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Nina Allan has won the BSFA Award for Short Fiction, the prestigious Grand Prix de l'lmaginaire, and the Aeon Award. She has been shortlisted for the British Fantasy Award four times and was a finalist for the 2014 Shirley Jackson Award. The Race is her first novel.
Highly Recommended. This is a subtle but telling SF novel that will speak loudly to fans of Margaret Atwood and Emily St. John Mandel. Allan’s future Britain is a low-key and unexpected dystopia and is all the more believable and gripping for that. We are in a Kent of poisoned marshes and derelict industry, where families exist on the proceeds of various black economies (Allan’s deft and sinuous landscape writing reminded me of Swift’s Waterland). A world where London is as distant as our present. A world where genetically modified greyhounds, linked biometrically to their human “runners”, race for a top prize of ten thousand shillings. It is this prize that draws our narrator, Christy, into a plot that has consequences that will reach far beyond our world. Christy is a wonderful creation. Allan’s warmth and intelligence suffuses the portrayal of her strengths and her fears but it is the offhand brilliance of Allan’s creation of this odd but very real future that provides the chief charm of this novel. I’ve never read an SF future like it and its for that reason that it feels the most real – Allan resists the obvious at every turn and that’s when prediction is most alive. The Race depicts an unusual and messy future and therefore speaks loudly about the messy present we are living in. There’s no escapism in this novel but there is much to reward your faith in humanity. ~ Simon Spanton