Book: Douglas Coupland «Microserfs»

Microserfs

From the acclaimed author of Hey Nostradamus! comes a wonderful comic novel with "more one-liners than a decade of Woody Allen films" (Guardian), about the scramble for love and success in a brave new world! Bill is wise. Bill is kind. Bill is benevolent. Bill, Be My Friend! Please! At computer giant Microsoft, Dan, Susan, Abe, Todd and Bug are struggling to get a life. The job may be super cool, the pay may be astronomical, but they're heading nowhere, and however hard they work, however many shares they earn, they're never going to be as rich as Bill. And besides, with all the hours they're putting in, their best relationships are on e-mail. Something's got to give!

Издательство: "Harper Perennial" (2004)

Формат: 130x195, 400 стр.

ISBN: 0-00-717981-2

Купить за 1299 руб на Озоне

Douglas Coupland

Douglas Coupland
Born December 30, 1961 (1961-12-30) (age 49)
CFB Baden-Söllingen, West Germany
Occupation Writer, Artist
Nationality Canadian
Literary movement Postmodernism, Modernism
Notable work(s) Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, Microserfs, & JPod
Partner(s) David Weir[1]


coupland.com

Douglas Coupland (pronounced COPE-lund)[2] (born December 30, 1961) is a Canadian novelist. His fiction is complemented by recognized works in design and visual art arising from his early formal training. His first novel, the 1991 international bestseller Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, popularized terms such as McJob and Generation X. He has published thirteen novels, a collection of short stories, seven non-fiction books, and a number of dramatic works and screenplays for film and television. Coupland has been described as "...possibly the most gifted exegete of North American mass culture writing today."[3] and "one of the great satirists of consumerism".[4] A specific feature of Coupland's novels is their synthesis of postmodern religion, Web 2.0 technology, human sexuality, and pop culture.

Coupland lives in West Vancouver, British Columbia with his partner David Weir.[1] He published his twelfth novel Generation A in 2009. He also released an updated version of City of Glass and a biography on Marshall McLuhan for Penguin Canada in their Extraordinary Canadians series, called Extraordinary Canadians: Marshall McLuhan.[5] He is the presenter of the 2010 Massey Lectures, and a companion novel to the lectures, Player One – What Is to Become of Us: A Novel in Five Hours. Coupland has been longlisted twice for the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2006 and 2010, respectively.,[6] was a finalist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize in 2009,[7] and was nominated for the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize in 2011 for Extraordinary Canadians: Marshall McLuhan.[8][9][10]

Contents

Early life

Coupland was born on December 30, 1961 at Royal Canadian Air Force base RCAF Station Baden-Soellingen (later CFB Baden-Soellingen) in Baden-Söllingen, West Germany, the second of four sons to Dr. Douglas Charles Thomas Coupland, a medical officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force, and homemaker C. Janet Coupland, a graduate in comparative religion from McGill University. In 1965, the Coupland family relocated to West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, where Coupland's father opened private family medical practice at the completion of his military tour.

Coupland describes his upbringing as producing a "blank slate".[11] "My mother comes from a sour-faced family of preachers who from the 19th century to well into the 20th scoured the prairies thumping Bibles. Her parents tried to get away from that but unwittingly transmitted their values to my mother. My father's family weren't that different."[11]

Graduating from Sentinel Secondary School in West Vancouver in 1979, Coupland went to McGill University with the intention of (like his father) studying the sciences, specifically physics.[12] Coupland left McGill at the year's end and returned to Vancouver to attend art school.

At the Emily Carr College of Art and Design (now the Emily Carr University of Art and Design) on Granville Island in Vancouver, in Coupland's words, "I … had the best four years of my life. It's the one place I've felt truly, totally at home. It was a magic era between the hippies and the PC goon squads. Everyone talked to everyone and you could ask anybody anything."[13] Coupland graduated from Emily Carr in 1984 with a focus on sculpture, and moved on to study at the European Design Institute in Milan, Italy and the Hokkaido College of Art and Design in Sapporo, Japan.[13] He also completed courses in business science, fine art, and industrial design in Japan in 1986.

