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Terminal Boredom: Stories af Izumi Suzuki
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Terminal Boredom: Stories (udgave 2021)

af Izumi Suzuki (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
282693,520 (3.5)14
"Born from the obsessive and highly idiosyncratic mind of a cult figure of the Japanese underground, these stories borrow themes and subjects familiar to readers of Philip K. Dick and fuses them with a conflicted, tortured, and intense imagination"--
Medlem:BibliophageOnCoffee
Titel:Terminal Boredom: Stories
Forfattere:Izumi Suzuki (Forfatter)
Info:Verso Fiction (2021), 224 pages
Samlinger:Ønskeliste
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Ingen

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Terminal Boredom: Stories af Izumi Suzuki

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This is an acerbic and astounding collection of short stories originally published in on the late 70s and 80s. They are varied in their tone, subject and quality, but all share Suzuki's isolated alien outsider perspective explored through science fiction.

It's genuinely difficult to not believe these are contemporary srories initially published when the translations came out a few years ago. There is a prescient and modern sensibility throughout, with the exception of the handling of gender non-comformity/ transphobia and sexual assault in the first story.

I need to revisit these stories and this review when I have actually managed to get a night's sleep. But suffice to say this is a phenomenal collection in Suzuki's distinct dark voice that evokes Philip K Dick, Jordan Peel, Charlie Brooker, with some making me imagine is Jeanne Thornton wrote an episode of Black Mirror.

These bleak, outcast stories really spoke to my sad girl soul, and the only reason I can't give this full marks is because of problematic elements that actually made me put this book down for quite some time, before devouring it. ( )
  RatGrrrl | Jan 1, 2024 |
Uma coletânea de contos de ficção científica de patricinha punk dona de casa drogada, onde a atmosfera de difícil inserção das mulheres no Japão machista década de 70 se transmuta em um constante perigo de alienação frente ao social. Nesse processo, afirmações banais ganham ares alienígenas, em meio a uma preocupação estranhada com tarefas domésticas, namorados e casamento, performances de gênero (garotas gostam de iogurte e fruta. ah, e cheesecake), o poder do sexo, a manutenção da família tradicional, o aborrecimento de uma adolescência que se estende indefinidamente. Há também uma perda de conexão com coisas simples que se infiltra na prosa crua e por vezes tosca. Destaque para Night Picnic, único conto que me cativou de verdade, justamente por jogar descaradamente com o aspecto de segunda natureza do social, ali estranhada ao máximo.

"We were smilar, that's all it ever was... Not only did we have the same sign and the same blood type, but we were even the same height and weight. Now I'am an inch taller, though"...

"They were saying on the news that more and more young people were forgetting to eat, starving to death. / 'This feels kind of embarassing somehow', I said as I picked up my spoon". ( )
  henrique_iwao | Sep 15, 2023 |
According to Jesse from Speculiction, this collection of short stories was the best book he read published in 2021, and he gave it 5 stars – which doesn’t happen much on his blog. Also Ola from Re-enchantment was generally impressed, albeit not as much.

Terminal Boredom collects 7 existential science fiction stories written between the mid-70ies and the mid-1980s, before Izumi Suzuki committed suicide in 1986, aged 36. Apparently she is a bit of a countercultural icon in Japan, and she had a tumultuous life, working as keypunch operator, hostess, nude model, and actor – both in pink films as in avant-garde theater.

It is the first time her work appears in English, and the stories were translated by 6 different people: Polly Barton, Sam Bett, David Boyd, Daniel Joseph, Aiko Masubuchi and Helen O’Horan.

It’s interesting that this collection is framed in feminist terms, many reviews stressing the gender content. I think this framing is more dictated by marketing in our own times than the actual foundations of the stories themselves. While gender is a theme, no doubt, I would not say it is Suzuki’s focus, not at all.

Suzuki’s focus seems to be the protagonists of her stories, and most of them are cynical sociopaths: emotionally numb, bored, blunt, fatalist, trying to fit in, acting their roles, detached, doubting happiness, aping others. “Another habit of hers: producing long strings of borrowed thoughts she hasn’t bothered digesting.” & “The performance had just become a part of my personality.”

The characters seem nihilists, but not of the positive, life affirming variant. The knowledge that Suzuki felt the urge to quit her real life made me think of her protagonists as variants of herself.

This collection definitely has merit. There is indeed – as Jesse pointed out – a fair amount of psychological meat on the bone. But for me, not enough to overcome the main problem I had with these stories: their monotony, psychologically.

One could look at this repetition as a thorough examination of a certain mental state, observed in different contexts, sure, but it didn’t grab me enough. Maybe that was because I felt the prose to be a bit off at times – hard to explain, again a taste thing, and I’m not sure whether it is due to Suzuki, the translators, or a certain quality of Japanese: I’m guessing a combination of all three factors. Maybe because the writing itself was a bit detached, so that I didn’t really connect.

Suzuki presents her characters as is, without judgement. Emotions are described, but Suzuki never goes to the root of things: why do these characters feel the way they feel? Or maybe there are no reasons, other than that they were born in a particular way that doesn’t align with the societies they live in. “Different kinds of people belong in different kinds of worlds.”

You can sample a Suzuki story – The Walker, not in this collection – for free at the Granta website.

More speculative fiction review on Weighing A Pig Doesn't Fatten It ( )
  bormgans | Jun 8, 2022 |
Jagged. That is the word that comes foremost to mind. Jagged, painful stories within lives not worth living. Caustic, and eerily beautiful too. Drugs might be able to mask this hurt, but they would not be able to heal it. Nothing could but death itself. All unique stories. All scraping the edges of their containers - finger nail screeches on chalk boards. ( )
  TomMcGreevy | Aug 2, 2021 |
So, 35 years after her suicide at the age of 36, Verso Books - together with various translators - bring us the first work to appear in English of this remarkable woman. This collection of 7 short stories would be interesting enough but, given the distance in time, the science fiction and dystopian worlds that Izumi Suzuki depicts become even more intriguing.

The opening story of the collection ('Women and Women') portrays a society where men are imprisoned in underground ghettos, women are in relationships with each other, and the planet has been devastated by human exploitation. In another story, teenagers video call each other, struggle with eating disorders and watch real-life video clips of violent street attacks filmed by strangers. Other stories feature drug use, a small group of human survivors struggling to survive, and a couple of friends having a 'holiday' on a resort planet.

Not all of the stories grabbed my attention, but on the whole this is a remarkable collection, well worth a read. And, as someone who normally doesn't read speculative SF, that is a big recommendation! I hope that more of Suzuki's writings will get future publications now, on the back of what is (hopefully) a successful and well-received outing for this book. The final title story, where the state offers an implant to take away stress and boredom, is a chilling and timely one indeed. To escape real life, to see the world as if it were just a reality TV show, becomes the dream:

'Even in this day and age, we still revere truth. But at the same time, we devote ourselves to the task of erasing the distinction between truth and fiction.'

Astonishing for its vision - and indeed for the author herself - this is a must-read collection that deserves to be out there. ( )
  Alan.M | Apr 20, 2021 |
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"Born from the obsessive and highly idiosyncratic mind of a cult figure of the Japanese underground, these stories borrow themes and subjects familiar to readers of Philip K. Dick and fuses them with a conflicted, tortured, and intense imagination"--

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