The Seep (Soho Press)
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, 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.
Praise for The Seep:
"A unique alien invasion story that focuses on the human and the myriad ways we see and don't see our own world. Mesmerizing."--Jeff VanderMeer, award-winning author of Dead Astronauts and the Borne trilogy
"The standard canard is that utopian settings are boring, monolithic, didactic, and make for bad fiction. How lucky we are to have Chana Porter to blow such nonsense out of the water with this moving and beautiful book."--China Miéville
"The psychedelics are coming! The psychedelics are coming! What if becoming one with the universe was as easy as drinking punch at a party? It turns out that after enlightenment, we still squabble with our partners, worry about fashion choices, and drink too much booze. A great speculative work combining first contact tropes, techno-utopian fantasy, gender theory, and ayahuasca fan fiction, Chana Porter's The Seep imagines a brave newer world by rewriting the question of the ancients: If all things return to the one, where does the one return to? Porter's dazzling trick answer updates Zhaozhou's: the bar."
--Eugene Lim, author of Dear Cyborgs
"With its wonderfully fraught utopia, the likes of which you have never seen before, The Seep defies not only the recent glut of dystopias, but the long-accepted categories of fiction. An entire universe gets packed into a slim page-turner, in which the search for meaning carries on even after our greatest desires are met."--Robert Repino, author of the War with No Name novels
"In a time of dreary dystopias, Chana Porter's The Seep is that rarest of books: a genuine utopian hope of salvation. While the novel accomplishes this through an alien intervention, its message is not simply one of blind optimism, but a complex portrait of people struggling with change, fear, and ultimately hope. Porter shows us that the end of the world is easy. The beginning of the world is the real challenge."--Rachel Pollack, award-winning author of Godmother Night
"In Porter's surreal, introspective debut, a benevolent alien invasion leads humanity into a utopia, exploring themes of grief and discontentment within a seemingly perfect world . . . Readers will delight in the eerie disquietude and optimism of this well-calibrated what-if."--Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"This surreal debut takes on themes of utopia, identity, love, and loss, while readers are pulled into a full experience through Porter's fluid prose. This unusual story will linger long past the last page."--Library Journal, Starred Review
Chana Porter is a playwright, teacher, MacDowell Colony fellow, and co-founder of The Octavia Project, a STEM and fiction-writing program for girls and gender non-conforming youth from underserved communities. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and is currently at work on her next novel.
Agnes Borinsky is a playwright and performer, based in Los Angeles. 3 Hole Press published her play, Brief Chronicle, Books 6-8. Her YA novel, Sasha Masha, is forthcoming in 2020 from FSG. She has made work in bedrooms, backyards, basements, bars, and theaters. She works, sometimes, too, at Skylight Books.