The Seep by Chana Porter
A blend of searing social commentary and speculative fiction, Chana Porter's fresh, pointed debut explores a strange new world in the wake of a benign alien invasion.
Trina FastHorse 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, everything is connected. Capitalism falls, hierarchies and barriers are broken down; if something can be imagined, it is possible.
Trina and her wife, Deeba, live blissfully under The Seep's utopian influence--until Deeba begins to imagine what it might be like to be reborn as a baby, which will give her the chance at an even better life. Using Seeptech to make this dream a reality, Deeba moves on to a new existence, leaving Trina devastated.
Heartbroken and deep into an alcoholic binge, Trina follows a lost boy she encounters, embarking on an unexpected quest. In her attempt to save him from The Seep, she will confront not only one of its most avid devotees, but the terrifying void that Deeba has left behind. A strange new elegy of love and loss, The Seep explores grief, alienation, and the ache of moving on.
TITLE: The Seep
AUTHOR: Chana Porter
PUBLISHER: Soho Press
LENGTH: 216 pages
GENRE: Science Fiction
Queer Rep Summary: Lesbian/Sapphic Main Character(s), Genderqueer/Nonbinary Secondary Character(s), Trans Main Character(s).
THE SEEP is about pain, loss, grief, and the necessity of leaving space for sadness. The MC is trying to process her personal grief in a world which continually blunts the edges of pain and often totally erases sadness via the aliens which infect them. She fights to keep the messy parts of herself and doesn't understand why almost everyone else is content to lose that roughness. Her journey has a lot of messy stages which I don't want to spoil because part of the point of the story is that living through the moments without knowing how it'll end or if everything will be okay is important, and everyone needs the space to decide what they want, the freedom to make bad choices and learn from them.
Most of this book is aftercare and processing loss, and after reading it I feel sad but okay. It's a good kind of sad, and I really like the emotional arc of the book.
CW for racism, alcoholism, depression, mental illness, suicide (not depicted), major character death death.