book: Douglas Coupland “JPod”

December 14, 2009

Yes, sorry, another book review.  About four months ago one of my cable tester type channels had the first four programmes from a quirky Canadian series JPod.  I looked for it here and there to find out that it was based on a Douglas Coupland book by the same name and isn’t available here in any way.  So I turned to the book (borrowed from Gordon – thanks)!

JPod is the day to day story of Ethan a programmer who specialises in adding gore elements to video games.  He co-exists in the cubical farm called JPod which by some computer glitch contains various people who’s names start with J.

Ethan’s mum grows pot in the basement and accidentally(ish) kills her biker / dealer / boyfriend so Ethan has to help get rid of the body.  Ethan’s Dad is an acting extra trying to get his first talking part (and champion ballroom dancer).

As we get to know the JPoders they are almost ready to launch the latest skateboarding gore-fest when a new manager takes charge of the project and wants to insert a new character – a friendly turtle called Geoff.  Mainly because he is separated from his wife, has no access to his boy (called Geoff) who loves turtles.  So it is back to the drawing board to try to figure out how to shoehorn a turtle into a violent skating game.

It is an oddly quirky book with many asides and short sections that go nowhere. All the characters are well written and Douglas Coupland turns up half way through the story to play a key role.  I’ve not read any other Coupland books, so I’m not sure if this always happens but in this story if works.

I found it very funny and entertaining and it was certainly a good break from the Stone Barrington novels I’ve been working through.