Terminal Boredom

Izumi Suzuki

This is a selection of science fiction short stories published in Japan between the 1960s and 1980s. Where I can find a publishing year I've included it.

Chapter Summaries

Women And Women (1978)

The male population has declined as a result of pollution and war, and all men are imprisoned at birth. One day, a girl sees a boy from out her window; she starts a secret dialogue with him, knowing that it is forbidden. He forces himself on her in an abandoned factory and is sent back to the camps; the story ends with her wondering how she can live knowing what she knows about men, and women.

I saw this described as “ambivalent feminist separatism” in a paper.

You May Dream

The narrator's friend is put into cryosleep as part of a draconian population control policy by the government. The narrator agrees to transfer her consciousness, and they meet in the narrator's dreams. But the dreamworld they've created is cold, and harsh, and nihilistic, and when the narrator is sent to cryosleep they decline to share consciousness, thinking people will be happier without them around.

That Old Seaside Club

A woman travels to an uncanny, superficially pleasant planet. She finds herself surrounded by addicts and nostalgic for memories that don't feel like hers. Everyone is desperately scrambling to keep what might already have been lost.

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

Jane is interrupted at the arcade by an old woman who reminds him of his ex Reiko. We take a tour through their distant, drug-addled relationship: Jane's cold indifference, Reiko's addiction. The old woman is Reiko: they sit and talk and listen to music, wondering if things could've turned out differently.


The relationship between an alien and a human is strained as their governments teeter on the edge of war. The alien and his comrades are afraid of Earth's brutal expansionism and plan an escape. Both he and the human try to escape the inevitable, either literally or with substances.

Terminal Boredom

Two teenagers are adrift and unemployed in an automated police state. One has an implant that makes them want to watch TV — the other doesn't need it, it's all she has to do. After witnessing a murder they believe the only way to feel and connect is through violence.