‘Flying in the Face of God’ by Nina Allan

I began this anthology with a writer who was (and remains) particularly important to me; I’m ending with another. I had heard great things about Nina Allan’s fiction from the corner of the SF/fantasy community that I followed. After I read ‘Flying in the Face of God’, I understood why.

In the story, we meet Rachel Alvin, who is about to undergo a process that will alter her physiology such that she will be able to travel through space – but it will also transform her psychologically. Rachel’s close friend Anita Schleif is making a film about her – but it seems to be at least as much an attempt to hold on to Rachel as it is an actual piece of documentary-making. Furthermore, Anita’s grandmother is suffering from dementia, so essentially Anita is seeing the two most important people in her life disappear, albeit in different ways. Allan is concerned with exploring how her characters respond to the prospect and reality of profound personal change.

I’ve continued to follow Allan’s work, both fiction and reviews, and again hers has become a key voice in shaping how I think about fiction.

(Read and first published in Interzone #227, Mar-Apr 2010. Available in the collection Microcosmos, NewCon Press, 2013)

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