Microserfs Paperback – 1996
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Microserfs is about a group of young Microsoft employees who seem to spend all their waking hours working, holed away in their offices staring at computer screens. Matthew Perry, of television's Friends, does a remarkable job of bringing this abridged audiobook version humorously and heartbreakingly to life. In the beginning, he appropriately uses the sarcastic voice for which he is so well known, but as the story reveals the darker side of protagonist Dan's frantic world, Perry drops the attitude and uses a much more understanding tone. Dan, not yet 30, but already facing burnout, realizes he has no life and begins keeping a journal in an attempt to sort through his personal and professional plight. Halfway through the story (read as journal entries), Dan and a group of like-minded cohorts quit their jobs, pack their bags, and set out to start up their own company in Silicon Valley. This audiobook is an often hilarious foray into the risks and the rewards of the high-tech world. (Running time: three hours, two cassettes) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
With his nose to the zeitgeist, the author of Generation X again examines the angst of the white-collar, under-30 set in this entertaining tale of computer techies who escape the serfdom of Bill Gates's Microsoft to found their own multimedia company. The story is told through the online journal of Danielu@microsoft.com, an affable, insomniac, 26-year-old aspiring code writer. Together with his girlfriend Karla, a mousy shiatsu expert with a penchant for Star Trekky aphorisms, and a tight clique of maladjusted, nose-to-the-grindstone housemates, he relocates to a Lego-adorned office in Palo Alto, Calif., to develop a product called Object Oriented Programming (Oop!), a form of virtual Lego. Much of the story concerns the the Oop! staff's efforts to raise capital and "have a life" amid 18-hour work days. Dan's journal, like much prose on the Internet, abounds in typos, encrypted text, emoticons-:) for happy and :( for sad-and random snippets of information, a format that suits Copland's disjointed, soundbite-heavy fiction. Yet the randomness and nonlinearity of cyberspace hobble narrative. Amid endless digital chitchat and pop-philosophy, this novel's more serious ruminations about the physical and social alienation of life on the Information Superhighway never achieve any real complexity.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Years have gone by, and looking back you can see how strange routine was, and how the cynicism of then was tame when compared to the cynicism of now. Being transported back to then gives you hope for the now, and the comfort of open arms that will hold you, and of a mouth that will whisper into your ear "There are things that you must remember." It's almost supernatural. My skin crawls.
I'm not a coder, never was. Never worked in the Silicon Valley. Lived there during the time this book takes place, but never was friends with people that remotely resembled the people this book tries to characterize. But, ah, the zeitgeist! As said elsewhere...this IS the zeitgeist. It is the zeitgeist made flesh through words. Coupland is less talented than this book allows us to conclude, but Microserfs is just sublime, and one of my favorite pieces of writing ever.
It reminds me of old videogames; empty outlets in the middle of the desert; sleepwalking through part of a technological revolution; warm microwave ovens; trashy sci-fi TV shows and Saved by the Bell reruns; clever toys that time forgot; Taco Bell restaurants; ancient DOS manuals; dusty floppy disks; healthy junk food; slow days; the golden age of Vallco Mall in Cupertino; riding Bus 81 in San Jose, and the Caltrain from Santa Clara to San Francisco; buying Lucasarts games at Fry's Electronics...Read more ›
Microserfs was the first book I read by him, and judging from his other works it's one of the few that actually makes a real 'book' Generation X & Shampoo planet (two of the writers other, early works) are just a bunch of stories strung together.
Microserfs is the story of a bunch of young 20 something geeks who work at Microsoft, all with aspirations of doing something more and finding out about their lives. A perfect allegory for young people of this generation who grew up weaned on computers.
The characters quit Microsoft to form their own start up, with dreams of making it rich (almost a modern day parable for gold rush and other explorers/entrepreneurs of the past
Along the way, they each come to learn something about themselves. While this is mostly a coming-of-age story that's been done so many times before. Coupland writes it differently.
Giving each character their top 5 Jeopardy categories, making them each so individually nuanced (one's obsessed with Xerox, etc) yet instantly relatable and understandable.
They're weird and quirky, but in the same way that any geek is. And they're not ashamed of this, reading this book if you are technically inclined, geeky, weird, etc, makes you feel less alone, part of something.
Like most Coupland books the ending is brief and abrupt, suddenly everyone's problems are solved, and they've all come to realize something about themselves. It feels more like the writer just ran out of story ideas, rather than a natural conclusion.
But the conclusion isn't the important part, it's the journey. And experiencing this very readable (yet still importantly different, with it's random computer quotations pasted in at times), and identifiable novel lets any techo-nerd feel at ease as they pass along for the ride.
Also recommended: THE LOSERS' CLUB by Richard Perez
Most recent customer reviews
I re-read this book recently and was amazed by how moving and entertaining it continues to be. It's an incredible portrait of the 90s, post-internet, pre-Google era when Silicon... Read morePublished on Sept. 4 2011 by lotara
Microserfs is yet another novel by canadian author Douglas Coupland set in the US. To the blind eye it would seem that Coupland is a bit obsessed with America. Read morePublished on April 14 2004 by Turquoise Hereford
This book is hilarious, and so true to life. I like how this book reprensents the characters in a way that makes them real, even likeable, and not just a bunch of nerds with... Read morePublished on March 15 2004
The economic system founded on isolation is a circular production of isolation. The technology is based on isolation, and the technical process isolates in turn. Read morePublished on Feb. 23 2004
"Microserfs" is the story of a band of disgruntled Microsoft employees who jump ship in their quest for more fulfilling personal lives and professional challenges. Read morePublished on Dec 4 2003 by Edward P. Trimnell
Couplnd cvrs th unqly gky bt ncrdbly humn aspcts of a bnch of "nerds." Brllnt humr (ok, enough! Read morePublished on Nov. 8 2003 by Amazon Customer
Coupland's Microserfs is a touching, tender, hilarious, real, and yes... geeky, look into the 20-something Techie culture of mid-1990s America. Read morePublished on Sept. 12 2003 by fellicity
Consists of a journal by of a fictitious employee at Microsoft who moved on to greener pastures in Silicon Valley when the boom was at its highest. Read morePublished on Sept. 5 2003 by Leo Lim