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Player One: What Is to Become of Us (CBC Massey Lecture) (2010)

by Douglas Coupland

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5722632,204 (3.39)27
This is a real-time five-hour story set in an airport cocktail lounge during a global disaster. Five disparate people are trapped inside: Karen, a single mother waiting for her online date; Rick, the down-on-his-luck airport lounge bartender; Luke, a pastor on the run; Rachel, a cool Hitchcock blonde incapable of true human contact; and finally a mysterious voice known as Player One. Slowly, each reveals the truth about themselves while the world as they know it comes to an end. In the tradition of Kurt Vonnegut and J.G. Ballard, Coupland explores the modern crises of time, human identity, society, religion and the afterlife. The book asks as many questions as it answers and readers will leave the story with no doubt that we are in a new phase of existence as a species o and that there is no turning back.… (more)
  1. 20
    Eleanor Rigby by Douglas Coupland (brianjungwi)
  2. 02
    Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk (freetrader)
    freetrader: Style very similar. Palahniuk more hilaric (not in Snuf, but in Choke e.g.), Coupland more philosophic. While reading it i was sometimes under the impression that i was reading Palahniuk. Are they the same, have they merged into one media event latley ?
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» See also 27 mentions

English (25)  Italian (1)  All languages (26)
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
A really excellent novel on what it would be like if the world ran out of oil played out over five hours while five people wait in an airport lounge for their flight that will never depart.

I like this rating system by ashleytylerjohn of LibraryThing (https://www.librarything.com/profile/ashleytylerjohn) that I have also adopted:
(Note: 5 stars = rare and amazing, 4 = quite good book, 3 = a decent read, 2 = disappointing, 1 = awful, just awful.) ( )
  Neil_Luvs_Books | Oct 2, 2021 |
For the first part of the book I found myself thinking that this was one of the best Coupland books I had read in a very long time, hearkening back to when he first started publishing. Characters in interesting situations expressing amusing, nuanced, unique, passionate points-of-view about life, relationships, the nature of existence, and society. Eventually in this book the interpersonal dramas shift to terrifying thriller dramas but where actually almost nothing happens. The book is structured where each chapter cycles through the story being told by each of the characters in turn, but Coupland can't really write in different voices very well, so it starts to blend together, and by the end I found myself thinking this is one of the worst Coupland books I had ever read, as it becomes basically an essay (theoretically in the voice of one character) that goes on and on with a lot of Big Ideas jammed together. But they aren't interesting ideas or presented compellingly and also hey wait a minute weren't we in a story a minute go so why are we getting this thrown at us. ( )
  steveportigal | Dec 31, 2020 |
Conceptually ingenious. Not as gripping or fun as his usual work to actually read. Ultimately it is a book devoid of substance, and its substancelessness - instead of being a camp send-up of our times - comes across as failure. One can feel that Coupland earnestly tried to imbue history-worthy meaning and message into his Massey lecture; It reads as if the pressure killed it. ( )
  GeorgeHunter | Sep 13, 2020 |
This is set in an Airport lounge at the end of the World as we know it.

There is Rachel a young autistic woman who breeds white mice
Rick the Barman who is down on his luck and recovering alcoholic
Karen a Single Mother who is looking for romance
Luke a Pastor who stole all his Church Roof repair funds

The Blind date Karen was meeting is shot and killed by a sniper called Bertis, a thick horrible smug envelopes the airport.
Bertis enters the lounge the others with the help of a young man called Max hold him hostage. Rachel who is falling for Rick is also shot.

This book is to help the reader think about the future and what sort of life we are living in the 21st century.

(I read this during the 2020 Lockdown so some of it is relevant) ( )
  Daftboy1 | Jun 8, 2020 |
I was not expecting this book to be great. The unexpectedness of everything that happens, plus Rachel, were entirely enjoyable and intriguing. Are the Massey Lectures all like this? ( )
  carliwi | Sep 23, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
The way Coupland moulds his fiction from the throwaway debris of North American popular culture is quite brilliant; but after 12 novels it can seem a little familiar. His characters are still wondering what would happen to someone who is technically immortal but killed in an explosion: how would all the pieces come back together? And if you could take a pill to make you normal, would you do it? If there is a God, does he like people or not?
 

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You can have information or you can have life, but you can't have both.
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Karen likes crossword puzzles because they make time pass quickly.
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Rosenwald's theorem: The belief that all the wrong people have self-esteem.

Karaokeal Amnesia: Most people don't know the complete lyrics of almost any song, particularly the ones they hold most dear.
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This is a real-time five-hour story set in an airport cocktail lounge during a global disaster. Five disparate people are trapped inside: Karen, a single mother waiting for her online date; Rick, the down-on-his-luck airport lounge bartender; Luke, a pastor on the run; Rachel, a cool Hitchcock blonde incapable of true human contact; and finally a mysterious voice known as Player One. Slowly, each reveals the truth about themselves while the world as they know it comes to an end. In the tradition of Kurt Vonnegut and J.G. Ballard, Coupland explores the modern crises of time, human identity, society, religion and the afterlife. The book asks as many questions as it answers and readers will leave the story with no doubt that we are in a new phase of existence as a species o and that there is no turning back.

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Average: (3.39)
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