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Sussex, Lucy

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author, Critic, Editor.

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(1957-    ) New Zealand-born author and critic, mostly in Australia since 1971; she began publishing work of genre interest with "The Parish and Mrs Brown" in Dreamworks: Strange New Stories (anth 1983) edited by David King, the first of a number of interesting sf Fabulations like "The Lipton Village Society" (in Strange Attractors, anth 1985, edited by Damien Broderick), in which alienated people create an Alternate History by force of will. These two and "My Lady Tongue" (in Matilda at the Speed of Light, anth 1988, edited by Damien Broderick), about life inside (and outside) a utopian Feminist lesbian community, were assembled with early work including "God and Her Black Sense of Humour" – a new story about immortal semen-swallowing Vampires – in My Lady Tongue & Other Tales (coll 1990). Later collections include A Tour Guide in Utopia: Stories (coll 2005), Absolute Uncertainty (coll 2006) and Thief of Lives (coll 2011); material from all this work has been assembled in the very sizeable Matilda Told Such Dreadful Lies: The Essential Lucy Sussex (coll 2011). In her early work, Sussex's racy, slangy narrative voice sometimes jarred with a content that seemed to require more reticent treatment; but in her mature work she has evolved a voice whose concision and seeming quiet exposes the reader to a complex understanding of the world now. Dystopia lurks, without any need to underline the points made, throughout her work.

The Peace Garden (1989), a nonfantastic Young Adult tale, her later novels, which are mostly fantasy, include Deersnake (1994), in which an Alternate World is accessed through a Drug; The Scarlet Rider (1996), a tale of possession; Black Ice (1997), a contemporary fantasy, and The Revognase (2003), in the Quentaris Chronicles Shared World universe to which many Australian writers have contributed under the aegis of Paul Collins.

Sussex co-edited Contrary Modes (anth 1985) with Jenny Blackford, Russell Blackford and Norman Talbot, an anthology of sf criticism; and co-edited Australian Science Fiction Review: Second Series for its first two years (1986-1987); her later nonfiction has focused on unrecognized women writers, not usually engaged in the fantastic, her magnum opus in this region of study being Women Writers and Detectives in Nineteenth-Century Crime Fiction: The Mothers of Mystery (2010). She received the Chandler Award in 2003. [JC/PN]

Lucy Jane Sussex

born Christchurch, New Zealand: 4 December 1957


  • The Peace Garden (Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press, 1989) [hb/]
  • Deersnake (Rydalmere, New South Wales: Hodder and Stoughton, 1994) [pb/Marilyn Pride]
  • The Scarlet Rider (New York: Tor/Forge, 1996) [hb/uncredited]
  • Black Ice (Rydalmere, New South Wales: Hodder Headline, 1997) [pb/Graham Bliss]
  • The Revognase (Melbourne, Victoria: Lothian Publishing Co, 2003) [contributed to the Shared World universe: Quentaris Chronicles: pb/Grant Gittus and Mark McBride]

collections and stories

works as editor (selected)

nonfiction (selected)

nonfiction works as editor


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