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An epic tale of Nerf guns and Price-Costco aisles.
am 31. Oktober 1999
"Microserfs", besides being one the the easiest reads I've ever had, is also one of the most accurate portrayals of geek twentysomething (circa the mid 90's) confusion, compasion and comradery I've ever read.
It also effortlessly skewers the high-tech community with laser-like accuracy, both in the oppresive, monoculture environment of Microsoft coders as well as the hyperpaced whirlwind of Silicon Valley. The book is presented in the form of a journal by Daniel Underwood, who initally identifies himself only through his Microsoft email address email@example.com. Surrounding him is a cadre of fellow coders all willing to submit their lives wholesale to their fearless corporate diety (B..B..B..Bill!), until a chance for equity and "one-point-oh" status lures them into Silicon Valley Start-up Hell. The story arc provides an exhilarating study of geeks in search of a life, with no pop-culture reference left unturned. Incredibly for a book mired so much in a technological world advancing at a logarithmic pace, it is as relevant in its characterizations and themes as the day it was published.
It's these characterizations that really make this book sing. The ensemble players seem as if they were carefully removed from a petre dish at the Atlanta Center for Dweeb Control...the bemused narrator obsessed with the randomness of popular culture, the riot grrl, the ultra-sensitive high-strung coding genius, to mention just a few...and the story arc provides them with ample room for change as they embark on their quests to find lives and loves. And again for a novel that deals with the software industry, it has an amazing feel for the female perspective. Not only are three strong women characters provided, their each distinct personalities provide the spectrum of geek-girl sensibilities. Along with a show-stopping female tirade about...well, you'll know what I'm talking about when you read it.
It is probably enough to say that Microserfs out- Generation-Xes "Generation-X", author Douglas Coupland's other study of slacker culture. Within the mechanical confines of the software industry, Coupland conjures an incredibly enjoyable and touching tale of young people finding their way out of digital serfdom.