Paperback Í Player One MOBI Ò

Player One If this book had decided to just go ahead and be a novel it would've been great If it had decided to just go ahead and be a series of essays on existentialism and the transformations and implications of humanity and society it probably would've been great too Instead it tries to be both and only gets halfway with eitherThe book is at first about five people who meet in a hotel bar during a major global crisis They each get a chance to tell their tales including a mysterious narrator named Player One At this stage the book is very engaging The characters are all at thresholds of differing types Luke is a pastor who's lost his faith Karen is there to meet an internet hook up Rick is about to hand thousands of dollars over to a celebrity savior and Rachel has finally decided to get pregnant to prove that she's human and it's fun to see the flawed narrator tool used in four different ways their flaws all multiply colored through everyone else's eyesUnfortunately the global crisis traps them in the hotel bar and they spend the rest of the book all ruminating on life existence the soul and purpose Even this wouldn't be so bad except every single character has the same poetic insightful intricate thought processes when they start analyzing what it means to be alive The failed gardenerbartender the MILF the depressed pastor and even to some extent the mentally robotic mouse breeder they all use the same cleverly contrived tone of voice to discuss religion society nihilism and the like By the end of the story it is painfully obvious that every character is nothing than a mouthpiece for our author who at that point has said to heck with it with character development and story and has gone full bore with his philosophizing much of it coming across as little than erudite thumb twiddling although that may just be because there's so darn much of it that it becomes mind numbing after timeThe story almost unforgivably is tied up with a hasty narrative ribbon with one character uite literally explaining everything to the reader as if Coupland was bored with the book and just didn't want to bother with actual writing The last fifth of the novel is a glossary of terms that while interesting don't really add to either the book or the philosophies it analyzes I'm not sure what the purpose of this section was some of it is definitely meant to be funny but it didn't do much for meIt's fantastic when a book gets you to think about life deeply and in challenging ways but the best books do this through interesting stories complicated characters and character development and in intricate plotting and planning This book sets up an intriguing premise and then tosses it all aside to give each character a chance to preach the same basic message of modern disaffection and doubt That's not good writing or good philosophizing It's a lazy example of both trying to wear the other's hat One star for the shot One star for the appendix One star for Coupland's ability to glorify the sadness of humanity One star for God's opinion on evolution One star for sentences like personality is a slot machine and the cherries lemons and bells are your SSRI system your schizophrenic tendency your leftright brain lobalization your anxiety proclivity your wiring glitches your place on the autistic and OCD spectrums and to these we must add the deep level influences of the machines and systems of intelligence that guided your brain into maturity Just another terrific read This is ultimately an exploration on some of the bigger philosophical uestions on life what is this concept of time? What happens before we're born and after we die? And so on And Coupland does this with his innate lyrical language and his trademark wit The premise of the story is Five people all of whom end up in a Toronto Pearson airport lounge find themselves locked inside the lounge while the world around them implodes Oil prices instantly skyrocket and what follows is a sort of nuclear esue fallout as people lose their goddamn minds over the shortage of oil It's extremely prophetic in my mind I think Coupland brilliantly satirises the extremes to which humans will go when the world oil supply suddenly dries up and the prices sky rocket Perhaps he exaggerates the outcome but perhaps not I think he accurately assumes that the dominant religion on the planet are not the religions we commonly think of the dominant religion is the Almighty Dollar And as these five people grapple with this dangerous situation at hand they uestion the larger uestions about life as I suppose we all might at some point when the world inevitably falls apart around us But the topics which could be dark are palatable because he uses humour throughout And I enjoy Coupland's humour because it's smart but it's also rather dark at times My type of laugh Anyone who's read my reviews on Coupland know I rave about his writing He's simply a good writer So no remarks thereYann Martel on the back cover of this hardcover version I have blurbs In the future if people are curious about what it was like to live in our times in the early 21st century they will do well to read Douglas Coupland I think this accurately sums up how I feel There is something disturbing about writers as intelligent as Douglas