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Microserfs Paperback – May 30, 1996
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"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
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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."
“Coupland continues to register the buzz of his generation with fidelity.” (Jay McInerney, New York Times Book Review)
“The novel’s real fun is the frequent and rapidly fired pop-culture references that span the 70s, 80s and 90s...and Coupland uses them with relish.” (Entertainment Weekly)
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Also I really love the references to "Bill." All in all, a fun read with some incredibly interesting insights into what the internet has become.
I've read the book before and enjoyed it but the Kindle edition was a bit of a chore. It looks like the publisher didn't even proofread this book once before uploading it. A shame, really.
This is a must for those of us who deeply empathize with thematic elements in films such as Office Space or Trees Lounge. I actually was acquainted with a real housemates couple in Berkeley who could be characters in this novel, who in their "free time" romantically played computer games with each other and otherwise spent vast amounts of time behind a computer screen.
I remember the world before Atari and the internet. I recall anxious nuclear holocaust days prior to when "cyberspace" was a regular constituent in our mental vocabulary. Perhaps technology does in fact ennoble our human values and aspirations, or perhaps it is a means of convenient evasion from self-knowledge.
Coupland explores some of these concerns in this novel with real-life characters who could mirror those folks in tech cultures (Irvine, Silicon Valley, Seattle, and/or Portland)--a culture that is both oddly familiar yet cubicled in silence--nameless shadows who input code and ship products for our servile consumption.
Whity, funny, yet emotionally honest and soul piercing at times, this book reveals the true nature of IT workers during the climb of the IT field. Written in 94 (i think), many of the lifestyles that Coupland wrote about then still hold true today. It showed me just how much of an IT slave I really am, but that freedom must first come from within, and that I am still a human being even though I work 60-70 hour work weeks. Is there a life outside of IT?
I think so! This book shows me the way and allows me to laugh at myself and the stupididty of my way of life. Thanks Doug...thanks for showing me there is more to life than computers.