Saturday, 8 January 2011

#95 Player One, by Douglas Coupland (William Heinnemann)

Player One is one of the strangest books I've read this (last) year. It begins with what seems like the start of the apocalypse, throws together some of the most bizarre characters you could hope to meet, follows them in real-time for five hours as a host of questions relating to religion and the meaning of our existence are explored, and then ends.

Beautiful blonde Rachel, or 'Player One', is the key character within this setting. Unable to express or understand any emotion, the reader sees everything unfold through her eyes - and perhaps that's why everything is so curiously uninvolving.

The mood is such that when a sniper starts killing people from the top of a hotel, you don't really care, and while things start at a rollicking pace, the focus shifts from what seems a fascinating wider picture to the lives of a few people, and my interest waned as a result.

Douglas Coupland is often hailed as a 'visionary author', and while answers are few and between, he certainly poses some intruiging questions concerning the future of the planet and human nature, and there are some nice touches, such as using language you would normally associate with computers/technology to emphasise the disconnect between the characters (a conversation is not 'restarted, it is 'rebooted', for example).

But the fact I was more interested in what was happening away from where the characters were perhaps best illustrates how involved I was in the story.

That said, the final appendix dictionary, explaining (invented) terms that will be applicable in the future - "Deomiraculosteria: God's anger at always being asked to perform miracles" - was very funny in places and was worth an extra mark on its own.

So, rating time:

#95 Player One, by Douglas Coupland (William Heinnemann) - 7/10

Next up: Road Dogs, by Elmore Leonard (Pheonix)

  • Click here for the full list of books so far, and their rating

    1. Yet another author I haven't heard of. Sounds like an interesting read, great review. Will keep my eyes open for this one

    2. How far into your challenge are you? Are you doing January-January? Good luck. I am trying for 200 challenge. I got to 185 last year!