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Terminal Boredom

Stories

Izumi Suzuki

$22.99

Paperback

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Verso
02 July 2021
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.
By:  
Imprint:   Verso
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 198mm,  Width: 129mm,  Spine: 15mm
Weight:   198g
ISBN:   9781788739887
ISBN 10:   1788739884
Pages:   224
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Izumi Suzuki was born in 1949. After dropping out of highschool she worked in a factory before finding success and infamy as a model and actress. Her acting credits include several classics of 1970s Japanese cinema, as well as softcore pornography. When the father of her children, the jazz musican Kaoru Abe, died of an overdose, Suzuki's creative output went into overdrive and she began producing the irreverent, punky short fiction, novels and essays that ensured her reputation would outstrip and outlast that of the men she'd been associated with in her early life. She took her own life in 1986, leaving behind a decade's worth of groundbreaking and influential writing.

Reviews for Terminal Boredom: Stories

Suzuki is a daring writer and these stories will show the English-language world what she is made of. -- Jessica Esa * Metropolis Japan (5 Japanese Novels to Read in 2021) * Her punky irreverence remains radiant * Frieze * If you're into Kobo Abe and prefer Ryu Murakami to Haruki you'll not (as the title of this inaugural translation of Suzuki into English suggests), be bored. * The Millions (Most Anticipated: The Great First-Half 2021 Book Preview) * Weird and wonderful, unique and unsettling ... You won't put this one down. * Osusume Books * The stories chosen for this collection showcase an author whose interest in alienation and despair as well as playful literary exploration parallels the work of other '70s SF titans such as Joanna Russ or Thomas Disch. . Essential reading not only for those interested in Japanese SF, but for anyone interested in spiky, beautiful, and bleak literature. -- Nell Keep * Booklist (Starred Review) * These strangely prescient stories are perfect for fans of Haruki Murakami, George Saunders, and Philip K. Dick. * Publishers Weekly * The latest inclusion in the modern canon of Japanese women authors' surreal feminist work, [Terminal Boredom] puts a distinctly sci-fi spin on the concept. * Thrillist (30 Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2021) * Surprisingly contemporary ... with pertinent musings on the mutability of gender and the elusive nature of identity. -- Declan O'Driscoll * Irish Times * With the use of speculative elements, [Suzuki's] dark and playful stories highlight the realities of living on the lower rungs of society. -- Patricia Thang * Book Riot * [Terminal Boredom plays] with tech, gender, and tradition in marvelous ways. Highly recommended. -- Patrick Rapa * Philadelphia Inquirer * There's nothing boring about the short stories in Terminal Boredom. * The A.V. Club (5 new books to read in April) * Terminal Boredom provides a historical capsule and an interesting mirror to the American science fiction of the [1970s]. -- Silvia Moreno-Garcia * Washington Post * The seven stories here are not only still relevant but remarkably fresh . brilliant -- Lisa Tuttle * Guardian * Each of the worlds Suzuki creates is deep and complex, with many of the questions raised lingering long after the last page and making you crave more. -- Iain Maloney * Japan Times * An engaging and highly-relevant collection of short stories that will resonate with many readers, especially fans of writers like Philip K. Dick, Kurt Vonnegut, and even George Orwell, but from a refreshingly female perspective. -- Rachel Stanyon * Asymptote Journal * Full of punk, punch, and feminist shruggings ... a spiky, timeless, and timely collection of psychologically astute speculative fiction * Lunate Fiction * Sure to be a treat for fans of Haruki Murakami, George Saunders, and the twisty genre experimentation of Black Mirror. * Chicago Review of Books (12 Must-Read Books for April) * The work and messages of Ursula K. Le Guin, the author's longer-lived contemporary, come to mind. -- Catherine Lacey * New York Times * A welcome glimpse inside the mind of a writer whose talent has been overlooked for far too long. * All the Anime * Suzuki's stories are reminiscent of the unhinged science