Coupland Underneath the brilliant psychological dialogue the haunting charismatic cast of underachievers and the creative plot that is impossible to predict lies writing that is so fresh and honest that it is scary truthful Player One is that book depicting the tale of five characters trapped in a cocktail lounge during a world changing event The discussion topics humanity vs everything else and whether we are worth it Douglas speaks in prophetic voices that are so dark and logical that it is hard not to lose hope in what we are and what we are to become But there is also a sweetness to his apocalypse like the tsunami that is coming is made out of milk chocolate or the bombs that spill out of the sky are confected gum drops It loosens the blow and in the end somehow gives us hopeWith that being said the ending felt tacked on an after thought almost like Coupland got tired of predicting his own dreary futures and just stopped It makes this reader wonder if he did it on purpose forcing us to endure one final apocalyptic meteor crashing into the Earth or a giant hand reaching up and turning off the sun International bestselling author Douglas Coupland delivers 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 endIn 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 uestions 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 Recently I stole the soapbox in another person's review of Shampoo Planet to pontificate about my personal reader's theory of Douglas Coupland JPod was the first Coupland novel I read and it is also my favourite We all react to Coupland differently—ie JPod is my favourite but some of my friends hate JPod with a passion and love Girlfriend in a Coma or Eleanor Rigby Despite the fact that Coupland always deals with the same themes his variations are subtle and diverse enough to create those kinds of reactions And so for me JPod created in my mind the Platonic form of the perfect Coupland novel and every other experience I have with Douglas Coupland is like a junkie attempting to replicate the first perfect hit I need something as good as JPodPlayer One comes close As a story it doesn't endear itself like JPod Yet its short length conceals a profound message Coupland's attempt to answer the novel's subtitle What is to become of us? Coupland delivers the novel in real time over the course of five hour long lectures that collectively form the 2010 Massey Lectures You can't listen to them for free unfortunately but you can purchase the series on iTunes or CD if you care to listen to Coupland read the story aloud I stuck with the printed version but I kept in mind the novel's intended purpose As I read I imagined it would be like to hear those words projected in a dark theatre as a shared experience with hundreds of other people or to hear them over the radio There is something profoundly connective about radio that even the Internet doesn't match This added an atmosphere to the entire experience of reading this bookThe OED's first recorded use of zeitgeist is from 1848 but this must be a mistake because I feel like that word must have been invented to describe what Coupland is doing He is chronicling the zeitgeist of our generations this strange transition between the industrialized twentieth century to the post industrial information society of the twenty first century And I really can't do his books justice in trying to go into detail here because I feel like deconstructing his work would just destroy the magicAs anyone who has read than one Coupland novel can attest comparing Coupland Book X with Coupland Book Y is difficult because of how much Coupland reuses his motifs and themes Still I have to say it Player One has a lot in common with his previous novel Generation A I liked Generation A but didn't love it and now I want to go back and read it again to see if I missed anything Both novels have several protagonists with the narrator alternating among their limited perspectives Both novels put the protagonists together in an isolated place and have them share stories and form bonds Both are set in a somewhat apocalyptic world—Generation A post apocalyptic than Player One's decidedly apocalyptic setting Finally both involve a study empathy as part of a larger exploration of what it means to be human This is the uestion that recurs throughout Player One what separates humans from animals from everything else in the cosmos? What makes us uniue as a species—are we uniue? Or are we merely just another expression of life—is the universe programmed to generate life over and over in a near infinite variety of combinations?If we want to analyze the characters in this book we can do so in terms of how they empathize Rachel is easy she doesn't Her various medical classifications mean she lacks the ability to express or interpret emotions irony humour etc She can't appreciate art Her reason for going to the airport hotel lounge where our five characters end up is typical Coupland absurdism Rachel is probably the character we would identify as the most different of the four because of her medical condition Sometimes though she feels like she's the most humanLuke and Rick are very similar because as they themselves observe their jobs both involve listening to people's confessions Luke was a pastor until