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Author: Andrew Tate

This book is a full-length study of Douglas Coupland, one of the twenty-first century's most innovative and influential novelists. It explores the prolific first decade-and-a-half of his career, from Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture (1991) to JPod (2006), a period in which he published ten novels and four significant volumes of non-fiction. Emerging in the last decade of the twentieth century—amidst the absurd contradictions of instantaneous global communication and acute poverty—Coupland's novels, short stories, essays, and visual art have intervened in specifically contemporary debates regarding authenticity, artifice, and art. This book explores Coupland's response, in ground-breaking novels such as Microserfs, Girlfriend in a Coma and Miss Wyoming, to some of the most pressing issues of our times.

Coupland and postmodern spirituality
Andrew Tate

voices that boom from the car radio, he at last makes the unexpected confession that he too believes ‘there is a God’ (LAG, p. 210). This intimate, fragile affiliation between faith and scepticism embodies the complex engagement with religious ideas in Coupland’s fiction. In a 1994 interview with USA Today, the novelist, then celebrated for his postmodern cynicism and acute satires of the consumerist Zeitgeist in Generation X (1991) and Shampoo Planet (1992), made the surprising declaration: ‘Everything I write or think about now seems, in the end, to veer toward the

in Douglas Coupland
Anna Dezeuze

precariousness account for the widespread apathy attributed to a generation often termed ‘Generation X’, after the eponymous novel by Douglas Coupland, and described as ‘slackers’ and losers? As he was writing Generation X in 1991, Coupland remembers, he ‘had this sadness that some dimension of history, a certain kind of potency, was over…’6 Indeed, he recalls Francis Fukuyama ‘declaring the end of history’ at the time. In 1989, Fukuyama had proposed that the end of history was a consequence of ‘the total exhaustion of viable systematic alternatives to Western liberalism

in Almost nothing
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Coupland's contexts
Andrew Tate

ambivalence about national affiliations – isolates a broader set of issues that are vital, not just for Coupland’s many lonely or alienated characters, but also to the aesthetic and ethical implications of his work. This book – the first full-length study of Coupland’s writing – explores the prolific first decade and a half of his career, from Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture (1991) to JPod (2006), a period in which he published ten novels and four significant volumes of non-fiction. Since the publication of his debut novel, Coupland has been exploring the

in Douglas Coupland
Youth, pop and the rise of Madchester
Author: Steve Redhead

Madchester may have been born at the Haçienda in the summer of 1988, but the city had been in creative ferment for almost a decade prior to the rise of Acid House. The End-of-the-Century Party is the definitive account of a generational shift in popular music and youth culture, what it meant and what it led to. First published right after the Second Summer of Love, it tells the story of the transition from New Pop to the Political Pop of the mid-1980s and its deviant offspring, Post-Political Pop. Resisting contemporary proclamations about the end of youth culture and the rise of a new, right-leaning conformism, the book draws on interviews with DJs, record company bosses, musicians, producers and fans to outline a clear transition in pop thinking, a move from an obsession with style, packaging and synthetic sounds to content, socially conscious lyrics and a new authenticity.

This edition is framed by a prologue by Tara Brabazon, which asks how we can reclaim the spirit, energy and authenticity of Madchester for a post-youth, post-pop generation. It is illustrated with iconic photographs by Kevin Cummins.

Coupland and space
Andrew Tate

, blank wilderness occupy in the cultural imagination of an era defined by ‘accelerated’ commercial activity? ‘Something larger than just a landscape’: from Disney World to the suburbs ‘“Place” is a joke’ states Coupland, in a mock-ominous description of the bland, undifferentiated scenery of the globalized era.7 His fiction is often located in a rather anonymous landscape: Generation X (1991) takes place on the indistinctive periphery of a wealthy, resort town in California. Shampoo Planet (1992) moves between the melancholy, polluted and recession-hit Lancaster in

in Douglas Coupland
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Jpod and Coupland in the future
Andrew Tate

turtle character’ into a skateboard game (‘BoardX’) (JP, p. 16). Yet unlike the extended, technogeek family from the Redmond, Washington Campus, the jPodders have few illusions about the possibility of escape. The arbitrary, bureaucratic process that placed these programmers together – all have surnames beginning with the letter J – is a symptom of their anonymous, affectless world. JPod is another subculture – a world within a world – rather like a 164 Douglas Coupland corporate, and more dispirited, version of the storytelling community of Generation X. The

in Douglas Coupland
Coupland, consumption and junk culture
Andrew Tate

” ’ evades the issue of these novels’ simultaneous appreciation of the benefits of living within such a culture.8 Coupland’s work displays a genuine ambivalence about consumerism and the pursuit of wealth in the Western imagination. ‘[O]ne can just as easily imagine him attending an anti-capitalist rally as shopping in a designer goods store,’ notes Alan Bilton.9 From one perspective, Generation X (1991), Microserfs (1995) and Girlfriend in a Coma read like postmodern jeremiads against the excesses of the age, prompted by loathing for a mindless and corrupt commodity

in Douglas Coupland
Coupland and narrative
Andrew Tate

fantasy disappears, the imagination is 40 Douglas Coupland penetrated and rewired by an ever more pervasive mass media. For novelists who attempt to engage with a world immersed in electronic data, the prospect of fictionalizing an already heavily mediated reality demands a sensibility that can live with, and even thrive on, a world in which absurdity reigns. In Generation X (1991), Coupland coined dual neologisms to define a new sensibility of media-saturated disorientation: ‘Historical Underdosing’ and ‘Historical Overdosing’. The former describes life in an age

in Douglas Coupland
Nick Crossley

bands of the early punk world. Mick Jones was to play in the Clash. Tony James played in Chelsea and co-founded Generation X. And shortly after forming they acquired a third member, Brian James, who would later form the Damned. Before joining London SS Brian James had played in an MC5 influenced band called Bastard. He met Jones and (Tony) James when he responded to an advert they had placed in Melody Maker calling for a guitarist influenced by ‘Stones, NY Dolls, Mott etc.’ with ‘a great rock ‘n’ roll image’ (Gilbert 2009: 61). No less significant than this meeting

in Networks of sound, style and subversion