“The Owner’s Guide to Home Repair, Page 238: What to Do About Water Odor” by Vincent Michael Zito
Reviewed by Robert L Turner III
“The Owner’s Guide to Home Repair, Page 238: What to Do About Water Odor” by Vincent Michael Zito is a modern version of the “Tell Tale Heart.” Written in 2nd person, the narration describes the discovery of a terrible stench, reminiscent of decay, which seems to only effect one house in town. The piece is very brief at only 1500 words and the narration is competently handled, but the reason for the stench become obvious very quickly and that makes the later reveal unimpressive. Because there is little world building otherwise, that leaves the story without much punch.
In Lori Selke’s “A Head in a Box, or, Implications of Consciousness after Decapitation” a famous actress who is clearly NOT Gwyneth Paltrow (cough), suffers an accidental decapitation and is saved by medical technology. The story recounts the efforts made to save the head, the therapy needed to allow her to speak again and the consequences of her new state. The story is clever and includes a number of references to classical mythology, cultural history, and even the Penanggal. However, there is a little trouble in tone as the author seems to have some trouble deciding if this is a parody, a light humorous piece, social commentary etc. etc. I suspect that the author fell to the temptation to include all her good ideas instead of just the essential ones. That said, this is a clever story and worth the read.
Robert Turner is a professor and longtime SF/F fan.