Saturday, November 27, 2010

Player One

This is the first Douglas Coupland novel I've read. I picked it up on a trip to Boston, as it had the appeal of being "A Novel in Five Hours", which, it took me a moment to realize, is the reading time, not the writing time.

So -- I found it fascinating and engaging, but for me, it kind of jumped the shark when the shotgun came out. Why is there always a shotgun? Nonetheless, it was simple, straightforward, and enjoyable -- I particularly liked the business of seeing the same scenes multiple times from the points of view of different characters.

It has a pleasing surprise at the end, as well -- a thirty-page section called "Future Legend", which is a glossary of terms. Some terms were used in the book, but others are just concepts that the book touched on, and still others are not in the book at all. Almost all of them show Coupland's passion for previously unlabeled psychological phenomena.

Some examples:
Drinking Your Own Spit: That's what it feels like to see yourself on TV. 

Fictive Rest: The common inability of many people to be able to sleep until they have read even the tiniest amount of fiction. Although the element of routine is important at sleep time, reading fiction in bed allows another person's inner voice to hijack one's own, thus relaxing and lubricating the brain for sleep cycles. One booby trap, though: Don't finish  your book before you fall asleep. Doing so miraculously keeps your brain whizzing for hours.

Omniscience Fatigue: The burnout that comes with being able to know the answer to almost any question online.
 Anyway, reading this has certainly made me curious to read some other Coupland novels. 


  1. Read JPod Jesse, It's another of his books. That is one I read in my first year at uni and it was very fresh to me. They made a terrible TV show out of it but it's a wacky read!

  2. Douglas Coupland is a fantastic author, though he is inconsistent. I love the variety of his writing. Some are better than others. I must say that Microserfs is one of my top 5 favorite books. Read it before JPod since JPod is a sequel I think. Maybe it's just a spiritual sequel. My other favorite of his is Generation X. Enjoy!

  3. I agree with Jack, JPod was the first Coupland book that I read and it got me hooked pretty quick.
    Generation A is another one of his newer books that I would recommend.

  4. Generation X, Microsurfs, Girlfiend in a Coma etc. The early stuff was his best work ;-)