Established as a designer working in Tokyo, Coupland suffered a skin condition brought on by Tokyo's summer climate, and returned to Vancouver.[13] Before leaving Japan, Coupland had sent a postcard ahead to a friend in Vancouver. The friend's husband, a magazine editor, read the postcard and offered Coupland a job writing for the magazine.[13] Coupland began writing for magazines as a means of paying his studio bills.[14] Reflecting on his becoming a writer, Coupland has admitted that he became one "By accident. I never wanted to be a writer. Now that I do it, there's nothing else I'd rather do."[15]

Coupland's work regimen has been characterized as anti-slacker. He works seven days a week, with no vacations. Coupland is quoted as saying: "I've never taken a holiday. To lie on a beach someplace seems almost sinful. What's the point of being around unless you're working on something?"[2]

Generation X to Life After God

From 1989 to 1990, Coupland lived in the Mojave Desert working on a handbook about the birth cohort that followed the baby boom.[16] He received a $22,500 advance from St. Martin's Press to write the nonfiction handbook. Instead, Coupland wrote a novel, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture.[17] It was rejected in Canada before being accepted by an American publishing house in 1991.[18] Reflecting on the writing of his debut novel years later, Coupland said, "I remember spending my days almost dizzy with loneliness and feeling like I'd sold the family cow for three beans. I suppose it was this crippling loneliness that gave Gen X its bite. I was trying to imagine a life for myself on paper that certainly wasn't happening in reality."[19] Not an instant success, the novel steadily increased in sales, eventually attracting a following behind its core idea of "Generation X". Over his own protestations, Coupland was dubbed the spokesperson for a generation,[20] stating in 2006 "I was just doing what I do and people sort of stuck that on to me. It's not like I spend my days thinking that way.".[21] Terms popularized by Coupland in the novel, including Generation X and McJob, ultimately entered the vernacular.[22]

His second novel, Shampoo Planet, was published by Pocket Books in 1992. It focused on the generation after Generation X, the group called "Global Teens" in his first novel and now generally labeled Generation Y.[17] Coupland permanently moved back to Vancouver soon after the novel was published. He had spent his "twenties scouring the globe thinking there had to be a better city out there, until it dawned on [him] that Vancouver is the best one going".[23] He wrote a collection of small books, which together were compiled, after the advice of his publisher, into the book Life After God. This collection of short stories, with its focus on spirituality, initially provoked polarized reaction before eventually revealing itself as a bellwether text for the avant-garde sensibility identified by Ferdinand Mount as "Christian post-Christian".[24]

Microserfs to All Families are Psychotic

In 1994, Coupland was working for the newly-formed magazine Wired. While there, Coupland wrote a short story about the life of the employees at Microsoft Corporation. This short work provided the inspiration for a novel, Microserfs. To research the culture that the novel depicted, Coupland had moved to Palo Alto, California and immersed himself in Silicon Valley life.[25] By coincidence, Coupland released Microserfs in the same week that Microsoft released the Windows 95 operating system.

Coupland followed Microserfs with his first collection of non-fiction pieces, in 1996. Polaroids from the Dead is a manifold of stories and essays on diverse topics, including: Grateful Dead concerts; Harolding; Kurt Cobain's death; the visiting of a German reporter; and a comprehensive essay on Brentwood, California, written at the time of the O. J. Simpson murder case and the anniversary of Marilyn Monroe's death.

That same year Coupland toured Europe to promote Microserfs, but the high workload brought on fatigue and mental strain.[26][27] He reportedly incorporated his experience with depression during this period into his next novel, Girlfriend in a Coma. Coupland noted that this was his last novel to be "…written as a young person, the last constructed from notebooks full of intricate observations".[28]

In 2000, Coupland published Miss Wyoming.

