REVIEW: “Downgrading” by Kei Zushi

Review of Kei Zushi, Tony McNicol (trans), “Downgrading” in Hirotaka Osawa, ed., Intelligence, Artificial and Human: Eight Science Fiction Tales by Japanese Authors, (AI x SF Project, [2019]): 23-28 — More information here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology).

Content warning: contemplation of suicide.

This story felt slightly autobiographical — both the narrator and the author had a prize-winning short stories in their 20s, and then settled down to write obscure novels after that. But that’s a situation probably many readers can resonate with, or at least sympathise with, so it provides a nice hook into the rest of the story, which focuses on an artificial support system for dementia sufferers.

I found the story surprising fully of pathos and depth.

(First published in Artificial Intelligence 29, no. 1 (2014).)