The Deep is a novella by Rivers Solomon, inspired by the song of the same name by clipping. The wajinru, a society of merfolk descended from pregnant women throw overboard from slave ships, live idyllic lives in the ocean, with the exception of Yetu. As the historian, she carries the wajinru's past, which is too traumatic to be remembered by everyone else, and the constant onslaught of other people's memories is destroying her. So during the Remembrance, a yearly event in which she gives the memories to everyone else for a few days, she flees to the surface.
The Deep contains examples of:
- Character Tics: Yetu has a distinctive, twisting swimming style, leaving a wake that wajinru who know her can easily identify.
- Eyes Always Averted: Yetu befriends Oori, a human woman who seems to have an aversion to looking anyone in the face. At first Yetu thought Oori thought she was ugly. Now she understands that it's loneliness.
- Flashback: Yetu is regularly overcome by the memories, causing her to lose track of where she actually is.
- Great Offscreen War: The Tidal Wars, the subject of the original song, in which humans destroyed the wajinru's homes while searching for oil, and the wajinru retaliated by creating massive floods.
- Hermaphrodite: Wajinru have two sets of sex organs and are allowed to choose for themselves whether they identify as male or female.
- Humans by Any Other Name: Two-legs.
- Last of Her Kind: Oori is the last member of a group called the Oshuben. For a long time, there were only a few families left. Then they all died from disease, leaving only Oori.
- Mermaid Problem: Inverted in one of the flashbacks, with wajinru trying to find a drowned slave's birth canal and settling on her belly button. They're surprised when her baby's head emerges from between her legs instead.
- Potty Failure: When she first took on the memories, Yetu was so overwhelmed that she lost most of her abilities, including holding her bowels for more than a few minutes.
- Raised by Wolves: The first generation of wajinru was nursed by whales.
- Sensory Overload: Yetu lives in a near-constant state of overload from the cold, the pressure, the salt scraping against her skin, and all the messages she picks up from the ocean.
- The Stoic: Oori's face rarely shows any sort of emotion, regardless of what she's feeling at the moment.