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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Fantastically Irrelevant Book I Have Ever Read!
JPod - so named because all of the programmers in this Canadian software house that sit in a particular section of the office have surnames that begin with the letter J.

There you have it, mystery solved; good night and go home.

Well kind of...

You could say the main character is Ethan, the story is in fact told (mainly) from his point of...
Published on 4 Sep 2006 by Chris Chalk

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Definitely not his best....
In keeping with some of the reviews here, I see this novel as a short story unnecessarily stretched out into a novel. In fact, take away the endless (and endlessly irritating) pages of numbers, slogans and streams of consciousness and you'd probably have a fairly readable novella. In many ways a sequel to Microserfs (although no where near as good) JPod follows a similar...
Published on 10 Jun 2007 by Ingaborga


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Definitely not his best...., 10 Jun 2007
By 
This review is from: JPod (Paperback)
In keeping with some of the reviews here, I see this novel as a short story unnecessarily stretched out into a novel. In fact, take away the endless (and endlessly irritating) pages of numbers, slogans and streams of consciousness and you'd probably have a fairly readable novella. In many ways a sequel to Microserfs (although no where near as good) JPod follows a similar plotline - the lives and loves of a group of geeky co-workers, and in many respects it is as if Coupland is writing on auto pilot. There is even a romance between two of the main characters that is extremely reminiscent of Microserfs. Coupland himself appears as a central character in the novel, which some have seen as a vanity too far but which is more likely a slightly clumsy attempt at self-referential humour. It is, after all, not unknown for novellists to appear in their own works, whether loosely disguised or as themselves. I whizzed through JPod in about four days, probably only devoting around five or six hours to it, and it certainly hasn't made as lasting an impression on me as some of Coupland's other books. But I can think of worse books to read, and even Coupland's worse novels are better than many.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars SELF INDULGENT VANITY PROJECT, 3 Nov 2006
By 
This review is from: Jpod (Hardcover)
Right, first off let me say I've read ALL of Couplands's novels and LOVE them dearly. I would go as far to say he's my favourite author. UNTIL NOW! I was really looking forward to this & splashed out on the Limited Edition signed box set. I wish I hadn't bothered.

This is a terrible novel and I have to confess I got so angry with it I gave up before the end (I've never done that before, ever). There is no plot. The characters are so one dimentional and undeveloped you don't care about them. The worse thing that REALLY got on my nevers, were the CONSTANT self references to Coupland - he not only name checks himself all over, but he also features as a main character - JUCK!!!

MY ADVICE IS IF YOU ARE NEW OR FAMILIER TO COUPLAND TO GIVE THIS A VERY WIDE BIRTH. IT'S JUST TRIPE! GO READ HIS WONDERFUL "GIRLFRIEND IN A COMA", ALL FAMILIES ARE PSYCHOTIC" "GENERATION X" "ELANDOR RIGBY" . . . BUT NOT THIS, PLEASE!!

Douglas: must try better!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Jpodding, 14 Aug 2006
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: JPod (Paperback)
Sometimes you get a bad feeling from the first page of a book, such as when the author namedrops himself. In this case, clever Douglas Coupland.

Fortunately that bad feeling doesn't continue throughout the geek purgatory of "JPod," which can be seen as a sort of sequel to "Microserfs" -- bored, brilliant people in unfulfilling corporate jobs. It staggers at the midway point, but the corporate bizarrities are definitely worth the read.

When he's not dealing with a doomed video game, Ethan is trying to help his parents -- his pot-growing mum killed a hostile biker, and his wannabe-actor dad is having a hot affair with a sexy girl Ethan's age. To make matters worse, his brother has smugglesd illegal Chinese immigrants into his home without permission. And you thought YOUR day was bad.

Things deteriorate even more when the JPod boss develops an obsessive crush on Ethan's mother, and he ends up getting shipped to China. Now it's Ethan's job to go retrieve him, since the turtle-themed video game is being destroyed by their new manager. But getting the boss back won't be the end of his problems.

Let's get this out of the way: Coupland casts himself as a character in "JPod." Essentially it's his evil, sociopathic clone. Coupland does get credit for not making himself come across as appealing at all, but the whole sequence seems very gimmicky and artificial.

