Saturday, October 9, 2010

Player One - Douglas Coupland

I love apocalyptic texts. Always.

Much like myself, Douglas Coupland also seems to be quite a fan. This novel begins with the end of the world, and stretches out through the five hours that follow the initial end. When it becomes clear to humanity that oil is running out, everything shuts down and erupts into disorder. The five hours that Coupland shares are through the eyes of four people locked in the cocktail lounge of an airport. As the world outside decays, the four protagonists each have opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings on the events that are taking place. The only character that we are not made aware of is the mysterious "Player One", who is able to distinguish the thoughts and actions of the people around it in the lounge, but we do not find out initially who this person is.

Each chapter is divided into the four different people. In the beginning, each person is given first person narration, and this enables a connection and understanding of the person on the deepest level. When it comes time for the introductions of "Player One", we only get impressions of the other people through the eyes of this mysterious character, and no personal background information on him/her/it. After "Player One" has spoken, the narration switches away from the first person, and we are only able to recognize what the people are doing, instead of being trapped in their heads. All four characters have ended up in the lounge for very different reasons, yet they all have something in common. All four of these characters are in a transition period in their lives. They have all been living a certain way, whether it is negative or positive, and at the moment where the story picks up, they have all made a decision to move down a different path then they may have been headed down before. It is this fact that makes the novel most interesting for me, as the world around them is ending with the realization that oil has run out and money is worthless, and they have all previously made the decision to change their lives. It was not the threat of the apocalypse that forced them to act a certain way, but instead their own choices.

I give this novel a 5/5. I love novels about the apocalypse, and I love that the novel only contains the five hours after the initial blow to the world. It is easy and fast to read, and I found every character to be fascinating. Also, if you haven't yet become aware, check out the Douglas Coupland inspired fashion line.

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