he stole the church's renovation fund and skipped town the same afternoon that he lost his faith Rick is a recovering alcoholic tending bar Priests and bartenders alike listen to things people don't feel comfortable confiding in ordinary conversations bars are a home to a tension between anonymity and intimacy that must be very welcoming at timesKaren empathizes with everyone her fifteen year old she's going through a goth phase daughter Casey; the kid with the iPhone who takes a photo of her on the airplane; Warren the man she flew out to meet in the bar after meeting him online; and then when the price of oil skyrockets and the world ends for a day or so she empathizes with everyone in the bar She even empathizes with the sniper who kills Warren and whom they eventually tie up inside the bar I really like Rachel but if I had to pick a favourite character I might choose Karen Coupland gives her two excellent linesI think if people had real courage they'd wear their Halloween costume every day of the year At the very least you'd make a lot friends uickly Like 'Hey I like togas too' Or 'Star Trek? I'm in' Your costume would be a means of filtering down to the people you'd probably like the mostI love this because that's exactly what we do online and it's why I find it so much easier to be social online than I do offline When interacting offline it is very difficult to share information with other people Until we start talking clothing and body language are about the only indications of who we are and what we like hence Karen's idea that we should all wear our Halloween costumes On the Web however the profile is king Whether it's Facebook Twitter Goodreads or my own website when someone visits my profile he or she can learn immediately whether we share similar interests It's a very effective filtering mechanismKaren also asks her Internet date Warren whether he feels like his life is a story and then mentions that she thinks the story part or her life is overKaren has noticed that young people no longer seem to care if their lives are stories Not Casey and not that little pervert on the flight earlier that afternoon He'd probably no view his life as a story than he would view his life as that of a sea cucumber He and Casey inhabit a world of screen grabs website hits and precisely tabulated numbers of friends and enemiesI think my life is a bit like a story but Coupland has still hit upon truth here When critics label my generation apathetic or lazier compared to previous generations they are judging us using obsolete criteria Anyone who grows up using the Internet actually learns differently from people who came before; our brains are wired differently This has happened before urbanization changed the way people think as children grew up in the suburbs instead of on a farm Now it's happening again Knowledge is no longer linear no longer acuired by rote and yes we generally don't retain facts the same way that older people do just as people in the twentieth century couldn't hold a candle peasants from the twelfth century pre literate oral memory for the win We don't memorize; we contextualize Our lives are not linear; they are circular elliptical hyperbolic and hypertextual We are turning the Web from interconnected repositories of knowledge into an extension of our own mindsAnd this is why I think that one of the reasons Coupland's recent novels such as JPod and even Generation A resonate with me than his older works He has started to include the Internet and the Web in his meditations upon humanity I spent my adolescence online It is now a part of me and of my experiences in a very intimate way—after all I'm using it now to convey these thoughts to anyone who happens to read them Plenty of writers have meditated upon the effects of the Web on humans and human consciousness and posthumanism is old hat in the science fiction community Yet few do it the way Coupland does Coupland studies these changes in a way that is almost spiritual He is interested in how this technology alters us as beings and as a society of individualsIndeed Player One is a microcosmic study of individualism in the digital age What does it mean to be an individual when there are so many of us? What does it mean to be an individual if we are all connected?And we're all waiting for It now aren't we? Good old 'It'—the It who rains the It we mean when we ask what time is It? I suppose It is the arrival of the Sentience The arrival of the metamind that is us and yet much than us It is the Sentience that will eclipse us that will encourage us and shame us and indulge us It is out there waiting I'm certainly waiting—it's why I'm here talking to you before I enter the New Normal tooI think it's possible and tempting to interpret Coupland's writing as prophetic at times like in the passage above Yet I am always wary of applying prophetic to people's words because we are terrible at predicting the future Rather I think Coupland is merely describing and interpreting present day trends This is where he sees us going from where we are right now—not our inevitable future but the already changing and shifting present Because he's right that we are waiting Some of us are literally waiting for the Singularity or its religious euivalent the Rapture I used to think I