Terminal Boredom (Izumi Suzuki)
23 February 2022
On a planet where men are contained in ghettoised isolation, women enjoy the fruits of a queer matriarchal utopia -- until a boy escapes and a young woman's perception of the world is violently interupted. Two old friends enjoy cocktails on a holiday resort planet where all is not as it seems. A bickering couple emigrate to a world that has worked out an innovative way to side-step the need for war, only to bring their quarrels (and something far more destructive) with them. And in the title story, Suzuki offers readers a tragic and warped mirroring of her own final days as the tyranny of enforced screen-time and the mechanistion of labour bring about a shattering psychic collapse. At turns nonchalantly hip and charmingly deranged, Suzuki's singular slant on speculative fiction would be echoed in countless later works, from Margaret Atwood and Harumi Murakami, to Black Mirror and Ex Machina. In these darkly playful and punky stories, the fantastical elements are always earthed by the universal pettiness of strife between the sexes, and the gritty reality of life on the lower rungs, whatever planet that ladder might be on.
Sean Aaron (25 February 2022 12:00)
The last story almost redeemed this for me, but mostly it was too much of a series of meandering mood pieces that just didn’t click.
Sinclair Manson (24 February 2022 22:53)
Bleak and dreamlike, there's a terrible gravity in these stories that their protagonists struggle and fail to escape. No fantastic technology or distant world in them can cure detatchment and alienation. Annihilation of one sort or another is the only available respite. The writing itself is tricky and shifting. I'd like to go back and read these stories agsin and I'm sure they'd reward repeated reading.