Coupland then published his photographic paean to Vancouver, City of Glass. The book incorporates sections from Life After God and Polaroids from the Dead into a visual narrative, formed from photographs of Vancouver locations and life supplemented by stock footage mined from local newspaper archives.

Coupland's next novel, All Families Are Psychotic, tells the story of a dysfunctional family from Vancouver coming together to watch their daughter Sarah, an astronaut, launch into space.

In 2004, the dormant Saarinen-designed TWA Flight Center (now Jetblue Terminal 5) at JFK Airport briefly hosted an art exhibition called Terminal 5,[29] curated by Rachel K. Ward[30] and featuring the work of 18 artists[31] including Coupland.

Souvenir of Canada to Player One

The promotional rounds for All Families are Psychotic were underway when the September 11 attacks took place. In a play called September 10 performed later at Stratford-upon-Avon by the Royal Shakespeare Company, Coupland felt that this was the last day of the 1990s, and the new century had now truly begun.[32][33]

The first book that Coupland published after the September 11 attacks was Souvenir of Canada, which expanded his earlier City of Glass to incorporate the whole of Canada. There are two volumes in this series, which was conceived as an explanation to non-Canadians of uniquely Canadian things.

Coupland's second book in this period, Hey Nostradamus!, describes a fictitious high school shooting similar to the Columbine High School in 1999[34] Coupland relocates the events to school in North Vancouver, Canada.

Coupland followed Hey Nostradamus! with Eleanor Rigby. Similarly to the titular original written and sung by The Beatles, the novel examines loneliness.[35] The novel received some positive acclaim as a more mature work, a notable example being novelist Ali Smith's review of the book for the Guardian newspaper.[19]

Using the format of City of Glass and Souvenir of Canada, Coupland released a book for the Terry Fox Foundation called Terry. It is a photographic look back on the life of Fox, the result of Coupland's exhaustive research through the Terry Fox archives, including thousands of emotional letters from Canadians written to Fox during his one-legged marathon across Canada on Highway 1.

The third work of fiction in this period, written concurrently with the non-fiction Terry,[36] is another re-envisioning of a previous book. jPod, billed as Microserfs for the Google generation, is his first Web 2.0 novel. The text of jPod recreates the experience of a novel read online on a notebook computer. jPod was a popular success, giving rise to a CBC Television series for which Coupland wrote the script. The series lasted one season before cancellation.

Coupland's next novel, The Gum Thief, followed jPod in 2007. The Gum Thief was Coupland's first foray into the standard epistolary novel format following the 'laptop diaries'/'blog' formats of Microserfs and jPod.

Coupland published his eleventh novel, Generation A, in late 2009. In terms of style, Generation A "mirrors the structure of 1991's Generation X as it champions the act of reading and storytelling as one of the few defenses we still have against the constant bombardment of the senses in a digital world".[37] The novel takes place in the near future, after bees have become extinct, and focuses on five people from around the globe who are connected by being stung.

The cover of Player One

Coupland's contribution for the 2010 Massey Lectures, as opposed to a standard long essay, was 50,000 word novel entitled Player One – What Is to Become of Us: A Novel in Five Hours. Coupland wrote the novel as five hour-long lectures aired on CBC Radio from Nov. 8–12, 2010.[38] According to Coupland, the novel "...presents a wide array of modes to view the mind, the soul, the body, the future, eternity, technology, and media." and is set "In a B-list Toronto airport hotel’s cocktail lounge in August of 2010."[39]

