Microserfs: A Novel

Microserfs: A Novel

4.4 22
by Douglas Coupland
     
 

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They are Microserfs—six code-crunching computer whizzes who spend upward of sixteen hours a day "coding" and eating "flat" foods (food which, like Kraft singles, can be passed underneath closed doors) as they fearfully scan company e-mail to learn whether the great Bill is going to "flame" one of them. But now there's a chance to become innovators instead of

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Overview

They are Microserfs—six code-crunching computer whizzes who spend upward of sixteen hours a day "coding" and eating "flat" foods (food which, like Kraft singles, can be passed underneath closed doors) as they fearfully scan company e-mail to learn whether the great Bill is going to "flame" one of them. But now there's a chance to become innovators instead of cogs in the gargantuan Microsoft machine. The intrepid Microserfs are striking out on their own—living together in a shared digital flophouse as they desperately try to cultivate well-rounded lives and find love amid the dislocated, subhuman whir and buzz of their computer-driven world.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062105967
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
06/21/2011
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
857,618
File size:
3 MB

Meet the Author

Douglas Coupland is the author of twelve novels, including Generation X and Microserfs, and several works of nonfiction, including Polaroids from the Dead. He lives and works in Vancouver, Canada.

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Microserfs 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Niloufar_Khanna More than 1 year ago
Microserfs, by Douglas Coupland is a novel about 1990s American tech culture. Set first in Redmond, Washington and later in the Silicon Valley, this novel centers around the lives of a group of programmers that work for Microsoft. The novel is narrated as a series of diary entries written by the main character, Daniel. At the start of the novel, Daniel is considered with the short life of a programmer, and how most programmers find themselves out of work when they are in their early fifties. He is also disenchanted with the fact that most employees at Microsoft are treated like corporate serfs whose sole purpose in life is to meet their shipping deadlines. After a while, his friend Michael decides to form a startup company and, after some thought, he and his friends move to the Valley to start their company. Meanwhile, Daniel¿s father is out of work and must look for a job, which is difficult to find for most people his age, sine their skills are outdated. Daniel¿s father decides to join his son and work for OOP. He becomes very close to Daniel¿s friend Michael, who just so happens to resemble Jed, Daniel¿s brother who died in a boating accident when the two were children. The novel then centers on the lives of Daniel and his friends as well as their relations with the rest of the tech world. This novel revolves around the themes of 1990s geek culture, the balance between work and social life, the history of Silicon Valley, the role of women in programming, and the place of faith in human thought. I personally enjoyed the novel because it gives the readers a realistic look at tech culture in the 1990s. The characters, whom are on a quest to find social lives amidst long workdays, little financial stability and a general sense of ¿techiness¿ are frightening similar to actual programmers who were in their mid-20s in the 1990s. The characters refer to common problems of working in the fast-paced field of the computer industry, such as the physical and social alienation from others, the shipping deadlines, the tendency to eat unhealthy food, the lack of sleep, and the lack of religious or spiritual orientation. In the attempt to find identities for themselves, the characters change their beliefs and their personalities so that they fit into their own ideal of perfection, which seems to be common among Valley techies. The novel portrays programmers to be a bunch of intelligent but misguided individuals without emotional stability. The novel basically serves to answer the question: Are we as a species becoming slaves to technology?
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Sassafras04 More than 1 year ago
I enjoy the style of Douglas Coupland's writing. Good stuff here. I read this after reading JPOD and now am on to Generation A. I have been very please with all three.
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SwanlakeUM More than 1 year ago
This is the book that got me hooked on Coupland. I'd picked it up randomly, not knowing what to expect, and could not put it down. It's not the plot, it's the characters. You cannot help rooting for them, even though they're not heroes at all, not even really nice people sometimes - but they are PEOPLE, very real, very tangible, very "everyday" people, whose lives go in all sorts of directions and they cope, not heroically, but rather in a stoic, one-day-at-a-time manner. The geeky terminology and the computer's journal will appeal to all the microserfs out there, but you don't need to be a geek to appreciate the stumbling, bumbling characters with their all-too human flaws. Brilliant book.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
