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Bit Rot

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  707 ratings  ·  88 reviews
Bit Rot, a new collection from Douglas Coupland that explores the different ways 20th-century notions of the future are being shredded, is a gem of the digital age. Reading Bit Rot feels a lot like bingeing on Netflix... you can't stop with just one. "Bit rot" is a term used in digital archiving to describe the way digital files can spontaneously and quickly decompose. As ...more
Paperback, 199 pages
Published 2015 by Witte de With Publishers
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3.78  · 
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 ·  707 ratings  ·  88 reviews

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Oct 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anthology, 2016, netgalley, buy

As usual Douglas Coupland does not disappoint. This collection of slightly random short stories were very well written and unique. The general theme of the collection appeared to concern technology and the future. A few stories hit somewhat close to home, but Coupland's dark wit made it bearable.

This was not a full five stars for me due to Coupland's occasional pretentiousness, and the constant referral to Detroit as a rock full of monkeys with nothing to do all day...which felt rather racist.
Ben Babcock
Here Douglas Coupland goes again, trying to break our brains and our library cataloguing systems. Is Bit Rot fiction or non-fiction? It’s a collection of both! Oh noes! It contains short stories, including some previously published in Generation A (which I read almost 7 years ago, so I have zero recollection of any of it), and essays and assorted musings. In general, this is Coupland’s most up-to-date published writing on how we’re dealing with the rapid pace of technological progress.

I’m not
Kent Winward
Apr 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Coupland's collection hangs together nicely, mirroring the digital disruption in our lives, while maintaining our collective humanity. In some ways this book felt like a new genre, a new way of accessing the authorial voice in book form in the digital age. The combination of essays, random reviews of questions asked search engines, fanciful short stories, and musings about how technology impacts our lives felt like a very satisfying romp through Coupland's head. He is constantly reminding us tha ...more
Jul 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed the nonfiction, more essayish aspects a lot more than the fiction, which was often unsubtle. Made lots of interesting, terrifying points about the world and technology. Well worth a read.
Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are very few things as fascinating as seeing the world trough the eyes of an artist, and that's what this book is about. I didn't like the short stories so much, but that's my own problem with short stories, but the little essays were mostly jewels.

Ci sono poche cose affascinanti come guardare il mondo attraverso gli occhi di un artista, ed é piú o meno il riassunto di questo libro. I racconti non mi hanno fatto impazzire, ma questo é dovuto al mio problema con le storie brevi, ma i piccol
I love Douglas Coupland's work. Well, I love some of his work. On the fiction side: Microserfs (best), Jpod, Life After God .. I guess that's it (the rest of it is generally a little too angsty and melancholic). But where Coupland really shines for me is his non-fiction, his essays and musings and revelations and bon mot about technology and our lives - or, in some ways, just our lives. I thought Shopping in Jail: Ideas, Essays and Stories for an Increasingly Real Twenty-First Century was fantas ...more
Susan Strickland
Yet again has Douglas Coupland written a book that seems to be stitched from things I have been thinking, current events that recur as if in loop and make the past appear as the future, and short stories that I wish were novels (see "Temp.") Did he hear all those times I expounded on the superiority of airport floors above all other floors? Does he know the only shows I watch are about hoarders? And how about the repeated mentions of my employer? Though if you're reading this, Doug, you should k ...more
Sep 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer: I received a galley proof from Netgalley in exchange for a fair review.

What can I say? Douglas Coupland is a master wordsmith, an observer of the absurd, and one of my favourite authors.
This essays in this collection are unrelated, but connected in that Coupland way that can reduce scenarios and ideas to their basic elements.
Don't miss Fear of Shine (notes on art) or Notes on Twenty-First Century Relationships. Actually, don't miss any of these.
Highly recommended
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Bit Rot: stories + essays by Douglas Coupland is a very highly recommended thought provoking eclectic collection of over 65 essays and stories. "'Bit Rot' is a term used in digital archiving that describes the way digital files of any sort spontaneously (and quickly) decompose. It also describes the way my brain has been feeling since 2000, as I shed older and weaker neurons and connections and enhance new and unexpected ones."

I enjoyed the intermingling of the essays and the stories in this ver
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I hadn't read any Douglas Coupland in about 7 years, until I saw this anthology at the Public Library used book store for a steal of 50 cents.

