Douglas Coupland is one of my favourite authors. Although, after reading JPod, I’m not so sure.

I read his earlier work, Microserfs. The book was a catalyst for me to learn more about serfdoms and the reflection of serfdom in modern life.

Within Microserfs, there were stories of talented youth who believed in technology as a cause and the power of technology to transform and enrich. In the process, they were being exploited by a software factory called Microsoft. The main characters demonstrated values and integrity. They left Microsoft to form their own company. To change the world. To make an impact.

JPod is not like that. JPod is a depressing story filled with random nonsense and completely amoral individuals. Technology is presented as a way to divert focus from menial and unfulfilling cubicle jobs through Google and eBay and email.

One message is clear: a career in technology is a dead-end.

And another message is clear: we have become a society where the superficial is paramount. There is no meaning to life. There is no moral compass. There is just JPod.

The book made me angry. At times, where Coupland fills page after page with sequences of numbers, or three-letter Scrabble words, I asked myself why I should continue to read such nonsense.

And then I would receive another Nigerian 419 spam. And, to a certain degree, much of the high velocity information age and the challenge to focus on the substantive as opposed to the superficial, became quite clear. JPod is not some detached experience. It is surprisingly normal. I see it in my everyday life.

That was the source of my anger. That we have allowed technology and society to evolve along these lines. And that it has become normal.

I think it is time for me to read a different book.

1 reply
  1. Stephen Meyer
    Stephen Meyer says:

    I read Coupland’s book Hey Nostradamus! about two years ago. The only novel of his I’ve ever read. I really enjoyed it. I thought he had some good things to say, but I’ll admit that I wasn’t happy to hear all of them either.


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