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Literature / jPod

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JPod is a 2006 novel by Douglas Coupland.

It revolves around an eccentric group of computer programmers at the fictional Neotronic Arts company, who are brought together by a computer glitch that forms a cubicle pod out of all the employees whose surnames begin with J.

It was adapted into a TV series of the same name in 2008.

This novel contains examples of:

  • 20% More Awesome:
    Ethan: I've come to the conclusion that documents are thirty-four percent more boring when presented in the Courier font.
  • all lowercase letters: A number of characters from a lesbian commune spell their names in lower case, because they see upper case as "privileging" certain letters over others.
  • Author Avatar / Self-Deprecation:
    • The characters start out out the book by lamenting that they're turning into characters in a Douglas Coupland novel, and they're not happy about it:
      "Oh God. I feel like a refugee from a Douglas Coupland novel."
      "That asshole."
      "Who does he think he is?"
    • Coupland himself appears as a recurring (and increasingly Jerkass, at least to Ethan) character.
    • By the end of the book, Coupland has co-opted Ethan's co-workers and even his parents, and all of jPod has quit Neotronic Arts to work for him. Ethan is allowed to join in only after he hands over his laptop, so Coupland can base his next novel on its contents.
      Coupland: Because my contract says I have to write a book, and it's easier just to steal your life than to make something up.
  • Butch Lesbian: John Doe was raised on a commune of radical-leftist-hippy-butch-lesbians.
  • Fictional Counterpart: The company that the main characters work for is modeled on Electronic Arts.
  • Filler: The reproduction of the number games jPod members played could be seen as this. For example, 14 pages of the book are devoted to listing the prime numbers between 10,000 and 100,000 (with one non-prime number included), and 20 pages are devoted to the first 100,000 digits of pi (with one incorrect number).
  • Hippie Name: One of the characters was born and raised in a hippie commune, and his birth name is "crow well mountain juniper" (all lower case, because the commune felt that capital letters discriminated against lower case letters). As an adult, he changed his name to "John Doe" as part of his efforts to distance himself from his upbringing.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: John Doe was born crow well mountain juniper (all in lower case, because no letter is more important than any other letter) and raised in a militant lesbian commune. He tries to counter his upbringing by attempting to become as statistically normal as possible.
  • Mouthful of Pi: Bree did a grade-school report on pi and wound up becoming obsessed with it.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Ethan whenever he helps out his parents.
  • No Sense of Humor: Kam Fong is incapable of understanding humour due to being mildly autistic.
  • Obsessively Normal: John Doe goes out of his way to be the most statistically average person in the world. Unlike some other examples, he doesn't care how other people live their lives as long as he himself is normal. This is because he was born crow river mountain juniper and raised on a lesbian commune; he is desperate to escape his incredibly unusual childhood.
  • Possession Presumes Guilt: Discussed. At one point, Ethan comes across a group of coworkers gathered around a giant knife on a table which had been used to cut an employee's birthday cake. When he asks what they're doing, they tell him that they're proving that there's no way anyone can hold and carry that knife without looking like a psycho.
  • Ridiculously Average Guy: John Doe, who grew up in a lesbian commune in British Columbia. To compensate for his insane upbringing, he has dedicated his life to making himself as statistically average as possible up to and including his favorite snack foods.
  • Shout-Out: Too many to list, given that the entire book is dedicated to going off on various and random tangents of pop culture, but one notable one is that Kam Fong has the same name as an actor on the original Hawaii Five-O.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Coupland's 1995 book Microserfs.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: When Steve takes over as head of marketing, he promptly attempts to get a cute turtle inserted into the skateboarding game they're designing. He's later vanished by the Chinese mafia, and replaced by Alastair, who turns the game into an edutainment title about a prince and a flying carpet. He frustrates the characters so much that they find and rescue Steve.