cover image The Seep

The Seep

Chana Porter. Soho, $25 (216p) ISBN 978-1-64129-086-9

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. The Seep, a well-meaning, symbiotic alien entity, causes hierarchies to breakdown, enhances technology beyond humankind’s wildest dreams, and functions as a mind-expanding drug that eliminates human mortality and grants people the power to transform their appearance at will. When Trina Goldberg-Oneka’s wife Deeba decides to reexperience her life from babyhood, Trina, a 50-year-old trans woman who remains suspicious of the changes wrought by the Seep, refuses to transition from the role of wife to mother, ending their relationship. Trina shakes her subsequent alcoholic depression just long enough to take on a “vengeful quest” to confront a former friend whom she fought with years before over identity politics, and to save a lost boy from the effects of the Seep. Porter employs profound compassion and gentle humor to convey Trina’s fear of change and distrust of complacency. Readers will delight in the eerie disquietude and optimism of this well-calibrated what-if. Agent: Sarah Bolling, The Gernert Company. (Jan.)