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am 22. September 2013
Really loved this book. It was witty,well observed. Typical Douglas Coupland. A must read for anyone working in tech or nostalgic for the 90s.
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am 17. Januar 2009
Douglas Coupland can manage to nail the spirit of a certain time and subculture. Having a generation named after one of his books might support this claim (Generation X: Tales for an accelerated Culture).
With Microserfs he manages to do it again, only in a different time and place. It's not so much a tale of flight and seclusion, as much as a story about literally "going west" in the gold rush times of the new economy bubble.
Even if the spirit might be a different one, fans will not be disappointed: There are still loads of references on popular culture, the style is shrill and colorful, the pace more or less fluent. Last but not least, the everyday absurdities of corporate culture provide for many laugh out loud moments.
What comes out stronger in this book is the human side. The whole plot is strongly character driven and that's a good thing. While the cast sometimes seems to resemble a freakshow more than your average bunch of programmers, one really begins to care about them and their development from serfs to full human beings.
Everyone who hasn't been in Silicon Valley in the mid 90's should read the book for a taste of what it might have felt like. And all those who have been there? I think they read it already.
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am 20. Februar 2006
Ich habe mir diese Kassetten nur wegen Matthew Perry gekauft und wurde nicht enttäuscht. Es gelingt ihm wirklich gut, die verschiedenen Emotionen in seiner Stimmer widerzuspiegeln. Und selbst die Geschicht ist recht interessant :-)
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am 21. Juli 2000
this book is warming, startling and profound. it's a fresh, confrontational, provocative novel that pulls the reader into the narrative while making them realize the world that surrounds them. like the radiohead record "ok computer", it emphasizes the juxtaposition of technology with the patterns of life, the patterns of sadness and desperation, and the things we need to do to take control of our lives from being gripped by either technology, sadness OR desperation.
the focus, despite the occasional confrontation of a page saying something like "I AM YOUR PERSONAL COMPUTER", shifts from the materialism of life making what makes life worthwhile to the interdependency and essentiality of friendship in society. it freaks me out to think of all the technology that has made it so much harder for people to connect in society. this book is ironic: in the narrative, it brings together the people at the very root of the creation of technology that causes this separation and makes a family out of them. and really, it's not cheesy... this book seems like a direct ray of purpose from the author telling us to wake up. i think it's great. and you don't have to be a computer geek to agree.
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am 20. Juli 2000
I was expecting "Microserfs" to be the witty send-up of Microsoft culture and start-up angst that it is. What caught me off guard was the surprisingly tender moments of love, life and death that Coupland manages to squeeze in amongst the humorous descriptions and dead-on depictions of life in Redmond and the Silicon Valley. It's not perfect: The plot takes a little while to get going, and there are some gimicky moments (2 whole pages of binary code, pages without vowels). The story sometimes seems to barely scratch the surface of the characters' lives and emotions, glossing over the missing depth with relentless pop culture references and relying on Big Moments - birth, cancer, coming out - to let us know we should be feeling for the characters. But those very flaws are a part of the book's post-MTV-generation style, full of quick cuts, potent images and Pop-Up Video factoids. Once you get past all that, "Microserfs" rewards you with a creative, insightful look at geek life and a fondly-crafted time capsule of the early 90s. If you're under 35 and/or work in high tech, definitely give it a spin.
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am 19. Juli 2000
I shied away from Coupland's work for the longest time, because all I knew about him was that he coined the term "Generation X." Good God, I thought, who wants to read some book filled with snarky little self-referential geek angst?
I'm sorry I thought that, because it kept me from reading this book for far too long. From the first page, I was hooked. I honestly could not put this book down. On the bus, in the car, walking down the street, on lunch breaks at work -- I read this book nonstop until I was finished.
It details the lives of several Microsoft employees who quit the B-B-B-B-BILL culture at Microsoft and move to Silicon Valley to form a startup tech company. The opening pages about Microsoft drew me in, because I work in Redmond WA and a lot of what he wrote about was very familiar -- and hilarious -- to me.
I thought that the entire book would be that way -- amusing comments about Microsoft corporate culture -- but after the characters move to the Silicon Valley, it becomes more introspective, a character study of the lives of these restless, highly educated, self-named geeks.
It's quirky, with lots of pop culture references, but it's also wonderfully insightful and sweet. As I closed the final page, I felt as though I'd had a really moving experience, and it's not every day that I feel that way after having read a book.
I'd highly recommend this book to anyone, whether you're familiar with tech culture or not. Of course, if you ARE familiar with it, the book will just be that much more funny.
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am 16. Juli 2000
But maybe that's just me, but I know that if you're a programmer in your early 20's slogging away for some far-away goal you're not entirely sure of, then you might find yourself all red-faced and puckered up at 1 in the morning, wondering why the hell you're crying and smiling.
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am 8. Juli 2000
Coupland's 3rd novel is still very good, yet still nowhere near great. This is about a group of techie friends in Silicon Valley who work for a Bill-Gates-like character, whom they liken to GOD. The novel's style is much more like Shampoo Planet than Generation X--traditional in form, content, character, etc. He isn't breaking new literary ground although his style is becoming (again) more polished. What's best about this work is that Coupland offers us entry into an intriguing milieu--the nerdy code-writers of technopia. He is humane and insightful regarding these characters, which is perhaps his greatest gift as a writer. He is certainly a writer for his timne, but not yet a writer for all time.
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am 3. Juli 2000
A fellow geek friend of mine convinced me to get this book. We both work as network engineers for various major corporations, so we're not coders. However, "Microserfs" was a great narrative on geek culture. We're both a little more down-to-Earth than Dan and his crew (we're married, have lives outside IT, etc,) but the book really hit home for both of us. Being a 20-something in the tech industry is tough, especially if you don't want to conform and become a "suit" when you're 30. Coupland captures that spirit of insecurity in his characters. The references to pop culture icons and just the ramblings about everyday life really made this tech nerd think that Dan is one of the guys I work with all the time. I've read the book several times, and constantly notice parallels between the lives of this group of nerds and my own. It's a *great* read for anyone in the tech industry, not just programmers!
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am 26. Juni 2000
What's so remarkable about this book is that in 93/94, Coupland managed to write, with such accuracy and detail, about a subculture which the mainstream caught onto only about a year and a half ago. Coupland manages to capture the culture and mood of techgeeks so painfully accurately, that I ended up disliking the characters in the exact way and for the exact reasons I dislike most of linux-shirt wearing, annoying, all-i-know-are-computers, techgeeks I know "in real life". While I disliked the characters, it was dislike stemming from the fact that they were so well done. And just like the characters, the rest of the story is extremely well written. Completely unpretentious, extremely readable, Coupland writes like a friend relaying an anecdote to you, rather than an author trying to show off his new thesaurus.
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