Jpod by Douglas Coupland


JPod is a novel by Douglas Coupland that revolves around the lives of six young adults who are assigned to the same cubicle pod by someone in human resources through a computer glitch, working at Neotronic Arts, a fictional Burnaby-based video game company.

The plot of the book affords wide ground for Coupland’s flair for pop allusions. It revolves around Ethan Jarlewski and the other five inhabitants of JPod, a particularly undesirable wing of a Vancouver-based videogame design company.

The novel opens as the JPodders leave a meeting where they’ve been asked to insert a talking turtle into a skateboard game. Instead, they spend most of their work time developing a secret level within the game that unleashes Ronald McDonald as a rampaging, murderous clown.

The various themes addressed throughout the novel “JPod” offer deep insight into the life of a teenager in today’s modern society through the combination of the existence and importance of various drugs.

These drugs vary from addiction to narcotics to addiction to electronics. Coupland prefers to focus on presenting a certain pop sensibility rather than tight plot construction.

What I Liked

Solid novel with funny cultural allusions.

What I Did Not Like

The novel aged pretty quickly – I think you had to be really into the early 2000s to get anything. I mean – the title is an allusion to the iPod, which, at the time was revolutionary. In 2023…not so much.

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