Synopses & Reviews
Very evil....very funny. A lethal joyride into today's new breed of technogeeks, Douglas Coupland's new novel updates Microserfs
for the age of Google.
Ethan Jarlewski and five co-workers are bureaucratically marooned in JPod, a no-escape architectural limbo on the fringes of a massive Vancouver video game design company. The six JPodders wage daily battle against the demands of a boneheaded marketing staff, who daily torture employees with idiotic changes to already idiotic games. Meanwhile, Ethan's personal life is shaped (or twisted) by phenomena as disparate as Hollywood, marijuana grow-ops, people-smuggling, ballroom dancing, and the rise of China.
JPod's universe is amoral and shameless and dizzyingly fast-paced. The characters are products of their era even as they're creating it. Everybody in Ethan's life inhabits a moral grey zone. Nobody is exempt, not even his seemingly straitlaced parents or Coupland himself. Full of word games, visual jokes, and sideways jabs, this book throws a sharp, pointed lawn dart into the heart of contemporary life. JPod is Douglas Coupland at the top of his game.
"Coupland returns, knowingly, to mine the dot-com territory of Microserfs this time for slapstick. Young Ethan Jarlewski works long hours as a video-game developer in Vancouver, surfing the Internet for gore sites and having random conversations with co-workers on JPod, the cubicle hive where he works, where everyone's last name begins with J. Before Ethan can please the bosses and the marketing department (they want a turtle, based on a reality TV host, inserted into the game Ethan's been working on for months) or win the heart of co-worker Kaitlin, Ethan must help his mom bury a biker she's electrocuted in the family basement which houses her marijuana farm; give his dad, an actor desperately longing for a speaking part, yet another pep talk; feed the 20 illegal Chinese immigrants his brother has temporarily stored in Ethan's apartment; and pass downtime by trying to find a wrong digit in the first 100,000 places (printed on pages 383-406) of pi. Coupland's cultural name-dropping is predictable (Ikea, the Drudge Report, etc.), as is the device of bringing in a fictional Douglas Coupland to save Ethan's day more than once. But like an ace computer coder loaded up on junk food at 4 a.m., Coupland derives his satirical, spirited humor's energy from the silly, strung-together plot and thin characters. Call it Microserfs 2.0." Publishers weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"At times it reads like the textual equivalent of a 1980's-era Nintendo game: a virtual playground where Coupland's more irritatingly mannered habits run amok. But when it works, JPod is a sleek and necessary device: the finely tuned output of an author whose obsolescence is thankfully years away." New York Times
"[T]here is brilliance at work in JPod. Not to mention more LOLs than you could shake a bong at." Los Angeles Times
"JPod may not age well; like the culture that it teases, it's cheap, goes down easy and may be ultimately disposable. But, like Andy Warhol's soup can, it might turn out to be more than meets the eye." Rocky Mountain News
"As both actual and cyber mayhem crest, Coupland, himself a character in this rampaging comedy, reminds us that no matter how seductive the virtual realm is, it is real life that requires our keenest attention." Booklist
"At this point...criticizing Coupland for too many pop-culture and trademarked-name references is as tired as dismissing the Rolling Stones simply for being old. Perhaps it's time to admire his virtuoso tone and how he has refined it over 11 novels." USA Today
"[T]he novel can be a fun read, with its loopy interludes (like random quotes for the tech literate from video games, toy packages, websites, epic chain e-mails, etc.), bizarre characters and ripped-from-the-cubicle dialogue." Denver Post
Six co-workers are bureaucratically marooned in JPod, a no-escape architectural limbo on the fringes of a massive Vancouver video-game-design company. Full of word games, visual jokes, and sideways jabs, this book throws a sharp, pointed lawn dart into the heart of contemporary life.
JPod, Douglas Coupland's most acclaimed novel to date, is a lethal joyride into today's new breed of tech worker. Ethan Jarlewski and five co-workers whose surnames begin with "J" are bureaucratically marooned in jPod, a no-escape architectural limbo on the fringes of a massive Vancouver game design company. The jPodders wage daily battle against the demands of a boneheaded marketing staff, who daily torture employees with idiotic changes to already idiotic games. Meanwhile, Ethan's personal life is shaped (or twisted) by phenomena as disparate as Hollywood, marijuana grow-ops, people-smuggling, ballroom dancing, and the rise of China. JPod's universe is amoral, shameless, and dizzyingly fast-paced like our own.
About the Author
Coupland is a contributing editor to Wired and has been contributor to The New York Times and The New Republic.