Suzanne Stackle's Reviews > Microserfs

Microserfs by Douglas Coupland
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's review
Nov 08, 2010

did not like it
Read in November, 2010

Being I have not read this book since it was published in 1995. And it being a novel heavily based on technology and it's industry of the mid-nineties, the book is dated. Email use is actually explained and the internet is referred to "The Information Superhighway". (Not really the "Self-Promoting Surface Streets" it turned out to be.)

With all that said, I am finding it difficult to actually think about this book as a novel. It seemed more like an immersion in commerce/industry and it's affects on the human consciousness. The characters in the book live in a world without literature, art, music and seemly even a marginal interest in general social skills. Their insights and activities reflect in a soulless existence. As a result they all seem more than a tad ahistorical and sad. The story shows them quietly desperate for some meaning in their lives that their products fail to provide.

Douglas Coupland has the character's performing in an endless dog and pony show to prove their cleverness for the reader, to each other and to keep the story upbeat. And over and over again he likes to tell us what genius's all the character's are, which proves to be annoying after 150 pages of such. (And that being yet another personal pet peeve of mine is when authors tell you what genius's characters are.)

Coupland does in the story make an attempt to show a relationship between the body and the machine but it seems hammy and silly at best.

Nevertheless, being a person who actually lived in the Bay area during this hey day of technology, I enjoyed the story more or less as a reflection of that period and how my outlook of the world has evolved fifteen years later.
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