Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Generation A

by Douglas Coupland

Quickie Recap: In the not too distant future, the world will have no more bees, and with the bees go lots of our favourite crops. Five years after the extinction, 5 seemingly unconnected individuals are stung all over the world, and in rush the scientists to study them while they blow up all over social media.

Quickie Review: Told from a shifting-frame perspective, each of the group of 5 gets their chance to narrate and bring their own views and unique voice to the novel. This style is supposed to mimic Coupland's most famous novel, Generation X. I liked this book, although I read it warily. As usual, Coupland explores the meet and greet between culture and media\technology. His protagonists are all slackers, all disaffected youth, and all seem to be up for this non-voluntary adventure their bee stings have obligated. They're also living in a time when heroin addiction is null because of course, poppies require bees. A new drug, called Solon, has stepped in to replace it and everyone's attracted to it - except for these five. Released from their experimentation cells, they have a new prison: celebrity. To escape, they are herded by a charismatic scientist named Serge onto a remote Canadian island where they are encouraged to tell stories. These stories end up revealing things about their raconteurs of course, but also about who they are becoming, isolated together on the island. The stories, unfortunately, take the place of plot, and the book kind of falls apart in the second half, and Douglas struggles to regain control so that he may grant us the ending we deserve.
Quickie Recommendation: I wish we had learned more about this world without bees. The stories did very little for me. I missed action, I missed movement in the story. I'd still say check it out, but it doesn't stand up to his previous great works.

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