The lecture/novel was published in its own right on October 7, 2010.[40][41] House of Anansi Press' advance publicity for the novel stated that "Coupland's 2010 Massey Lecture is a real-time, five-hour story set in an airport cocktail lounge during a global disaster. Five disparate people are trapped inside: Karen, a single mother waiting for her online date; Rick, the down-on-his-luck airport lounge bartender; Luke, a pastor on the run; Rachel, a cool Hitchcock blonde incapable of true human contact; and finally a mysterious voice known as Player One. Slowly, each reveals the truth about themselves while the world as they know it comes to an end. In the tradition of Kurt Vonnegut and J. G. Ballard, Coupland explores the modern crises of time, human identity, society, religion, and the afterlife. The book asks as many questions as it answers, and readers will leave the story with no doubt that we are in a new phase of existence as a species – and that there is no turning back."[40] On September 20, 2010, Player One was announced as part of the initial longlist for the 2010 Scotiabank Giller Prize literary award,[42][43][44] Coupland's second longlisting for the prize after being longlisted in 2006 with jPod.[45] However, the book didn't make it any further than the longlist[46] and Coupland was denied the honour a second time, with the prize being eventually won by Johanna Skibsrud for her novel The Sentimentalists (novel).[46]

Awards and recognition

Coupland received an honorary degree from the University of British Columbia on May 27, 2010.[47] with The University of British Coumbia having announced that it has acquired Coupland's personal archives on May 20, the culmination of a project that began in 2002.[48] The archives, which Coupland plans to continue to add to in the future, currently consist of 122 boxes and features about 30 metres of textual materials,[49] including manuscripts, photos, visual art, fan mail, correspondence, press clippings, audio/visual material and more.[49] One of the most notable inclusions in the collection includes the first hand-written manuscript of ‘Generation X,' scrawled on loose-leaf notebook paper and strewn with margin notes.[48] In a statement issued on the UBC website Coupland said, “I am honoured that UBC has accepted my papers. I hope that within them, people in the future will find patterns and constellations that can’t be apparent to me or to anyone simply because they are there, and we are here...The donation process makes me feel old and yet young at the same time. I’m deeply grateful for UBC’s support and enthusiasm.”[49]

Coupland received an honorary Doctor of Letters from Simon Fraser University in 2007.[50] Coupland also received an honorary Doctor of Letters from the Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2001.[51]

Coupland is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.[52]

Visual arts

In 2000, Coupland resumed a visual arts practice dormant since 1989. His is a post-medium practice that employs a variety of materials. A common theme in his work is a curiosity with the corrupting and seductive dimensions of pop culture and 20th century pop art, especially that of Andy Warhol. Another recurring theme is military imagery, the result of growing up in a military family at the height of the Cold War. He is represented by the Clark & Faria Gallery in Toronto. In June 2010 he announced his first efforts as a clothing designer by collaborating with Roots Canada on a collection that is a representation of classic Canadian icons. The Roots X Douglas Coupland collection was announced in The Globe and Mail and featured clothing, art installations, sculpture, custom designed art and retail spaces.

In September 2010, Coupland, working with Toronto's PLANT Architect, won the art and design contract for a new national monument in Ottawa. "The Memorial" is to be erected for the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation, and will be completed in April 2012.[53]

2010

In Dialogue with Carr

Douglas Coupland, Evan Lee, Liz Magor, Marianne Nicolson
The Vancouver Art Gallery
Vancouver, BC
July 1, 2010 to January 3, 2011
Vancouver Art Gallery Website Article

Digital Orca

A steel and aluminum Public art commission
Vancouver Convention Centre
Vancouver, BC
Coupland.com Images

2009

Image of Canoe Landing Park
Douglas Coupland's 'Monument to the War of 1812' (2008) Toronto

Canoe Landing Park

8 acre space adjacent to the Gardiner Expressway
Contains the Terry Fox Miracle Mile
Downtown Toronto, Ontario

Supernova

Clock Tower Public art commission
Don Mills, Ontario
Dittwald.com Article and Images
Coupland.com Images

Atelier

Gallery exhibition
Clark & Faria Gallery
Toronto, Ontario
Mixed media works
Clark & Faria Gallery Website
Coupland.com Images

Mom & Dad

Mixed media works
Gallery exhibition
Monte Clark Gallery
Vancouver, British Columbia
Monte Clark Gallery website

2008

A Monument to the War of 1812

Public art commission
Toronto, Ontario
Dittwald.com Article and Images
Coupland.com Images

2007

Fifty Books I Have Read More Than Once

Sculptural installation
Simon Fraser University Gallery
Burnaby, British Columbia
Simon Fraser University Gallery Website

The Penguins and Luxury Factory Number One

Clark & Faria Gallery
Toronto, Ontario
Clark & Faria Website
Coupland.com Images

2006

Play Again?

