Wednesday, May 8, 2019

How to Kiss a Hojacki, by Debbie Urbanski

[F&SF]
★★☆☆☆ Not Recommended

(Horror) Michael’s wife, Lisa, is turning into a monster, and he’s obsessed with the fact they can’t have sex anymore. (12,136 words; Time: 40m)


"How to Kiss a Hojacki," by (edited by C.C. Finlay), appeared in issue 05-06|19, published on by .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Review: 2019.285 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: The narration and dialogue are good, and technically there is a plot.

It is probably sending a message about something—menopause maybe?

The utterly clueless, utterly useless therapist adds some comic relief.

Con: That “plot” is Michael’s obsession to have sex with Lisa despite everything. Nothing else drives the story forward.

The story gives us clues that Lisa used to be a woman who loved her husband and her children, but by the time the story starts, she’s already become a monster. Not merely because her mouth is sealed or her blood is a different color but because she cares about nothing and no one except herself. She’s like an infant that demands everything and gives nothing (to quote from a different story in the same issue). The scene where she holds her daughter in her lap is extremely creepy because whatever “Lisa” wants from the girl, it can’t be good.

Michael is a pretty poor excuse for a protagonist. His wife of over 20 years is suffering from a terrible illness that deforms her body and her mind, and all he can think about is sex. They were already down to sex just once a month, so it’s hard to see what it’s that important to him at this point. By the time he finally coerces her into it, one wonders why he wants sex with a thing that clearly is not his wife nor even human.

I have no clue what the ending is supposed to mean.

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