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Microserfs by Douglas Coupland
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Microserfs (original 1995; edition 1996)

by Douglas Coupland

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4,127511,216 (3.9)39
Member:electricbox
Title:Microserfs
Authors:Douglas Coupland
Info:Harper Perennial (1996), Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:fiction, canadian, humour, geek, california

Work details

Microserfs by Douglas Coupland (1995)

  1. 00
    Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple (cransell)
    cransell: Two fictional looks at working at Microsoft.
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Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
This was a surprise. I really really loved this novel. A fascinating snapshot of the 1990's tech industry from the POV of an early Gen X software tester and programmer. Doesn't sound like it would be entertaining? It blew me away, it was so fun and hilarious, from the pseudo-deification of Bill Gates (referred to only as "Bill"---said with the gravity of saying "God"), to the Lego decorated office, to the pet hamsters named "Look" and "Feel," to the typical 90's Gen-X conversations--philosophizing over pop culture (cereals, 70's TV shows, childhood toys, etc).

There were more serious themes too, such as finding love, how older generations are lost on the new tides of the technology boom, finding purpose and meaning in life after the success-driven 1980's. So, even though it was a fun book, it wasn't shallow. ( )
  dulcinea14 | Sep 18, 2014 |
Pretty amazing to read this book AFTER The Circle. Similar, and yet... What a difference twenty years makes! Wow! ( )
1 vote ReneeGKC | Mar 1, 2014 |
I found Mer. Coupland, quite funny, and as a non-computer Geek,(my Geekdom is in other fields) I can't tell if there is Science fiction in this or not. But I enjoyed reading it and I know many others have as well. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Sep 16, 2013 |
This is the second Coupland book I've read. My wife is a big fan and since I know she read this years ago, I finally kind of get it. Coupland is a smart guy - I hope he was smart enough to do what his narrator suggested in this novel - invest in Apple back in the '90s when the stocks were low. If he actually did, Coupland can just write for enjoyment I'm sure....

Anyway, the characters (and there were a lot of them) were generally well-developed, there was a lot of pop culture references, but I got them all. Not sure if someone younger would - but that's the hazard of pop culture references right? The book was funny, thought-provoking, touching. I get why my wife likes Coupland, I kind of do now too. ( )
  Sean191 | Aug 1, 2013 |
This book is dated. That's not usually an issue for me. Not only is this book dated, it gets so many of the local landmarks wrong that it's distracting. (No one I know calls El Camino Real, Camino Real. It's usually El Camino.)

This is the fictional diary of a guy who once worked at Microsoft and left it to follow a friend into the land of start-ups, Silicon Valley. Having lived in Silicon Valley since 1984, and having been a part of the tech boom (and subsequent) bust, I know what that world was/is like. And this book rings false in so many ways.

Yes, the broad strokes are there. They all wind up working in the narrator's parents' home while scrambling for venture capital money. They say and do all the techie buzzwords and write code until their fingers fall off. If the intent was to portray life from a programmer's point of view in the frenetic, crazed world of high tech and the geekiness that is Silicon Valley, this book failed.

It's a world I know and love, but Douglas Coupland fails to convince me that he actually knows anything about it. More to the point, he's convinced me that he read some maps, followed the news and, maybe, talked to a few geeks. Then he wrote a book impersonating a geek.

Two stars because I didn't actually throw it across any room I was in while reading it. ( )
1 vote AuntieClio | Jun 21, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
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This morning, just after 11:00, Michael locked himself in his office and won't come out.
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I stared at an entire screen full of these words and they dissolved and lost meaning, the way words do when you repeat them over and over — the way anything loses meaning when context is removed — the way we can quickly enter the world of the immaterial using the simplest of devices, like multiplication.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060987049, Paperback)

Microserfs is not about Microsoft--it's about programmers who are searching for lives. A hilarious but frighteningly real look at geek life in the '90's, Coupland's book manifests a peculiar sense of how technology affects the human race and how it will continue to affect all of us. Microserfs is the hilarious journal of Dan, an ex-Microsoft programmer who, with his coder comrades, is on a quest to find purpose in life. This isn't just fodder for techies. The thoughts and fears of the not-so-stereotypical characters are easy for any of us to relate to, and their witty conversations and quirky view of the world make this a surprisingly thought-provoking book.

" ... just think about the way high-tech cultures purposefully protract out the adolescence of their employees well into their late 20s, if not their early 30s," muses one programmer. "I mean, all those Nerf toys and free beverages! And the way tech firms won't even call work 'the office,' but instead, 'the campus.' It's sick and evil."

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:32:48 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Young people working for Microsoft decide to make a bid for freedom by founding their own software company. The novel--narrated as an online journal by danielu@microsoft.com--describes the ups and downs of raising money for a new business. By the author of Generation X.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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