The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery
St. John’s, Newfoundland
The Rooms Website
Coupland.com Images

2005

Super City

An interior architectural installation exploring the excesses and programmatics of Modernity as expressed in building kits made in Western nations during the peak years of Modernism.
The Canadian Centre for Architecture
Montreal, Quebec
CCA Website
Coupland.com Images

I Like the Future and the Future Likes Me and Retranslation

Clark & Faria Gallery
Toronto, Ontario
Clark & Faria Gallery Website
Coupland.com Images

Do It

Coupland contributed to DoIT, a book edited by Hans-Ulrich Obrist
Co-published by e-flux and Revolver Press
Frankfurt, Germany
e-flux Website

2004

Terminal 5

Group show
JFK Terminal 5, NY
http://www.terminalfive.com/

Canada House

The Design Exchange
Toronto, Ontario
Also travelled to: Canada House, London, England
Coupland.com Images
Also featured in the Souvenir of Canada film

Baja to Vancouver

Catalogue Essay
CCAC Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, California
Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, California
Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington
The Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, British Columbia
CCAC Wattis Website

2002

The Canada Pictures

Photography Exhibition
Clark & Faria
Toronto, Ontario
Clark & Faria Website
Coupland.com Images

School Spirit

A book collaboration with Pierre Huyghe
Artbook.com Article
Coupland.com Article and Images

2001

Spike

Sculptural installation
Monte Clark Gallery
Vancouver, British Columbia
Monte Clark Website
Coupland.com Images

Design work

In the summer of 2010, Coupland, in collaboration with Roots Canada designed a well-received collection of summer streetwear for men and women, and a line of leather and non-leather accessories. The collection was sold in the avant garde clothing store Colette in Paris in September 2010.

Television

Image from the television series jPod

In 2007 Coupland worked with the CBC to write and executive produce a television series based on his novel jPod. Its 13 one-hour episodes aired in Canada in 2007. The show was cancelled despite a major viewer-initiated campaign to save it.[54]

Film

2005 marked the release of a documentary about Coupland called Souvenir of Canada. In it, Coupland works on a grand art project about Canada, recounts his life, and muses about various aspects of Canadian identity.

2006 brought the release of Everything's Gone Green, a comedy film starring Paulo Costanzo, directed by Paul Fox, and written by Coupland. The film was produced by Radke Films and True West Films. The distributor is THINKFilm in Canada and Shoreline Entertainment elsewhere. The film, Coupland's first screenplay, won the award for best Canadian feature film at the 2006 Vancouver International Film Festival.

Upcoming works include All Families Are Psychotic[55] and the Extinction Event miniseries.

Charity

Coupland is involved with Canada's Terry Fox Foundation. In 2005, Douglas & McIntyre published Terry, Coupland's biographical collection of photos and text essays about the life of legendary one-legged Canadian athlete Terry Fox. All proceeds from the book are donated to the foundation for cancer research. Terrys format is similar to that of Coupland's City of Glass and Souvenir of Canada books. Its release coincided with the 25th anniversary of Terry Fox's 1980 Marathon of Hope.

Coupland codesigned Toronto Park, eight-hectare urban park called the Canoe Landing Park in downtown Toronto adjacent to the Gardiner Expressway. The park, opened 2009, is embedded with a one-mile run called the Terry Fox Miracle Mile. The Miracle Mile contains art from Terry.[56]

Coupland has also raised money for the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Western Canada Wilderness Committee by participating in advertising campaigns.