fiction dystopias of the master of the craft, Philip K. Dick ... [and] extend the canon of twentieth century science fiction. -- Ian MacAllen * Chicago Review of Books * Suzuki's work, now released in English for the first time, marks an exciting moment. Its themes feel of-the-moment despite being written over thirty years ago, and yet they are also surreal-the imagined artificialities of the 1980s written as futuristic now mirror our mundane, modern technology. -- Makenna Goodman * Electric Literature * The themes of [Suzuki's] fiction thrum with a resistant, brightly grim tension. Passing decades certainly haven't dulled the razor's cut of her punk sensibilities. -- Lee Mandelo * Tor * A vital addition to the science fiction canon in the anglophone world ... If there is any proof needed that the future has ended, it is that these stories can speak to us so directly across the four decades since their writing. -- Calum Barnes * The Quietus * Dazzling ... her stories are characterised by the elegance with which they pierce the well-ordered surface of modern life to uncover the corrosion at its heart. -- Andy Hedgecock * Morning Star * At last, we have access to some of [Suzuki's] most exciting works * Books & Bao * Terminal Boredom is even more striking and believable in 2020 than it was in 1980 . Suzuki's feminist spirit is as relevant and her stories as piercing today as they were more than thirty years ago -- Alison Fincher * Asian Review of Books * One of the freshest collections I've read in years. -- Andy Weir * Toronto Star * Brilliant and often bleak . all shot through with a camp ethos, dark humour and kitchen-sink realism . in their brio and jagged urgency, these stories have, if anything, only gained in their alarming immediacy. -- Bryan Karetnyk * Times Literary Supplement * A thoroughly likeable and engaging book -- Bernard Cohen * South China Morning Post * Whether riffing on the poison of technology or about private feelings of loneliness and want, there is a psychic complexity to Suzuki's fiction ... Terminal Boredom is a reason for celebration. -- Jason Parham * WIRED * No matter how strange the fictional worlds of the future she manufactures, her reader would find something deeply familiar in the simple conversations of her characters. -- Xiaochen Su * The News Lens * Although they were written in the 70s and 80s, some of [the stories in Terminal Boredom] feel so fresh that it would be easy to mistake them as new ... For its time, the writing is subversive, defiant, and unapologetic, and for our time, it is poignant and prescient. -- Leah Binns * Full Stop * Gets under the skin ... The groundlessness of life, the absence of the big Other, is a disconcerting theme and a feminist perspective is explored in a highly speculative and punkish way -- Sean Sheehan * The Prisma * Wildly imaginative ... Psychologically this book is not an easy read, but intellectually it is fascinating -- Kerryn Goldsworthy * Syndey Morning Herald * Izumi Suzuki was a wonderful writer who should've been published in English much sooner. Like the protagonist of 'Women and Women', we've been deprived of some good jams. -- Lloyd Markham * New Welsh Review * Sucks you with its darkness. -- Eugen Bacon * Aurealis * Darkly irreverent ... such well-written anatomies of anxiety and dissatisfaction are both timeless and of obvious relevance today. -- Rhian E. Jones * New Humanist * Intriguing from start to finish, rife with bitter truths about relationships, imaginative haunting worlds, and-buried beneath it all-some insightful commentary on the human condition. -- Ethan Wescoatt * International Examiner * Suzuki's science fiction isn't neatly categorisable ... Her voice is fiercely unique and her stories linger in the corner of the mind's eye long after reading - devour them. -- Jennifer Brough * Lucy Writers Platform * The truths, beauty and strangeness [Suzuki] gave the world throughout her career are hard-fought, rewarding, and demanding. -- Josh Wilson * The Fabulist * Startlingly prescient ... Part of what makes Suzuki's storytelling so engrossing is her ability to depict existential boredom and grim, sometimes terrifying, futures without falling into fatalism. -- Julia Shiota * The Ploughshares Blog * Terminal Boredom is a subtle but sharp collection ... and a worthwhile introduction to Izumi Suzuki's work. -- Juliet Jacques * Tribune *


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