kim westwood – works
The Courier's New Bicycle
Winner: Aurealis award, Ditmar award;
Shortlisted: Ned Kelly award, Davitt award; a Tiptree Honor Book
In the atmospheric alleyways of Melbourne just around the socio-political corner from now, life’s stressful. A post-pandemic fertility crisis has people scrambling for cures—except the new government has banned all remedies except prayer. At dusk the devout gather in the streets to petition a higher power, while in every corner of the city the illegal trade in hormones flourishes.
Salisbury Forth, cycle courier and Animal Protection Vigilante, has had a lifelong ambivalence to gender labels; but in these times, anyone who can’t easily be picked for either category is a target of Neighbourly Watch and the roving Neighbourhood Values Brigades. Caught up in the euphoria of new love, Sy is less than worried—until a ‘knock & drop’ in the heart of the infamous Red Quarter goes wrong, and a prayer group turns into a lynch mob. Another group viciously attacks a pregnant woman on the street. The tension around town is being amped up, but instigated by whom?
The Animal Protection Vigilantes make an eleventh-hour snatch from a hormone farm that’s cruelly harvesting from live animals, then Sy’s nearest and dearest become the targets of attack. Is it coincidence, or retribution? Either way, more than one life is going to hell in a hand basket. Salisbury’s only option is to turn sleuth to save them.