The 2017 Aurealis Awards were announced yesterday. Luscious was shortlisted in the Best SF Short Story category for her story The Missing Years, which you can read in Andromeda Spaceways Magazine #66. She didn’t win, but to be honest, that’s almost beside the point.
I’ve mentioned at length the effects the last few years have had on my writing. But what I haven’t talked about so much is how Luscious’ writing has been affected, too. There was a time that she and I published regularly in the Australian SF presses. But then Lord 13 was born, and had a string of health problems. Luscious enrolled in University and began her long, difficult path to her current career. Lord 13 became sick, which ground every plan she had to a halt for the better part of 3 years as she juggled study with home schooling him full-time. Then, when he recovered, she was in the latter stages of her degree, and a high-performing student at that: all those High Distinctions took focus. By the time last year came around she was, to all intents and purposes, working a full-time unpaid job as a teaching intern. Her writing had fallen away to the point where she had completed and sold a single short story in the last 2 years.
That story was The Missing Years. It’s a brutal story of alien invasion, infanticide, and forced human sacrifice. There’s a decade of fear and parental sacrifice in it. It’s a stunning piece of work. It’s certainly the best thing she’s ever written. But one thing it isn’t is a surprise. Luscious has always been a writer of nuance and delicate skill. She has a uniquely female voice: deeply matriarchal, painfully personal, and always aware of the cultural restraints that try to force her– and her characters– into accepted patterns of behaviour. If you’ve read any of her short stories, you’ve seen a voice struggling to balance her expectation to conform with her desire to stand alone as her own self-creation. I think she’s brilliant.
Unfortunately, she too often thinks the opposite.
She’s working full-time, now, encountering the struggle to establish herself that all first-year teachers experience. But it’s no longer enough that her special talent be pushed aside and suppressed by circumstance. You’ve probably worked out by now that this post isn’t really for you, or me. It’s for her. A clarion call, if you like. A public pronouncement. I love my wife deeply, and am daily awed and inspired by her talent, dedication, and intelligence. I’m proud that she managed to get this story out, despite all she was going through, and proud that it received recognition.
But I think it’s time that there was more.