Bibliography

Fiction

Non-fiction

Drama and screenplays

  • Douglas Coupland: Close Personal Friend (1996)
  • September 10 (2004)
  • Inside the Light (2005)
  • Souvenir of Canada (2005) (writing and narration)
  • Everything's Gone Green (2007)
  • All Families Are Psychotic (2009)
Announced on 9 February 2006, based on the novel of the same name.
  • jPod (2008) (TV series)
Premiered January 8, 2008 on CBC. Canceled on March 7, 2008. Final airing April 4, 2008.

Criticism and interpretation

Essays

  • Dalton-Brown, Sally. "The Dialectics of Emptiness: Douglas Coupland's and Viktor Pelevin's Tales of Generation X and P." Forum for Modern Language Studies 42.3 (2006): 239–48.
  • Forshaw, Mark. "Douglas Coupland: In and Out of 'Ironic Hell'." Critical Survey 12.3 (2000): 39–58.
  • Katerberg, William H. "Western Myth and the End of History in the Novels of Douglas Coupland." Western American Literature 40.3 (2005): 272–99.
  • McGill, Robert. "The Sublime Simulacrum: Vancouver in Douglas Coupland's Geography of Apocalypse." Essays on Canadian Writing 70 (2000): 252–76.
  • Tate, Andrew. "'Now-here is My Secret': Ritual and Epiphany in Douglas Coupland's Fiction." Literature & Theology: An International Journal of Religion, Theory, and Culture 16.3 (2002): 326–38.

Books

  • Tate, Andrew. Douglas Coupland. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2007.
  • Zurbrigg, Terri Susan. X = What? Douglas Coupland, Generation X, and the Politics of Postmodern Irony. VDM Verlag, 2008.

See also

Novels portal

References

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  3. ^ Elek, John (May 21, 2006). "When Ronald McDonald did dirty deeds". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2006/may/21/fiction.douglascoupland. 
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  20. ^ Muro, Mark. "'Baby Busters' resent life in Boomers' debris". The Boston Globe, November 10, 1991.
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  43. ^ "Canada's Giller Prize reveals nominees". The Independent (London). September 20, 2010. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/canadas-giller-prize-reveals-nominees-2084827.html. 
  44. ^ Barber, John (September 20, 2010). "Small presses dominate Giller long list". The Globe and Mail (Toronto). http://www.theglobeandmail.com/books/small-presses-dominate-giller-long-list/article1715325/. 
  45. ^ "2010 Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist revealed | Afterword | National Post". Arts.nationalpost.com. 2010-09-20. http://arts.nationalpost.com/2010/09/20/2010-scotiabank-giller-prize-longlist-revealed/. Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
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  48. ^ a b "CTV British Columbia - Douglas Coupland donates archives to UBC - CTV News". Ctvbc.ctv.ca. 2010-05-20. http://www.ctvbc.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20100520/bc_douglas_coupland_100520/20100520?hub=BritishColumbiaHome. Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  49. ^ a b c "UBC Library welcomes Douglas Coupland archives « UBC Public Affairs". Publicaffairs.ubc.ca. 2010-05-20. http://www.publicaffairs.ubc.ca/2010/05/20/ubc-library-welcomes-douglas-coupland-archives/. Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  50. ^ [5][dead link]
  51. ^ "Emily Carr Announces 2010 Honorary Doctorate and Emily Award Recipients | Emily Carr University". Ecuad.ca. http://www.ecuad.ca/about/news/43739. Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  52. ^ Douglas Coupland RCA. "Royal Canadian Academy of Arts - Académie royale des arts du Canada". Rca-arc.ca. http://www.rca-arc.ca/artists/artist.asp?artist=1375. Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  53. ^ Canadian Fallen Firefighter's Foundation's article about the contract awarding for the new national monument[dead link]
  54. ^ "Save jPod". 2007. http://www.savejpod.ca. 
  55. ^ "Coupland on IMDB". http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1194190/. 
  56. ^ "National Post Article on Miracle Mile". Nationalpost.com. http://www.nationalpost.com/news/toronto/story.html?id=f79f834e-d85d-4b6e-8779-c27e8ecb6278&p=1. Retrieved 2011-10-25. 

External links

Источник: Douglas Coupland

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