That's basically what the book is about. You've got to read it more than once - there's a lot to take in. If you take out all of the pop culture references and tech-speak, you're left with a bunch of people that take one hell of a journey - together and individually. The last line of the book (which I won't spoil) really sums up everything that came before it in a way that is damn near profound. To those that say the book has no plot, I'd argue that that's half the point. This isn't an A to B story. The beginning isn't the beginning, the end isn't the end. It's written as a journal and reads like a snippet taken from a memoir. This book (and indeed a lot of Coupland's books) adhere pretty closely to the adage 'life is a journey, not a destination.' If you really want to enjoy this book, read it twice. Or three times. Hell, I think I've read it at least a dozen times - every few months I'll pull this out and give it another read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
While I, myself, originally bought this book because it was supposedly about 'Microsoft and stuff,' I found it to be so much more than I ever would have imagined. Like the others that have reviewed this book, I say this isn't just for those steeped in the modern culture of computers. So much of the story is about anything *but* computers. Basically, the book is about Dan (written from his perspective), Karla, Susan, Bug, Todd, Ethan, Michael, Abe, and Dan's parents, along with smaller players Dusty, Amy, Emmett, and Anatole. It's about how these people, each different in their own way, deals with themselves, each other, and the world around them. This book, and I mean this in the most sincere way, is beautiful. By the end of the book, I felt like I knew these people as old friends, and I couldn't help thinking what my life would be like surrounded by people like this. This book also bears re-reading. I've been through it 8 or 9 times since I bought it, and it never gets old. I couldn't find the words to express how highly I recommend this book. It won't change your life, you won't get rich by reading it, and you're not going to impress people by reeling off quotes. But I guarantee, at the very least, it will put a bona fide smile on your face.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a cog in the well-oiled machine of the PC age? Stop your search engines, because you¿ll get everything you need to know in Douglas Coupland¿s novel Microserfs. This book is rich in humor,programming, and the human condition, all wrapped up in a tasty package of C++ and soy drinks. The novel centers around Daniel Underwood, a twenty-something code cleaner at Microsoft. Along with his friends Todd, Bug, Abe, Karla, and Susan, he attempts to define his life as something other than a never-ending tribute to Bill Gates (¿B-B-B-Bill!!!¿ as he is known to Microsoft employees) and late night trips for cheese doodles. Complicating his search is his fifty-something father¿s recent job loss, his mother¿s concern for their sanity and finances, and his secret mourning for his brother Jed, who died as a child in a boating accident on Labor day. Throw in the fact that none of them really have a clue as to how ¿normal¿ people date and enjoy life and you¿ll see why Daniel is having such a difficult time with things! All that begins to change, though, when their friend Michael moves in with Daniel¿s parents in California and offers them all new jobs and a chance for a new life. A life that THEY can write the code for, not just reworking someone else¿s. Hungry for change and a chance to prove to themselves that they can do it, the entire group of them ends up making the move. What they learn about themselves and each other as they do their personal ¿upgrades¿ will delight and inspire you. This novel creates a world that anyone who has ever asked: ¿Where am I going? What am I doing?¿ can relate to, even if you¿ve never booted up a machine. If you¿re looking for something that powerfully describes the struggle we all face to achieve happiness, read this book. This ¿user¿ rates it a 10.0.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Despite occasional monologues that read like philosophy dissertations, the characters in this novel are real, flawed, and alive. They embark on their individual journeys of self-discovery unwittingly but sincerely. Some subplots have the potential to devolve into after-school-special style melodrama, but don't (thankfully!) due to Coupland's careful treatment of the characters, and the book's diary-like format. Coupland has done an excellent job of capturing the essence of geek subculture without simply regurgitating existing stereotypes. The book wanders across the line between the technological and the metaphysical, and comes to a surprisingly poetic and sincere conclusion.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Talk about futurism... this 5+ year old novel still captures the zeitgeist of Silcon Valley. Damn funny with many boffos to be had, but be forewarned - Avoid the faux paus that is Po Bronson's 'The First $20 million is Always the Hardest' and support the revolution that is Douglas Coupland...!Viva Vancouver!
Guest More than 1 year ago
for me, microserfs was a beautiful story about contemporary culture. it is about the role technologies can play in healing our cultures. it is a critique of the concentration of power and a celebration of human - ness, of our vulnerabilities, failings and dreams. it is one of many stories which need telling in public.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book pretty much rules, especially if you've ever considered yourself a computer geek. Some of the terminology is just a heche out of date (it's copyright 1995), but still very relevant and amusing. I wish these people were MY friends, even though the people in the book all seem to think each other losers.