Canadian (Vancouver) author, designer and visual artist. His early novels feature characters struggling-to-come-to-terms-with-the-conditions-of-post-modern-life, later works tend to be comic and use Refuge in Audacity plot twists.Novels:
Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture (1991)
Shampoo Planet (1992)
Life After God (1994)
Microserfs (1995) A group of junior Microsoft programmers quit their jobs and move to silicon valley to make their own product and "get a life"
Girlfriend in a Coma (1998)
Miss Wyoming (2000)
All Families Are Psychotic (2001)
God Hates Japan (2001) (Published only in Japan, in Japanese with little English. Japanese title is 神は日本を憎んでる (Kami wa Nihon wo Nikunderu ))
Recurring Element: Coupland often recycles names and themes across different books. Backpacking across Europe for example is a central theme to Shampoo Planet and The Gum Thief, and is made fun of by characters in other books.
Girlfriend In A Coma
Apocalypse How: somewhere between Classes Two and Three. Although wild animals still exist, by the third part of the book, all human life has ended, save for the main characters. Heavily implied to be an engineered catastrophe by the same forces that incapacitated Karen; Jared makes it clear that if Richard and his friends don't make the best of their second chance, the world will end for good.
Earn Your Happy Ending: the characters save for Karen get to re-live their lives, with the added bonus of Pam and Hamilton being drug-free and Jane being able to see. However, they have to experience the world ending and everyone they love dying first. YMMV on how happy their ending is, however - see Go Mad from the Revelation.
Foreshadowing: Karen's letter to Richard, in which she describes what is about to take place. Later, Pam and Hamilton experience visions of international death and destruction in tandem while they're unconscious and undergoing detox.
From Bad to Worse: when Karen comes out of her coma, it signifies the beginning of the end of the world.
Go Mad from the Revelation: Richard, Pam, Hamilton, Linus, Megan and Wendy - at least, to outsiders who aren't aware of the things they experienced after the world ended. Jared is fully aware that they'll all be viewed as crazies while on their quest for the truth.
Heroic Sacrifice: Karen. She goes back into her coma at the end, so that her friends may have a second chance at life and the world will be restored to normal. Although Richard tries to stop her, she makes it clear that she's always known this will have to happen, and there is no way out.
I Will Wait for You: Richard continues to visit Karen for seventeen years after she goes into a coma, never once even considering breaking off the relationship.
Jerk Jock: subverted with Jared. While at first glance he may appear to be a womanising jock - which he admits himself - he's actually the wisest character in the novel, thanks to the years of insight he gained after death, and ultimately the one who saves Richard and his friends, with Karen's help. He's also not that jerkish - he shows Linus what Heaven looks like, stops Wendy feeling lonely, detoxes Pam and Hamilton, gives Jane eyesight and cures her mental disabilities, and restores Karen's legs.
Posthumous Narration: most of the book is from Jared's viewpoint, as he's the one who oversees events and acts a sort of guardian angel to the characters (and tells them about their Plan B). Richard narrates the first part since, according to Jared, he's 'the best talker'.
She Knows Too Much: Karen believes this was why she went into her coma in the first place - she caught a glimpse of the future, and it wasn't pleasant.
Shout-Out: spot the numerous Smiths song titles scattered throughout the book. 'Oscillate Wildly', 'Every Day Is Like Sunday' and 'The Queen Is Dead', to name but three.
Asperger's Syndrome: Rachel. Or high-functioning autism, anyway. She's very forthright, has trouble recognising patterns and faces, has to attend social skills classes, and takes an obsessive interest in breeding white mice.
Call Back: a large amount of dialogue is lifted from Coupland's other works. For example, the fundamentalist's speech in the bar is an almost word-for-word replica of Jared's last speech in Girlfriend in a Coma.
Granola Girl: Daisy, Tyler's little sister, and Jasmine, Tyler's ageing hippy mother, who used to live on a commune in California before splitting up with his father. Both are environmentalists: Jasmine disapproves of Tyler's shallowness and desire to work for Bechtol, while Daisy spends her honeymoon protesting against logging and gets a job cleaning up toxic waste.
Hippie Parents: presumably the reason why Tyler is obsessed with technology and hair products; he was born in a commune on an island and spent the first few years of his life surrounded by forest and acid casulaties, although his mother took him and his siblings to live in a more ordinary house after splitting up with Neil. his father. When Tyler later visits Neil, he discovers that Neil has fathered several children with two different women. There is no electricity in the house, and the kids are freaked out by the sight of Tyler's car. Tyler and Stephanie can't get back to the modern world fast enough.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Tyler. OK, he's shallow, materialistic and cheats on his girlfriend, but he's genuinely sorry for what he's done to her, and he cares a lot about his mother and siblings.