Terminal Boredom is a unique book: the iconic collection of seven science fiction stories is finally available for English-speaking readers. Written in 1970s and 1980s by Izumi Suzuki – the last one was written just before she committed suicide at the age of 36. Suzuki was an intriguing character: an actress and model – the book cover is by Nobuyoshi Araki, who often photographed her – but also a pioneer of science fiction genre in Japan.
Suzuki writes about a utopian matriarchal world in which few men live in closed institutions; about love between a woman and a man from other planets, which develops against the backdrop of intergalactic conflict; about a world where overpopulation is solved by removing selected people from the real world to the world of dreams; and, in the titular story, about young people who are so addicted to screens that they can’t imagine life without them…
Since the texts are available in English only so late, it is necessary to pay attention to the context: the future that Suzuki describes may seem a bit strange to us, but she was able to predict some socio-cultural phenomena uncannily well. The sci-fi elements here appear unexpectedly, without explanation, in an extremely casual way, andmostly just as a backdrop to stories about humans (and aliens) who struggle with the same problems as we do nowadays. Suzuki’s stories offer an intimate exploration of anxiety, sadness, and resignation.
Terminal Boredom is important not only because of its historical significance as a wonderful exception in a genre dominated by men, but above all because Suzuki’s stories are still incredibly moving and relatable.