Ethan Jarlewski and five co-workers whose names start with J are bureaucratically marooned in jPod. jPod is a no-escape architectural limbo on the fringes of a massive Vancouver game design company.
The six workers daily confront the forces that define our era: global piracy, boneheaded marketing staff, people smuggling, the rise of China, marijuana grow-ops, Jeff Probst, and the ashes of the 1990s financial tech dream. jPod's universe is amoral and shameless. The characters are products of their era even as they're creating it.
Everybody in Ethan's life inhabits a moral grey zone. Nobody is exempt, not even his seemingly straitlaced parents or Coupland himself, as readers will see.
Full of word games, visual jokes, and sideways jabs, this audiobook throws a sharp, pointed lawn dart into the heart of contemporary life. jPod is Douglas Coupland at the top of his game.
©2006 Douglas Coupland; (P)Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.
"Coupland revisits the digital kingdom he so shrewdly depicted in Microserfs (1995) in a zeitgeist-trawling satire about 21st-century cyber obsession." (Booklist)
I am not a book reviewer, so I am not going to attempt to speak to JPod's overall tone, story, character development, etc.
What I do want to review is how annoying the production of this audio book is. The printed edition of JPod includes detailed lists of objects, random visual minutia and other hip typographic trickery. Actually, describing it is difficult because I have never seen the printed edition. All I know is that the aduio book features long, random sections where the narrator drones on and on and on with these various lists. One includes 900 (900!) 3 letter combinations which is read aloud for over 10 minutes. Others feature a detailed reading of nutritional contents off an energy bar wrapper, lists of random video game resource files off of a game developer's hard drive (exciting!) and sometimes, just random psuedo pop culture crap is red aloud in list format.
I am sure these elements work well in the printed format where the reader can scan the first couple of lines, get the point, then flip the page and delve back into the story. In an audio book, these random passages of gibberish take the listening experience hostage in the most boring and monotinous way. Whoever made the decision to produce this audio book in this fashion needs to be fired.
This book truly is a "hugging machine" for appropriately aged internet geeks. I enjoyed it immensely and found it to be very refreshing. This is the first book, written or audio, that actually made me laugh (at the book and at myself).
My advice to you would be to listen to the sample and if you "get it" download this book and have a blast. Definitely dont buy this for your mother for christmas tho, she may actually ask you to call a little less often.
O yeah. do yourself a favor and when the list of 3 letter acceptable scrabble words begins skip about 9 minutes til its over. Dont skip the other lists tho. I found them to be the most fun parts of the novel. Enjoy.
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, A hoper, a pray-er, a magic-bean buyer. If you're a pretender come sit by my fire
I would absolutely recommend this audiobook to a friend! The story is compelling -- it's funny and full of techno-humour, which I love, and little bit haunting in how well it portrays the weirdness of an office environment. When I just can't stand another meeting, I think of how characters in this story would handle it. Also, I cannot get enough of Marc Cashman's voice! I keep thinking that he doesn't sound like a traditional narrator, and I don't know how he got started in this career, but the way he voices a story somehow locks it in your memory. The combination of a great story and a phenomenal narration makes for a beyond wonderful audiobook!
This book should not have been read out loud. I felt sorry for the narrator and dropped it after the first hour. There's about 25 minutes wasted reading a spreadsheet cell by cell!!! Later I came back and tried to continue... and lasted about 30 minutes before I had to stop. Wow, what a dull book.
Sorry Doug, try again.
I wouldn't say I'm a rabid Coupland fan, but I've enjoyed his works for a number of years, so I have a bit of perspective with regard to his writing. This book was a disappointment. I thoroughly enjoyed Microserfs, and given the comparisons that have been made between that book and this, I was looking forward to the listen.
It just seemed as though he was patting himself on the back the whole time, making references to himself in his own book, as though he is such a strong presence in the social consciousness. It reminded me of the really cheesy scene in Ocean's Twelve where Julia Roberts dressed up as 'herself' to help out with the heist. It's just not effective and comes off a bit smarmy.
And his way of writing random pages of words/characters/phrases in his books, which I don't mind, doesn't come across effectively in the audio version.
I'm giving it 3-stars because it did have a few redeeming qualities and comical aspects to the characters, but definitely not his best effort.
Should you get it? I don't know....there are better ones out there.
This is probably the worst Copeland book (and one of the worst novels) I have ever listened to on Audible. It has no real content, no characters, no story worth speaking of and the production is just abysmally bad. All the characters, including the narrator, are shallow, boring and annoying and they are made even more annoying by the fact that they are all convinced that they are so outstandingly wonderful. All of them are the kind of people you want to swat on the back of the neck and then put duct tape over their mouths so that they will just finally SHUT UP. This is all exacerbated by the terrible production -- I don't know if there would have been an alternative to reading out all of Copeland's stupid lists and spreadsheets but if there wasn't then this should never have been made into an audio book.
It's really unfortunate that it's not possible to give a book a zero stars rating. Actually, negative stars would have been in order for this one. A total waste of time and money.
The story was good. Overall the performer portrayed the satire well and kept the esoteric bits moving.
I know Canada is a small, hapless nation but we have our own distinct hick voices (they are called hosers, btw) and they sound like someone who is just waking up from dental surgery and have been watching Rock em Sock em 4 all day.
Feels like this was inspired greatly by Douglas Adams's book, but i wouldn't call it a rip-off, it had lots of originality of its own.
You don't have to be a computer programmer to enjoy this but if you are that'll be more reason for you to buy it.
Very fun listen.
JPod is my favorite book (and I've downloaded over 400 audiobooks). I first purchased this book in 2007 and have listened to it several dozen times since. On the surface, the book chronicles the hilarious and hapless adventures of Ethan, his family and pod mates, but I think there's so much more to it than the basic narrative. Let me put it this way: if you are a geek, into computers and the internet, and the kind of person who watches YouTube videos and Google's random questions, you will *LOVE* this audiobook. The negative reviews here are absolutely false.
This is also one of the most excellently read audiobooks on Audible. Marc Cashman has the pitch-perfect voice for the light-hearted comedy in this book. He also manages to give each character their own vocal idiosyncrasies so you are always aware of who is speaking, regardless of whether Coupland tells you.
There are a few books out there where you feel like the protagonist is "you". This is one of them. I hope you come to enjoy the book as much as I did.
As one reviewer has pointed out, this is a somewhat difficult book to render (and listen to) as an audio edition. One example, page 212 of the print edition: "FUN FACT: any even number can be made by adding together two primes." This is followed by 16 1/2 pages filled with 11 columns of five-digit numbers (from 10007 to 99991) to prove the point. Keep in mind that the book is about a group of excentric computer game programmers. Now, I doubt that Coupland expected anyone to read those pages, so what to do if you're reading for the audio edition? It doesn't make sense to read such lists in their entirety. I would have to say that, overall, this book is far more accessible for those fortunate enough to have seen the far-too-short-lived "JPod" television series. Basically, the story itself is pretty far out and surreal. I love this book (as I do most of Coupland's books) for the odd humor and his observations on post-postmodern humanity. I'd like to see more of his books available at Audible.
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