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Generation A is set in the near future in a world where bees are extinct, until five unconnected people from around the world -- in the United States, Canada, France, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka -- are all stung. Their shared experience unites them in ways they never could have imagined.
Generation A mirrors Coupland's debut novel, 1991's Generation X. It explores new ways of storytelling in a digital world. Like much of Coupland'swriting, it occupies the perplexing hinterland between optimism about the future and everyday apocalyptic paranoia. Imaginative, inventive, and fantastically entertaining, Generation A is his most ambitious work to date.
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Douglas Coupland is Canadian, born on a Canadian Air Force base near Baden-Baden, Germany, in 1961. In 1965 his family moved to Vancouver, Canada, where he continues to live and work. Coupland has studied art and design in Vancouver, Canada, Milan, Italy and Sapporo, Japan. His first novel, Generation X, was published in March of 1991. Since then he has published eleven novels and several non-fiction books in 35 languages and most countries on earth. He has written and performed for the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford, England, and in 2001 resumed his practice as a visual artist, with exhibitions in spaces in North America, Europe, and Asia. 2006 marks the premiere of the feature film Everything's Gone Green, his first story written specifically for the screen and not adapted from any previous work. A TV series (13 one-hour episodes) based on his novel, "jPod" premiered on the CBC in January, 2008.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
TRINCOMALEE, SRI LANKA
How can we be alive and not wonder about the stories we use to knit together this place we call the world? Without stories, our universe is merely rocks and clouds and lava and blackness. It's a village scraped raw by warm waters leaving not a trace of what existed before.
Imagine a tropical sky, ten miles high and a thousand years off on the horizon. Imagine air that feels like honey on your forehead; imagine air that comes out of your lungs cooler than when it entered.
Imagine hearing a dry hiss outside your office building's window. Imagine walking to the window's louvered shutters and looking out and seeing the entire contents of the world you know flow past you in a surprisingly soothing, quiet sluice of gray mud: palm fronds, donkeys, the local Fanta bottler's Jeep, unlocked bicycles, dead dogs, beer crates, shrimper's skiffs, barbed wire fences, garbage, ginger flowers, oil sheds, Mercedes tour buses, chicken delivery vans.
...a tennis net
...more dead dogs
Imagine a space alien is standing with you there in the room as you read these words. What do you say to him? Her? It? What was once alive is now dead. Would aliens even know the difference between life and death? Perhaps aliens experience something else just as unexpected as life. And what would that be? What would they say to themselves to plaster over the unexplainable cracks of everyday existence, let alone a tsunami? What myths or lies do they hold true? How do they tell stories?
Now look back out your window -- look at what the gods have barfed out of your subconscious and into the world -- the warm, muddy river of dead cats, old women cauled in moist saris, aluminum propane canisters, a dead goat, flies that buzz unharmed just above the fray.
...clumps of grass
...a sunburnt Scandinavian pederast
...white plastic stacking chairs
...drowned soldiers tangled in gun straps
And then what do you do -- do you pray? What is prayer but a wish for the events in your life to string together to form a story -- something that makes some sense of events you know have meaning.
And so I pray.
Copyright © 2009 by Douglas Coupland
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