Addicted to novelty since 2001

Doug Coupland and His Cunnilingus Webring

Quit Bogarting My ChildhoodThis weekend, I finished jPod, Douglas Coupland’s new book about game developers at a thinly-veiled version of EA Sports in Burnaby (thanks to Colin for lending it to me).

As I’ve written elsewhere, I have a somewhat fraught relationship to Coupland’s books. On the one hand, they’re often like visiting the neighbourhood where I grew up, because it’s the same one he grew up in. On the other hand, that familiarity is kind of eerie.

jPod is no exception, as, in addition to the game company, his protagonist’s parents live on the North Shore, and one of his characters has one of those massive, Asian-owned West Van mansions that I grew up hanging out in.

As for the book itself, my affection for Coupland peaked with Life After God and has been headed downward ever since. jPod is kind of an anti-book–it’s all story and no plot. His characters tend to have this detachment which makes his novels easy if not engaging to read.

Coupland’s clearly a pop culture maven, and getting most of those references makes me feel smart, but I’m not sure that makes a good book. Plus, he’s apparently terrified of anything to do with sex or violence. It’s all too appropriate that his book’s cover has Lego people on the cover.

Lastly, his rendition of a gaming company is accurate but for one major factor. In jPod, his game developers find all sorts of creative and unusual ways to waste time. When I worked at a gaming company, everybody just played Quake and Starcraft.

The title of this entry comes from a running joke in JPod. Repeatedly, when they try to search for something in Google, they end up at a cunnilingus webring. I checked, and such a thing doesn’t appear to exist. So, I thought I’d own the phrase in Google and associate it with Mr. Coupland.

7 Responses to “Doug Coupland and His Cunnilingus Webring”

  1. Jeff

    Finished jPod recently and I enjoyed it to a degree. I liked getting many of the obscure-ish web culture references, but agree that inserting them does not make a good book.

    The Zima jokes wore a little thin, as did Coupland’s use of himself as a character in the book. I’d love to get my hands on one of those globes at the end though.

    Oh, by the way, I checked and there is also no chokingforit.com (Well there is…but it was created by a jpod reader).

  2. heather

    i’m a self-confessed coupland fangirl, but i found jpod wholly unsatisfying.

    while the appearance of the author in the book was amusing at first, it became almost an affectation by the end. this is in addition to the how many numbers of pages of binary, prime numbers and other non-content? it felt like he was re-writing microserfs, but in my neighbourhood instead of redmond.

    i found myself both glad i received the book as a gift and guilty someone else paid money good for it.

  3. Derek K. Miller

    I think Coupland’s been uneven. I haven’t read jPod yet, but I likely still will. I thought Hey Nostradamus! was his best in years, and there were certainly sex and violence in that too. He is something of a one-trick pony too, but the thing that bugs me the most is that his non-fiction books contain obvious inaccuracies that any decent publisher should catch in fact-checking. I still like his writing, and his books are short, so I end up reading them regardless.

  4. alexis

    I think he’s a bit full of himself. This book, while entertaining was glib. My problem with him is that he’s lost the urgency and heart that he had in his earlier books.

    (Plus you and I both agree that he’s a shitty, shitty reader)

  5. joel

    i am currently halfway through the book and i find it quite interesting, especially how he uses himself as a character… cant really say much else at the moment

  6. LAN

    I’ve read all of Coupland’s books and my favorites are Generation X and Microserfs – and now, jPod (Shampoo Planet used to be another favorite, but I reread it this year and the magic was gone). I never really thought Hey Nostradamus, Life after God and the rest of his books were that good.
    I had great expectations to jPod because of the whole “Microserfs for the age of Google”-thingy but it’s definitely not the same style, only the same themes.

  7. milan

    I actually like radishes and I go and buy radishes – I even love to sit down in front of the TV and eat radishes, cheese ad crackers
    If you’ve read Jpod you know what I am talking about. By the way the book is not so bad, lots of good observations, still makes me laugh
    there is a lot of way worse shit out there to read and you do not even realize it is hsit till you get too much inot the book

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