The best recent science fiction, fantasy and horror novels - reviews roundup
Nina Allan excels at creating subtle, shifting narratives straddling the mundane and the bizarre, the real and the unreal. In her second novel, The Rift , she has produced a lyrical, moving story beautifully balanced between the reality of contemporary England and the ethereal otherness of the alien world of Tristane. Selena and Julie were not only sisters but best friends, and when Julie vanishes aged 17 - the victim of a killer? - Selena's life and that of her family changes forever.
Two decades later, Julie reappears, claiming to have spent the intervening years in an alien world, supporting her story with a highly detailed account of her life there. The Rift is what Allan does best, exploring contemporary society, and what it means to be human, through the tropes of the SF genre. Selena's survivor's guilt, her grief and that of her parents, are harrowingly rendered, perfectly counterpointed by the otherworldly depiction of an alien culture that might be just the fantasy of a damaged narrator.
31st October 2017