Player One: What Is to Become of Us

Douglas Coupland, Introduction by
Douglas Coupland, Anansi, $15.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-0887849688
Reviewed on: 12/20/2010
Release date: 10/01/2010
Open Ebook - 257 pages - 978-0-88784-280-1
Paperback - 246 pages - 978-0-09-953818-9
Paperback - 246 pages - 978-0-09-953819-6
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4464-0931-2
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-283-26158-6
Paperback - 246 pages - 978-0-88784-972-5
Hardcover - 246 pages - 978-0-434-02104-8
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In Coupland's real-time near-apocalyptic novel, a recovering alcoholic, a divorcée, a church-fund embezzler, a beautiful android-like woman, and a man who is distinguished by his prickly demeanor converge in an airport cocktail lounge at the precise moment when oil prices begin to rise and society begins to unravel around them. Such an intriguing premise could have lead to explorations of the nature of chaos and human resilience, but the author relies instead on cursory philosophizing, allowing his characters to ramble. The players emerge as near-caricatures who are forced to contend with each other's weaknesses and a small cast of strangers, from a sniper to a "false prophet" selling the Leslie Freemont Power Dynamics program. In one man's brusque assessment, the others are "a depressing grab bag of pop culture influences and cancelled emotions, driven by the sputtering engine of the most banal form of capitalism," words which reveal both the book's vivid style and an apt critique of modern consciousness. Though the book at times feels more like television than a richly conceived world, painting aspects of adults in crisis perhaps too broadly, it is redeemed an ending that allows some of them to survive. (Oct.)
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