Okay Douglas Coupland, you’re forgiven.
Last summer I read Coupland’s Girlfriend in a Coma, and I was mad. In place of his usual witty and introspective fiction was a whacked out tale featuring a deus ex machina ending that can only have come from a bad batch of BC Bud. When I heard that he had come out with a new book, and one that was said to be Microserfs for the Google set I was cautiously happy.
Microserfs for me is Coupland at his best. After being burned on Coma I hesitated, but only a little. JPod was worth the ride. In this novel Douglas Coupland brings together a group of video game programmers doomed to share a cubicle because of a glitch in the system. Their last names all start with J. That’s all they have in common. But as they quickly learn, there’s no way out of JPod.
This book had a great mix of tech stereo-types and lampooned local custom. One of the main characters has a Mom who’s growing weed in the basement of their home in the British Properties while his Dad goes after the ever elusive speaking part. He’s constantly filming on location in Cloverdale, mostly as an extra. I found myself laughing a lot while reading this.
The plot here is a little more far-fetched than Microserfs, but you have to give Coupland credit for writing a version of himself into the story. I was reading an article in Wired that said that Coupland had read so many strange things about himself on the internet — he hates phones and never answers them! — that he decided to create a character named Douglas Coupland who embodied them all. Very nice.