"JPod" itself is a smirky black comedy, with lots of dysfunctional characters and a a lot of all-out comic situations. In fact, he really never lets up with the comedy, with idiot bosses, lesbian mothers with lowercase names, and even a gangster born without a sense of humor. Not to mention love letters to Ronald MacDonald. Yes, the fast-food clown.

But in this view of the world, the best you can hope for is a kind of chaos that is familiar to you, and Coupland takes the opportunity to poke fun at the attitudes he helped trigger. It's a very different tone from more uplifting novels like "Eleanor Rigby," and it suits Coupland's satiric tone very well.

Coupland's strongest writing is on the JPodders themselves. They're not really likable, but they are fascinating. They fill up their worktime with mind games, mathematical riddles, and in-jokes. Unfortunately, these jokes also feel like filler to flesh out the story. At the same time, they meditate on what personality quirks drove them to this job.

"JPod" is wildly uneven and also deeply absurd, a black comedy with a postmodern Dilbert edge. It's not fully satisfying, but it is entertaining.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This is his 'Phantom Menace', 16 Jun 2006
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This review is from: JPod (Paperback)
I became obsessed with Douglas Coupland's books when I first read Gen X, Shampoo Planet and Life After God in the space of a few weeks and have, ever since Microserfs, awaited each new one with expectations that were rarely disappointed. The overall success of his output since has varied a little, many people suggesting that he does one good then one so-so book, but the last couple - Hey Nostradamus and Eleanor Rigby - were as good as if not better than his best to date (Microserfs, in my opinion) and all of his books, however contrived the subplots and kitschy the references, had a soulfulness and poetry to them that transcended the gimmicks.

JPod is like someone lacking that humanity tried - and failed - to mimic Microserfs. It's devoid of ideas. The technology that, again, felt like a gimmick in Microserfs is now so commonplace that it's got no cachet, the family subplot is painfully unreal and not remotely touching (recall "hellojed" for a reminder of how tear-jerking he could be), the way 'Coupland' inserts himself into the story about halfway through is a poor imitation of Bret Easton Ellis and pages and pages are filled with numbers that no-one will ever read, like he ran out of oopmh and just needed to hit that word count, no questions asked.

If anyone read his recent Morrissey 'interview' for the Observer Music Monthly they should know what to expect - as that was an interview without any quotes or input from the subject, so this is a novel without any creative input or heart from the author.

I would go so far as to recommend that Coupland fans who have not yet read this book should avoid it - this is his 'Phantom Menace' and it stinks.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat disappointing, 23 July 2009
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This review is from: JPod (Paperback)
I bought this book after watching the complete series of jPod on Virgin Media's on-demand service. Whilst I had not read any of Coupland's material before, but heard opinions from others who had, I had some idea of what to expect. Some pages had me laughing out loud (letters to Ronald, for example), whilst the numerous pages of seemingly unnecessary cruft (e.g. number sequences) infuriated me.

I don't know if Coupland includes himself in the narrative of his other books, but I found his appearance in jPod rather cheesy and, again, unnecessary. I believe the story would have been at least unaffected, at most enhanced, by replacing Coupland (or his evil twin persona, whatever) with another character playing the exact same role. I found his self-inclusion an indulgence, but maybe I missed some nuance or finer point he was trying to make here.

Having read jPod after seeing the excellent TV series, I was disappointed. If I'd read the book first, I probably wouldn't have bothered with the TV show - and that would have been a damn shame.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You're going to get mixed reviews on this one, 12 Oct 2006
By 
Jeremy Williams (Luton) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: JPod (Paperback)
I've heard die-hard Coupland fans give up without finishing J-Pod, and I've heard others say it's genius. I say it's a short story that's been padded out to make a novel. It doesn't have the soul of Microserfs, the Coupland novel most people will compare it to, and its certainly not a sequel. Neither of those things are criticisms. I think it's a misunderstood novel.

One of the things that seems to be putting people off is the self-referencing. I think Coupland's actually playing with his own public perceptions. It can come across as a little smug, but he is deliberately experimenting with his audience a little. (If you've read Kurt Vonnegut's Timequake, or Breakfast with Champions, you'll be familiar with the trick of writing yourself in at the critical moment.) Coupland is exploring, almost satirising, his own public persona, like Eminem seems to do quite regularly on his comeback singles.

