Monday, February 3, 2020

The Seep

The Seep by Chana Porter (2020)

When the aliens come, it is in the form of an amorphous substance that makes people kind of high. It also can cure illness and transform things into other things. People don't really die anymore. For some reason there is also no longer money; everyone has a credit stick they use and they all have unlimited credit (which begs the question of why they need to go through the motion at all.) The Seep is so pervasive in society that the small sector who live without it are treated like some kind of a cult.

Trina isn't as into the Seep as some people are, but she also doesn't necessarily want to free herself from it entirely. She used to be an artist but is now a doctor and she sees how important the Seep is to medicine now. But her wife, Deeba, embraces it in a way Trina never will. Deeba decides she wants to be reborn as a baby and live a new life in Europe, a thing you can do now, and Trina is devastated by this. Most of the book is about how she handles this decision and how she lives once Deeba is gone (it primarily involves alcohol).

This whole book is 200 pages and it's a very quick 200 pages. I read half of it one evening after work and finished it on my lunch break the next day. (Normally I can't read more than 20-30 pages on my lunch break.) I'm always happy to read a nice short book but this one....part of me thinks it could have benefited from being fleshed out more, but the other part of me thinks that maybe I just don't like this author's writing. I liked the premise, love the cover, and I like that the main character is transgender but that it's not the point of the story and barely came up at all. The writing style was surreal, which I sometimes like, but a lot about this story and and the style in which it was told just wasn't for me. I couldn't really get into the characters, and I struggled with how little was really explained. We're supposed to just take everything at face value without understanding what the Seep is and how it has caused society to change in these particular ways.

This book had a very intriguing premise, but was ultimately disappointing. I didn't hate reading it, but it just didn't do a lot for me. And now that I've reread the Goodreads description I see that they recommend it for fans of Jeff VanderMeer and Carmen Maria Machado, two authors I'm planning to read very soon but now am suddenly less excited about. For me this book was just okay, but there are some positive reviews out there so you might feel differently.

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