Set in a future Great Britain scarred by fracking and ecological collapse, The Race is the first full-length novel from Nina Allan, winner of the 2014 BSFA Award for Best Short Fiction (Spin, TTA Press), and the prestigious Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire for Best Translated Work (Complications/The Silver Wind, Editions Tristram).
Christy's life is dominated by fear of her...more
It opens with the story of Jenna, who lives in an English coastal town named Sapphire. The ...more
If someone wants to write a near-future SF that actually focuses on enhanced greyhounds, then I would buy that like a shot. But this ...more
This novel is a hard one to categorize. The story is written in four parts with each part portraying a different ...more
The back cover copy of The Race would lead you to believe that the entire novel is set on the coastal town of Sapphire, suffering a slow decline from fracking and ecological disaster. And while that’s partly true, Sapphire and its denizens only comprise a fourth of the novel. In actual fact The Race consists of four novellas that are linked in an unexpected way.
Should I Read It?
This is a remarkable début novel on a number of levels. For one there’s the gorgeous, ...more
The Race is Nina Allan's debut novel. It's a rewarding, thought-provoking and beautifully written novel about four damaged people, brothers and sisters, everyday life, ecological collapse, smart dog racing and two different realities that merge and twist in a compelling way.
Because Nina Allan has written beautiful short stories and novellas, I was eager to read her debut novel. In my opinion she has succeeded perfectly in writing a beautiful and immersive ...more
There are five stories, and to some they might seem disjointed, but the connections are there. In fact all the things I felt weren’t that great in Jenna’s story, which comes ...more
A quarter of the way through, we're in a dysfunctional part of England in a near-future version of our world. "Smartdogs" are being created, with empathic human handlers. Mildly interesting concept, legitimate SF, and we wonder where it is going.
Change gears. 127 pages in a world that is for all practical purposes real-today, about ordinary people growing up unhappy and not getting along very ...more
Even better as a reread.
Uneven (the entire first section fell flat for me-I almost set the book aside for good when endless descriptions of racing gauntlets began to overshadow the plot) but with enough intriguing ideas and imagery to make it worth reading as a whole.
Curiously, since Allan has identified herself as a science-fiction/fantasy writer, I find her most effective when she's writing straight-forward literary fiction, as in the second and third chapters of this book. Perhaps the necessity of setting ...more
The first section of the book starts strong, delivering a ...more
A novel ...more
This book is all of those things; it's not so much a novel as a series of tenuously connected novellas and (at least in the edition I ...more
DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR SCIENCE FICTION.
The first star is for the idea; the second for ...more
Author: Nina Allan
Publisher: Titan Books 2016
Source: Sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Page Count: 446
Genre: Science/Literary Fiction
Audience: Those who enjoy complex and robust stories with scientific flourishes
Laugh or Cry: Both
Buy? Read? Avoid?: Buy/Read if you enjoy depth and complexity with your novels
Summed up in one word: Choppy
First Impression: Let me clarify choppy...this book is good, even great in ...more
Also, some of the sexual content made me extremely uncomfortable. ...more
I won't spoil the plot(s), but I'll mention general things that may or may not happen in this book.
This isn't one novel really, but rather a handful of abstractly interrelated novellas, each taking place in a slightly different parallel universe (and/or time period) and following a slightly different ...more