Missyjack's Reviews > The Courier's New Bicycle

The Courier's New Bicycle by Kim Westwood
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's review
Nov 05, 2011

liked it

I'm conflicted over reviewing this book, as there was a lot to love about it, but overall it really didn't set my world on fire. I wanted to like it more than I did, but that may be more due to my tastes than any fault of the author.

The story is set in a dystopic future. I love 'verses like this that are connected closely to our own, but with some twist. It's why i love Mira grant's Newsflesh series. In Westwood's vision for the near future, a vaccine for a bird flu has caused widespread infertility. The instability arising from this has seen a rise in religious fundamentalism - and a black market in fertility drugs.

Sal - the courier of the title - delivers these drugs around Melbourne. The main plot involves a fight for turf amongst the hormone bootleggers.

There's a great sense of place which - as a Melburnian I particularly enjoyed. Overall the world building is interesting if a bit heavy on some repetitive exposition.

Sal is a 'transgressive' someone who's gender expression is clearly beyond the binary. One of my issues with the book is that we get told this all the time, but the actual exploration, or demonstration, or Sal's gender is rather thin.

The plot moves along quite well although I would've liked more of the sub-plot relating to Sal's involvement with an animal rights group which rescues animals from hormone farms (Sal only distributes synthetic hormones) which had some great tension in it.

It's worth a look if only because queer dystopic fiction like this is rare enough. I'd hope for a sequel though, so it did make an impression.
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