Murder in the Generative Kitchen by Meg Pontecorvo

Murder in the Generative Kitchen by Meg Pontecorvo
Publisher: World Weaver Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Short Story (81 pgs)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Stephanotis

With the Vacation Jury Duty system, jurors can lounge on a comfortable beach while watching the trial via virtual reality. Julio is loving the beach, as well as the views of a curvy fellow juror with a rainbow-lacquered skin modification who seems to be the exact opposite of his recent ex-girlfriend back in Chicago. Because of jury sequestration rules, they can’t talk to each other at all, or else they’ll have to pay full price for this Acapulco vacation. Still, Julio is desperate to catch her attention. But while he struts and tries to catch her eye, he also becomes fascinated by the trial at hand.

At first it seemed a foregone conclusion that the woman on trial used a high-tech generative kitchen to feed her husband a poisonous meal, but the more evidence mounts, the more Julio starts to suspect the kitchen may have made the decision on its own.

Wow, what a fun novella. I don’t read that much sci-fi but as this was part murder mystery story I thought I’d give it a try. I’m glad I did.

The story is set in 2060 and lots of things have changed in the world. Jurors no longer have to be present in courtrooms and can instead take luxury vacations while viewing the proceedings. Even bots have replaced attorneys.

Sound like fun? Well it is until the main character, Julio, sets his sights on a fellow juror, Iris, but it’s a no-no to interact with one another during the trial. Part of the fun of the story is how Julio tries to find ways around the situation to get Iris’ attention.

However, the real focus of the story is the trial. A woman is accused of poisoning her husband with the help of her generative kitchen. A state of the art, futuristic one that reads the person’s biometrics and adjusts the food accordingly. While it looks like an open and shut case, Julio isn’t convinced that the wife is the guilty party and could technology have played a role?

I loved the intermingling of the murder mystery with the sci fi elements. I thought it was a refreshing change to the usual whodunit. I loved all the information the author provided about this kitchen of the future. It was almost like it was another character in the story.

I won’t give away the ending but if like me you’re always on the look-out for something different to read in the mystery genre, I say give this novella a try.

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