Bit Rot

Publisher: Vintage Canada
Bit Rot, a new collection from Douglas Coupland that explores the different ways 20th-century notions of the future are being shredded, is a gem of the digital age. Reading Bit Rot feels a lot like bingeing on Netflix... you can't stop with just one.


"Bit rot" is a term used in digital archiving to describe the way digital files can spontaneously and quickly decompose. As Coupland writes, "Bit rot also describes the way my brain has been feeling since 2000, as I shed older and weaker neurons and connections and enhance new and unexpected ones."
     Bit Rot the book explores the ways humanity tries to make sense of our shifting consciousness. Coupland, just like the Internet, mixes forms to achieve his ends. Short fiction is interspersed with essays on all aspects of modern life. The result is addictively satisfying for Coupland's legion of fans hungry for his observations about our world. For almost three decades, his unique pattern recognition has powered his fiction, and his phrase-making. Every page of Bit Rot is full of wit, surprise and delight.


From the Hardcover edition.

PRAISE FOR

Bit Rot offers priceless insights. . . . Few people are better [than Coupland] at explaining the ramifications of the digital era.” —BBC Culture

“An eclectic and thought-provoking collection of ephemera from Coupland. . . . This substantial collection of more than sixty-five stories and essays reveals the breadth and depth of Coupland’s writing. . . . A surprisingly personal meander around the mind of Generation X’s elder statesman.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Coupland’s collection is—like much of his work—a unique appraisal of modern culture, addressing technology, religion, death, violence, love and the environment. . . . The book’s nonlinearity is liberating. Jumping between philosophical musings on memory and comedic anecdotes about visiting the mall, Bit Rot sits somewhere between a string of TED talks and a three-hour binge of “recommended for you” Netflix choices. . . . Coupland’s fascination with recalling life before the digital age is telling. If, indeed, it is possible to distill the writer’s eclectic collection, woven throughout the book is one main theme: the precarious dichotomy between the organic and the technological. . . . Despite exploring the delights and perils of technology in thoughtful and witty detail, however, Coupland offers no value judgments about our increasingly automated world. A humorist and observer, he takes the temperature of the present instead of trying to change it.” —The Georgia Straight

“Highlights of the collection include ‘Grexit,’ which explores not only the collapse of the Greek economy, but also utopias . . . the incipient disappearance of the middle class on a global scale, and the notion of leisure. . . . While societal shifts are one of the main concerns of the collection, some of the stronger pieces in Bit Rot are defiantly personal. ‘Coffee & Cigarettes’ is a delightful, fragmentary account of compulsion from a writer who quit smoking more than twenty years ago . . . while ‘Notes on Relationships in the Twenty-First Century’ is . . . just as unsettling and vaguely disheartening as one might imagine. . . . Other pieces . . . create a dizzying moment of dislocation: as you start reading a piece, you are unsure whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, whether it can be ‘trusted’ or not. It’s an unsettling moment, a recurring and unavoidable dialectic over the nature of authority and ‘authority,’ the sort of intellectual jamming in which Coupland excels. . . . [O]ne of our most valuable social commentators . . . whose voice is undiminished after more than a quarter century in the cultural spotlight . . . [as well as] a writer, thinker and artist utterly perfect of and for his time.” National Post

“Fans of Coupland’s cheeky, time-mashing, brand-conscious prose will find this book a rollicking read with just enough doses of the surreal.” Quill and Quire

“His approach to the world has always been one that inspired thoughtful engagement with ideas. In this way, Bit Rot highlights something we see very rarely in our culture, the act of creatively questioning. . . . Overall, Douglas Coupland’s new book Bit Rot brings fans the best of all the Coupland worlds.” —Geek Dad (blog)


PRAISE FOR DOUGLAS COUPLAND:

“Author and artist Douglas Coupland is pretty much the man—if you haven’t read any of his books, well, just consider them plugged.” —Techly

“He’s still iconic, twenty-five years after making his name.” —Torontoist

“Coupland is one of the country’s most prominent, prolific and popular artists.” —The Province

“Douglas Coupland is the closest thing we have to a Renaissance man. . . . His writing has inspired legions of devoted fans, all of them looking to him to interpret their relationship to technology, religion, the environment, love, death, work, play, violence, and popular culture.” —The Georgia Straight

“There are few authors who could be called the voice of a generation, but the tag fits Douglas Coupland—not only because he literally wrote the book Generation X, but for the way his prose oozes the irony and dark humor that define his peer group.” —Salon

“Douglas Coupland is Canada’s official Cool Guy. . . . He simply, humbly, writes, sculpts, designs and collates from his base in Vancouver, telling us about our country and about the world as it’s currently lived in. He works hard and produces material constantly. It’s a fortunate thing that one of our culture’s closest and most versatile observers is also one of its exemplars.” —Metro News  

"All . . . of his novels have glittered with his inexhaustible, magpie’s eye for the shiny, banal ephemera of modern life—much of it overshadowed by the prospect of impending global doom. His books feel tailor-made for the grunge generation: full of bored, overstimulated anomie, yet sparkling with endlessly chatty, deliciously readable observation.” —The Sunday Times

“Unremittingly famous for defining a generation, Douglas Coupland is, himself, a creative whirl.” —The New York Times