Reads: JPod

The thing about Douglas Coupland is how he writes the most dysfunctional, neurotic, patently disturbed characters imaginable, but I always end up wishing I had friends exactly like that. In fact, quoting an Amazon review, “the type of people Coupland depicts are precisely the type of people who consume Coupland novels“, which is something I find strangely both worrisome and extremely flattering.

JPod, in the novel, refers to a group of coders working on an ill-managed video game project, the least peculiar feature of which is a skateboarding turtle imprinted with the constructed mien of Survivor host Jeff Probst. Seriously. Each JPodder struggles with the eternal conflict between marketing and engineering, whilst dealing with their own as well as each other’s peculiarly Couplandish idiosyncrasy, of which there are many and weird.

While the backhanded compliment of inserting himself in the novel for an occasional deus ex machina is a little forced, Coupland’s patented self-referential easter eggs throughout the book are pretty hilarious. The story is not so much plot-driven as a steady narration by protagonist Ethan as he helps bury lovelorn bikers, pioneer hobo couture and rescue his junkie boss from a Chinese sweatshop.

Loaded with non-sequiturs and ultra-serious meditations on pop culture – of which I can never get enough, trivia geek that I am JPod is funny as shit and typically satirical of the commercial tech industry, with Coupland tapping the rich vein he mined so well back in Microserfs. My all-time favourite Coupland novel is still between Girlfriend in a Coma and Microserfs, but JPod comes pretty close.

(ISBN No: 1596911042) Check NLB Catalogue for item availability.


3 Responses to “Reads: JPod”

  1. 1 mis_nomer June 18, 2007 at 10:45

    I wonder if I’ll like books by Coupland.. Think I’ll check out Girlfriend in a Coma since it is available at the Library. (as an aside, do you have a secret wish to be dysfunctional?)

  2. 2 billy June 18, 2007 at 22:48

    i have to say though, i think Girlfriend is kinda uncharacteristic of Coupland, so Microserfs might be a bit more representative.
    that said, u should check him out anyways.

  3. 3 disko June 24, 2007 at 23:13

    microserfs deinitely ranks as one of my top 10 favourites of all time. extrapolating, i dug jpop too, which was meant as a “sorta” sequel to microserfs.

    i wouldn’t say so for girlfriend in a coma, kinda emo. but gives a good imaginery trip anyway.

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