secrets with you, it is more than just a coming-of-age book – the one that will move and haunt you in equal measure.