might be one of the former but now I am not so sure Others are just waiting to see what is going to happen in a world of almost 7 billion people This is what should happenHere's to all of us reaching out our hands to other people everywhere reaching out to pull them from the icebergs on which they stand frozen to pull them through the burning hoops of fire that frighten them to help them climb over the brick walls that block their paths Let us reach out to shock and captivate people into new ways of thinkingWith four characters in five hours Douglas Coupland succinctly gets at what makes us human—part of what makes us human We are different from other forms of life because we have the capacity for self preservation not on the level of the individual or the pack but of the species entire This has driven us to develop the tools to direct our own evolution to direct the development of our consciousness our minds and our bodies And it is making us increasingly connected because as the world grows crowded how could we become anything else?At times the extent to which Player One extrapolates this idea of inter connectedness approaches Lovelockian proportions Various characters float or espouse a Gaia like hypothesis about the Earth or the universe You don't have to agree with every idea in Player One—and I think from the way he characterizes them on occasion as woo woo or New Agey that Coupland is not serious about them either He includes them rather because they are essential to the subjects being discussed and in order to challenge and provoke thought I'm glad I don't agree with everything in this book because it means I'm not praising it simply because it reflects what my pre existing beliefs and opinions about life humanity and technologyMy edition of Player One clocks in at 246 pages The last 31 of these pages are Future Legend Many of the terms described therein will be familiar invariant memory Platonic forms memesphere the realm of culturally tangible ideas; or they will feel familiar even if we didn't have the vocabulary to articulate them so succinctly eg karaokeal amnesia most people don't know the complete lyrics of almost any song particularly the ones they hold most dear It's possible to read this glossary from start to finish but it would be a chore trust me I tried The book is over at this point and this is an appendix Coupland's demonstration that we have stretched our vocabulary to its limit and must invent terms to describe the shift happening in our own lifetimesLast year I took a course called Philosophy the Internet online obviously In the second week we read a blog post by Clay Shirky Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable in which Shirky points to the Internet as the death knell of print newspapers and argues that this is evidence we are in the midst of a revolution Discussion sprang up over whether we agreed with this assertion I was very vocal in my support of Shirky and this idea that we are experiencing a revolution Even if I weren't however I think Player One would have convinced me In five hours in an airport hotel lounge Douglas Coupland could totally do that What's even amazing is the sense of unbridled optimism he manages to bundle along with his argument Player One happens during a crisis of global proportions and at the novel's end the world is not as it was; oil remains expensive and rationed but people somehow adjust—they always do is Coupland's message The end of the world proves to be the dawning of a new world and like the old world the new one is a mixture of the good and the bad of happiness and suffering of crazy families and criminals and mothers and priests Despite the fact that there's a sniper on the roof a body outside the door and a chemical explosion poisoning the air around the lounge Coupland manages to persuade us that it's all going to work out fine Somehow against all odds these people are going to make it out alive and life will go onI needed that Sometimes the panoply of information that reaches me is overwhelming We are nearly 7 billion strong on this planet but problems always seem to scale better than their solutions Don't get me wrong there are no assurances in this book that we will ascend as a species to a better place There is still every chance that we will collectively stumble faceplant and give way to the next big evolutionary thing But I feel like with Player One Douglas Coupland is saying Not today There is a very good chance we will as a species screw up—but there's always a chance we won't It's a very infectious sort of optimism the same kind of optimism that's the reason I love Doctor Who so much Let's get in a big blue box and see what's out there Let's poke it with a stick Let's be so very humanIt's also an optimism that has to steep which is why I am glad I write reviews Initially Player One left me with a warm but vaguely befuddled feeling—typical Coupland man he's weird So I sat down to write about how I liked Player One but And then as I sometimes do when writing reviews I discovered that there isn't a but At every turn despite my most valiant efforts it eluded me That is a powerful thing for any book to do I've got mixed feelings about the book Neither female character read as completely believable to me and yet they were both far better realized than the men who were mere sketchesHere's partly why Our MC is in an airplane Karen's a little too warm so she undoes two buttons at the top of her dress hoping that if anyone sees her they won't take this as a sign she's a slutSnap poll friends does this accurately describe your thoughts at any time in your life?