I just love Douglas Coupland. He's witty, sarcastic, and teases out interesting insights about people and technology. This collection of short stories, anecdotes, essays, and other media was a page-turner, easy to digest (in its small pieces - average piece length was about 4 pages), and consistently funny and insightful.

Reading this is going to prompt m
Nov 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Of course I could look up who actually said it, and where and when. But this blurring of memory entries, this set of subjective data, is precisely what makes up our inner landscape, our mind and, as such, who we are and what we do."
Steve Gillway
Apr 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays, fantasy, faction
Imagine taking a clever articulate well travelled guy who was interested in art, science, tech, ecology, current affairs and the minutiae of everyday existence and you could put all his thoughts, whims, story ideas on shuffle. The end result would be a book like this. I suppose for the ultimate experience you should read the ebook on shuffle. As always though, he does have thought provoking ideas.
Christopher Condit
Oct 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Extremely readable set of short essays mostly about art, tech, and life. Coupland comes across as delightfully charming. Handful of short short stories mixed in. Longer works in last fifth of book are somewhat less successful. Witty and graceful. Minus a star for being somewhat shallow and repetitive. Highly recommended for fans, limited recommendation for other thoughtful types.
Tessy Consentino
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It's no surprise that I love Douglas Coupland. Generation X was assigned to me in college and I fell in love. This books has a mix of non-fiction and fiction. Lots of writing on the future, technology and what ifs. Living Big and The Ones That Got Away were two of my favorite essays.
Bigi Parsons
Apr 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Douglas Couplands ironic view of life was a tonic to read each night after the usual daily onslaught of tragic political news.
Jason Robinson
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
A timely collection of essays and stories from Vancouver based author and artist Douglas Coupland.
Sophie Fields
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book was so bad I wondered why it got published. Not really sure who Douglas Copeland even is but the way he speaks about the internet and modern society makes me CRINGE... let’s get some writing on the table by people who actually USE the internet rather than look at it from a distance...
I'm not sure how to review this book. This isn't my genre, I'm going to go ahead and say I'm not sure what this genre is.
Some editorial/opinion pieces and some fiction stories...essays and short stories. If that's a genre, that's what this was.
Some I liked, some I didn't. There was a lot of repeated story components, so much so, that I often thought I accidentally was re-reading something.
I really enjoyed his pace and sense of humor. Frequently, I would laugh out loud as his "voice" is quite hu
Gokcan Demirkazik
"...but sunglasses got Jackie O through the last three decades of her life."
-from "Mrs. McCarthy and Mrs. Brown"

I purchased "Bit Rot" with no other expectation than that it would expose me to some imaginative, cutting-edge writing. All of the columns and the short stories, including the witty novella "Temp," made really gripping reads with Coupland's humorous-smart takes on where technology and "modern" lifestyles will lead us. It did not, however, provide much insight into the eponymous exhibit
Dec 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Original, fun, engaging and relevant short stories and essays.
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

“The sick thing about prisons is that, to a point, incarcerated people are very good for the economy: prison jobs, legal fees, construction contracts and political pork. As a bonus, when a government criminalises you, they then have a permanent, excellent tool for controlling you. From an evil point of view, criminalising as many people as possible is good for capitalism and for those in power. Until it unravels.”

You probably knew that bakeries are put into supermarkets, because the smell of bak
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
Some parts read like an art exhibit catalog. Others seem almost to have been written as trial screenplays for Netflix or Amazon--the one about George Washington's makeover, for instance. Most are consumed and digested in a few minutes.

Some make clever insights about popular media. It's just that, in this form, Bit Rot doesn't capture the ebullient élan of Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture or Shampoo Planet.