J-Pod is not your normal Coupland fayre. There doesn't seem to be any redemption for the characters, nobody sees the light and becomes a better person. The end is almost an anticlimax, an undoing. And yet, it's not a bad book. It's just an anti-Coupland, a negative of Microserfs, an alternative worldview that makes his readers re-appraise his other books.

But if you're a fan and you're still not convinced, I'm confident Coupland's next novel will be nothing like it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Fantastically Irrelevant Book I Have Ever Read!, 4 Sep 2006
By 
Chris Chalk "Chris" (Croydon, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: JPod (Paperback)
JPod - so named because all of the programmers in this Canadian software house that sit in a particular section of the office have surnames that begin with the letter J.

There you have it, mystery solved; good night and go home.

Well kind of...

You could say the main character is Ethan, the story is in fact told (mainly) from his point of view but the plot does revolve around 5 other characters whom have varying degrees of (according to Ethan's girlfriend Kaitlan) autism - an interesting view on the teccies of this world and one that I would investigate just here.

The lives of our young JPoders are as varied as they are bizarre, John Doe (yes its his real name!) grew up in a lesbian commune and always tries to be statically normal as possible, Evil Mark has an edible stapler and Ethan himself has a drug dealing mother and a father with a girlfriend his own age. The cameo from Kam, the drug dealing people smuggler and smack head Steve are hilarious.

The puzzles that are incorporated in the book (find the odd one out from a list of prime numbers) are irrelevant but although they adds nothing of note to the story it is a funny interlude. The inclusion of the author himself in the story has been much discussed but I actually find it very amusing that the author would chose to portray himself in this way and find that it really works!

This is my first Coupland novel but will certainly not be my last.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Love Coupland? Don't read this book, 23 Mar 2007
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This review is from: JPod (Paperback)
Having read everything that Coupland has ever written and loved it all - for a variety of reasons and to a variety of degrees - I was looking forward to this book enormously, however I curse the day I ever picked it up let alone read it.

Marketing it as Microserfs for the Google generation is an interesting angle, it's just a shame that the book isn't. In fact you'd be forgiven for thinking that he just swapped some characters names around and changed the title of Microserfs.

The characters are nearly identical to Microserfs, he uses the same old print devices of mixed sized fonts and copious amounts of prime numbers printed on page after page after page, but most disappointingly he appears to have nothing to say. Not even anything new to say, just nothing to say.

Perhaps even more unforgivably, he has written himself into the book as a character. Yep okay he portrays himself as a complete and utter idiot, which I can only imagine he perceives to be ironic, but his characterisation of himself is so flimsy that it tells you everything you need to know about the other characters.

This is lazy, sloppy work that really isn't worthy of a writer of Coupland's talent and insights. I can only surmise that he is starting to believe his own PR. It's so bad that it casts a pall over his other excellent books. Let's hope it's a one-time blip. If you love Coupland, please don't read this book.

I can hardly bear to have it in my home and it will be going to the British Heart Foundation as soon as possible. Dramatic, I know, but that's how gutted I am about this novel.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Self referential, self indulgent twaddle, 10 July 2006
By 
J. Beresford - See all my reviews
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This review is from: JPod (Paperback)
I am generally a fan of COuplands work - Gen X and Microserfs being particularly good.

This was dire. Introducing himself into the book; the asides of little text that were cool in Gen X descend into pages and pages of prime numbers (why? well, I can see why, but it's dull), characters without character, just a collection of 'quirks', a plot that tries too hard to be odd and as a result just becomes unbelievable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book about nothing, and everything, 8 Jun 2013
This review is from: JPod (Paperback)
As an influential post-modern author, Douglas Coupland has as many critics as admirers. People often criticise Coupland because his novels are seemingly about nothing, when, in fact, they are about they are about everything. Coupland is a master of de-constructing the minutiae of post-millennial life. His characters may be shallow, detached, and even difficult to connect with at times, but they pick at the world like jaded stand-up comedians, and this humour and skewed view of life makes JPod, or any Coupland novel, worth a read.
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JPod by Douglas Coupland (Paperback - 4 Jun 2007)
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