Earlier today, Titan Books quite rightly delighted in its acquisition of world rights to release not one but two Nina Allan novels, beginning with The Race: “a novel of tender nuances, brutality, insight and great ambition, a narrative that lays bare the fears and joys of being human, and, ultimately, offers hope to us all,” the brilliance of which knocked Strange Horizons’ Dan Hartland for six when NewCon Press first published it last summer.
The Race is a beautiful and progressive new SF set in a future Great Britain scarred by fracking and ecological collapse. Skillfully plotted and with a spellbinding mixed narrative reminiscent of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, the novel was published to critical applause and went on to receive numerous shortlist nominations from celebrated bodies, including the BSFA, Kitschies and Campbell Awards.
Allan, the winner of the 2014 BSFA Award for Best Short Fiction and the prestigious Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire for Best Translated Work, was chuffed to bits about finding a new home for her fiction.
“I am truly delighted that Titan will be publishing a new edition of The Race,” she said. “My editor Cath Trechman has been amazingly supportive, as indeed have the whole Titan team, and their enthusiasm and commitment to new fiction look certain to bring the book to a wider audience.”
But folks? There’s more. A second novel, no less! It’s not even a sequel, either—although, as press officer Lydia Gittins puts it, The Rift is “very much a continuation of the progressive and subversive style that won The Race so many critical accolades and award nominations.”
Details about the plot of the new novel are thin on the ground this far out, but suffice it to say it’s “the story of a woman who believes she has been the victim of an alien abduction.” Leave it to Nina Allan to generate uncertainty in a single sentence!
The Rift won’t be released till sometime in 2017, but it’s nice to know it’s coming.
In advance of that, Titan Books will republish The Race next July. By all accounts, it’s a truly mind-bending book—the kind you’d be best to read blind—but one way or the other, you really do need to read it. So, if my unreserved recommendation doesn’t cut it, I can only hope this synopsis sells you:
Christy’s life is dominated by fear of her brother, a man she knows capable of monstrous acts and suspects of hiding even darker ones. Desperate to learn the truth she contacts Alex, a stranger she knows only by name. Together they must face their demons, wherever that may lead.
Raised at the Croft, a secret government programme focusing on smartdogs, Maree has to undertake a journey through shipping lanes haunted by the enigmatic and dangerous Atlantic whale. What she discovers en route will change her world forever.
I’m not going to go so far as to say that reading The Race will change your world, as indeed it does Maree’s, but I’ll be damned if Nina Allan’s novel didn’t have me thinking about science fiction differently when I finished it.
Niall Alexander is an extra-curricular English teacher who reads and writes about all things weird and wonderful for The Speculative Scotsman, Strange Horizons, and Tor.com. He’s been known to tweet, twoo.