Author: Shinichi Hoshi (星新一)
Published by 新潮文庫
Shinichi Hoshi is well known for his short short stories and is considered to be the pioneer of Japanese SF. 『ボッコちゃん』is a collection of 50 short short stories chosen by the author himself.
This is the first time that I read stories by Shinichi Hoshi, and I was very surprised by the author’s unique style and impressive creativity. These stories are unlike anything I have read before. It sometimes felt like reading stories for children, sometimes like listening to a friend telling a joke. The stories all belong to the speculative fiction, mostly science fiction but also fantasy or mystery.
What surprised me the most is how the author managed to create an interesting outcome for each story. Even though they are very short (3 to 6 pages), many surprised me at the end. Sometimes, I even doubted whether I understood the Japanese well, because I felt that something did not make sense, but everything became clear at the end. (for example: 闇の目)
I find that some stories were mainly entertaining, while others had a more profound meaning and could be read as modern parables on human nature or contemporary way of life.
Although there are 50 stories in this collection, I cannot name a single one that I did not like. As for my favourites, they are ボッコちゃん、おーい でてこーい、マネー・エンジ、肩の上の秘書、波状攻撃 and ゆきとどいた生活.
The 50 stories of this collection are all so inventive and original, it is hard to believe that the author wrote more than 1000 short short stories!
I highly recommend Shinichi Hoshi’s short short stories to Japanese learners. They are not difficult to read, and their short format makes them perfect for reading practice and study.
I am very glad that I decided to challenge myself to read different genres in 2020, because I am having such interesting reading experience!