Last night I was reading a recent issue of F&SF and this one story, "How to Kiss a Hojacki" just really disturbed and resonated with me, and I wondered if anyone else read it and wants to discuss.

Partly it disturbed me because of how it ended. I don't mean the (spoiler?) rape bit, which was awful and somewhat hard to interpret (is the glowing good? bad? what?), but the non-resolution of several things. There's an election we never learn how it ends, there's notes that are important that we never read... A lot is left unanswered, which is fine, but that's part of what stayed with me. So anyhow, just now I remembered that and took a quick spin on the internet to see what other people had to say about it, and I was blown away by how many people seems to totally miss the mark on it. (I think?) Mostly men, because they all identified with the narrator, I guess? When it seemed obvious to me he was a shitty/unreliable person/narrator, and I thought for sure the "real" MC was the wife.

I found one interview with the author about it, who mentions stuff from her own life that doesn't necessarily shed light on much (that's also fine, I'm 100% behind authors keeping their personal stuff personal) and not much else.

Did anyone else read this and see the wife's transformation as a symbol for the transformation of women in modern society? Like, she was "great" when all she was to the narrator was a wife and a mother, but when she stops being most of that, and GASP stops being available for sex on demand, she suddenly has no value to him, and he doesn't care about her words, or anything she wants to tell him. He's completely focused on the sex thing, because (my reading) that's essentially all he really wants/needs her for. When she stops doing things, he doesn't pick up the slack, they just get undone. When she tries to control her own body, her own words, he refuses to allow it. She clearly has other wants and needs now, but we'll never know what they are, because he won't read the freaking notes, he won't even communicate with her in a way that is comfortable to her because he refuses to acknowledge that things are never going back the way they were.

I could go on. I just see so many parallels to how women as a whole are/have been treated in society(societies) and when I read the reviews they were all like, "A man gets upset that his wife becomes a monster and won't have sex with him," I question the quality of critical thinking being taught in schools. And deeply question how much the feminist movement will ever make roads with folks who refuse to listen.

Anyhow, I didn't think this out very well, I'm sure I said some of it poorly, and I'm in a rush to walk out the door, so it'll just have to stand. I'd love to hear what anyone else thought of this story, if you read it. All you English Lit geeks out there who know how to deconstruct and crit themes and symbols and such, please feel free to weigh in.

p.s. and sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, I know