¹The other woman is on the autistic spectrum but this seemed played as a caricature Temperance Brennan on steroidsI did enjoy the narrative structure even the end which pissed a lot of people off The connections and experiences which link the characters were done well The whole existential pondering thing seemed like it had been pulled off cheesy motivational websites For every person currently alive there are nineteen dead people who lived before us Maybe that's the whole pointI grew to enjoy the book as I got deeper into it and it finished of a 35 for me rounding down for the autistic character view spoiler begging God to send me a sign that this is how it feels to be a woman hide spoiler I read this book in French which is dumb because it was written in English originally but I found it in a bookstore and couldn't resist so here we are A lot of terms had me shaking my head in confusion before realizing that the terms had no translation New words don’t spread virally in French culture like they do in English language cultures around the globe For instance there’s no French translation for “MILF” the translator used “maman sexy” which is poor and guts the expression of its acronym funniness New words aside the translation has a good rhythm to it and doesn’t bog down the dialogues like many English French translations doThe setting is an airport bar where as fate would have it a mixed bag of people find themselves for various reasons an autistic young woman an ex preacher an alcoholic barman As fate would further have it some catastrophe hits it's not properly explained and doesn't need to be suffice to notice that oil prices have skyrocketed media broadcasts have stopped there are toxic chemicals blowing outside and the people inside the bar can't leave Eventually they are joined by a religious nut and a scared teenOh and one of the characters is Player One who is inside the bar's video game He's a pompous ass but he's coolConversations flow between the motley group touching on the state of the world obviously since it's ending or seems to be and eventually sink down into their personal histories as the setting favors the end of world cathartic confessions There is such a variation in the characters' outlook and constitution that it becomes apparent that only a catastrophe forcing people into this space and threatening their very being will overcome cultural and ideological barricades creating odd yet touching bonds like a contained nuclear explosion revealing other states of the matter at its coreI really enjoyed the paradoxical converging of the different mindsets and found the characters believable and engaging Too bad books don't get remakes like films sometimes do This book deserves one The ideas uestions and characters in this novel are remarkable confrontational and thought provoking and the book is sprinkled with wit and good to know facts Did you know that for every living person there are only 19 dead people? But this book is like the Singapore sling Karen is drinking too many ingredients for such a small container 246 Pages is just not enough to offer than a sketch of the issues at hand loneliness social media people wanting their lives to be stories disconnection normalcy the burden of individualism religion oil rapture to name but a few Was Coupland in a rush when he wrote this book? Or does he think by now we should be able to fill in certain parts for ourselves Aha we're dealing with a father complex here and a midlife crisis there? Or did he choose this form to match the content events and short seuences instead of a complete and elaborate story?The 'future legend' at the back has some brilliant entries such as 'Rosenwald's theorem' the belief that all the wrong people have self esteem It's kind of strange that I read Player One in two days before the ten year anniversary of 911 Player One has many parts that I found great and moving parts similar to other books by Coupland I have read This time around it all clicked with me and I was taken back and moved I seem to feel a little less alone when I read a Douglas Coupland novel and have a better grasp on our complex mordern and digitally connected world Read it if you're feelig a little alone and blue and in a mood to think deeply about yourself and our mordern world

About the Author: Douglas Coupland

Generation X was published in March of 1991 Since then he has published nine novels and several non fiction books in 35 languages and most countries on earth He has written and performed for the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford England and in 2001 resumed his practice as a visual artist with exhibitions in spaces in North America Europe and Asia 2006 marks the premiere of the feature film Everything's Gone Green his first story written specifically for the screen and not adapted from any previous work A TV series 13 one hour episodes based on his novel

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *