cover image Please Report Your Bug Here

Please Report Your Bug Here

Josh Riedel. Holt, $26.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-250-81379-4

Riedel debuts with a smart exposé of the tech boom imbued with a touch of weird fantastical elements. App developer Ethan Block looks back on his time in 2010–2011 with a startup called DateDate in San Francisco. As a new hire, Ethan, 24 and single, believes DateDate can change the world. Users post pictures and answer over a thousand questions about themselves to find their top match, and Ethan’s job entails responding to customer emails, reviewing photos for content violations, and fixing bugs, working 16-hour days as the platform swells to a million users. One day, while checking out the profile of the user with whom he’s best matched, Ethan is physically transplanted to a mysterious location through his phone. Later, back in the office, he obsessively tries to replicate the bug but can’t. After the startup is acquired by a large Google-esque company, Ethan learns he’s being manipulated. Riedel makes the most of his removed narrator, who has enough distance from the events to offer sharp insights on gentrification, workplace ennui, and the uncanny ways that tech has blurred his sense of reality, such as with the innocuous photos he removes from people’s profiles, mistaking them for violations, or the hardware store he confuses for a new antique shop. It’s impressive how much Riedel packs into this. Agent: Ellen Levine and Martha Wydysh, Trident Media Group. (Jan.)