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Book Review

Book Cover

The Silver Wind


Author: Nina Allan
RRP: £6.99, US $11.50
ISBN: 978 1 908125 05 7
Available 01 October 2011

What if time wasn’t linear, but much more an amorphous collection, all of time existing in the same place at the same time, then the possibility exists that travel between possible ‘now's’ exist, but what would they look like. Martin Newland is many things across time. Often, feeling the need to turn time back to stem the pain from the loss of his sister, his brother, and Martin's journey is facilitated by enigmatic Andrew Owen, sometime dwarf, but always a maker of watches and other esoteric time machines...

Occasionally, amongst the good and bad novels which are sent out on a monthly basis, a real little gem slips in. Such is The Silver Wind by Nina Allen. The slim book contains five interlinked short stories, each of which builds on its predecessor, ultimately creating a touching and poignant whole.

Allen’s style is both literate and literary, a real delight to read. Because of the structure of the stories it is almost pointless to try and paraphrase them individually. Each deals with loss, although, given that the stories happen to the same person but in different time dimensions, there could have been a potential problem with repetition, though this does not happen.

I can’t imagine that there is any reader that does not have a significant loss, which they would want to change, but would you be able to choose between losses. If the nexus point in your timeline was that you would have to choose who to lose, could you choose between the various loves in your life? When Martin is offered a chance to change his history, he does not realise that in many ways this is a poisoned chalice. Sometimes, there is no such thing as a good alternative.

I would recommend this small set of short stories. At its core it is about love, loss and emotion. The structure of time travel should not put off readers who express a dislike for science fiction. The stories have a tonal overlay of this, but it’s the relationships which really make the book.


Charles Packer

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