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BSFA Review: Conquest by Nina Allan

05/02/2024 19:09 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Conquest cover

Conquest by Nina Allan

(Riverrun, 2023)

Reviewed by Nick Hubble

On a panel, ‘Thirty-four Years, and An Interim Survey’, at this year’s Eastercon, Nina Allan said that, while she used to consider herself as belonging to the post-New-Wave alongside writers such as M. John Harrison, since living in Scotland she has found herself moving beyond that British anti-novel tradition and writing in a more Scottish speculative style. This is not entirely surprising as her work often displays a strong sense of place. For example, The Race, first published back in 2014, was almost uncanny in its evocation of a bleached-out south-coast Englishness (sections of the novel being set in Hastings), whereas the Scottish-set The Good Neighbours (2021) feels simultaneously softer-edged but with a deeper incursion into fantasy. While the setting of Conquest moves between England, Scotland and France, allowing it to combine perspectives, it feels by the end that reality has been totally subsumed within the fantastic. I would be tempted to describe it as a changeling story, if it wasn’t so obviously also an alien invasion novel, but perhaps it might be both.

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Review from BSFA Review 22 - Download your copy here.


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