As a sadistic exercise I'd like to throw Coupland in a locked room with an ol
John Tetteroo
Mar 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Douglas Coupland is very much a contemporary writer. Most of his essays seem to age in a hurry. Bit Rot is very 2015 and aging rapidly. Some of his works age like good wine, ohters like cheese. This bundel was once food for thought for the contemporary man, but goes the way of all time-capsules. Heaven to those melancholic for yesterdays issues.
Mr Coupland writes excellent essays, which are extremly readable. He sometimes tries his hand at short stories or modern day parables. These are the wea
Michel Siskoid Albert
Douglas Coupland's Bit Rot is a collection of essays and short stories written between 2005 and 2015, all dealing in some way with how the human brain has been rewired in the 21st Century thanks to the Internet, other technological advances, and post 9/11 realities. While there is an apocalyptic bent to some of these texts, especially the short fables included (many of them first published as part of the novel Generation A), Coupland welcomes these changes as a necessary evolution of the human s ...more
Gary Lang
Feb 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Coupland is always worth reading, but his work is less profound than it used to be. The essays are from a variety of publications - short subjects published in Financial Times, some blogs, and some are reprinting from a previous book that I'd already read which was only communicated in some fine print.
Still, 3-star Coupland is like 4-5 star for many other writers. He has that perpetual awareness of being online or having the potential to be online and how this has changed his thinking that other
Toyin A
Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it

This book was an interesting collection of essays and stories that keep the reader learning, mulling, laughing and perhaps shed a tear.

Douglas writes very fluidly and provides stories that are sure to make you learn a thing or 2.

Rating: 4/5

Favourite quote: "Science tells us that all humans grow ten thousand new brain cells a day, but if we don’t activate them by learning new things, they’re reabsorbed back into our bodies—which is slightly creepy, but if you don’t try to retain them, then you pr
Feb 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: canadian
Classic Douglas Coupland.

I appreciated the essays more than the short stories in this collection. It was raw, a little whiny, a little self-indulgent, but ultimately exactly what I, as a tail-end-of-Gen-Xer have been thinking about a lot of cultural disintegration. Maybe disintegration isn't the right word. Maybe it's just change.

The stories/essays in this collection are bite sized (byte size?), which makes it great for a pick-it-up-and-go book.

All in all, solid anecdotes from a Canadian auth
A mix of essays and short stories (which mostly appeared in Generation A, one of Coupland's most forgettable novels), this has more hits than misses. It's always interesting when Coupland writes about the intersection of technology and society, and those bits were the strongest parts of the book. There were a few headscratchers here, but that is usually the case in collections like this. If you like Coupland you will enjoy this, if you're looking for an introduction to his work I'd look to Micro ...more
Jun 30, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
You have to admire Coupland's dedication to recycling. This compilation of short clips of old and new book excerpts and essays varies accordingly in interest every couple of pages or so. I would give it a 2 1/2 stars, if Goodreads' system allowed it, but it was worth reading, especially since it was easy to skip over some lesser sections. It contains some interesting observations on the evaporation of the middle class.
Jan 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Things learned from this book:

'Horror vacui' Latin for "fear of empty space".

'Troubadour' a composer and performer of Old Occitan lyric poetry during the High Middle Ages.

'Asymptote' is a line or curve that approaches a given curve arbitrarily closely.(analytic geometry)

'Proprioception' is the sense of the relative position of one's own parts of the body and strength of effort being employed in movement. It is sometimes described as the "sixth sense"
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Douglas Coupland is Canadian, born on a Canadian Air Force base near Baden-Baden, Germany, on December 30, 1961. In 1965 his family moved to Vancouver, Canada, where he continues to live and work. Coupland has studied art and design in Vancouver, Canada, Milan, Italy and Sapporo, Japan. His first novel, Generation X, was published in March of 1991. Since then he has published nine novels and sever ...more
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“Worrying about money is one of the worst worries. It’s like having locked-in syndrome, except you’re still moving around and doing things. Your head burns. If other people are not having money problems, it pisses you off because it reminds you that you’re limited in the ways you can express your agency in the world, and they aren’t. Worrying about money is anger-inducing because it makes you think about time: how many dollars per hour, how much salary per year, how many years until retirement. Worrying about money forces you to do endless math in your head, and most people didn’t like math in high school and they don’t like it now.” 1 likes
“So I got to thinking that perhaps that’s what money is: a crystallization—or, rather, a homogenization—of time and free will into those things we call dollars and pounds and yen and euros. Money multiplies your time. It also expands your agency and broadens the number of things you can do accordingly. Big-time lottery winners haven’t won ten million dollars—they’ve won ten thousand person-years of time to do pretty much anything they want anywhere on Earth. Windfalls are like the crystal meth version of time and free will.” 1 likes
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