"Player One" by Douglas Coupland

In an airport cocktail lounge in Toronto are five people. Karen is a single mother waiting to meet her online date. Rick is the down-on-his-luck lounge bartender. Luke is a pastor on the run across the country. Rachel is a beautiful blonde who is truly incapable of understanding humans. The fifth is a mysterious voice, known only as Player One.

As the five go about their lives in the airport lounge, a global disaster strikes. To survive, they barricade themselves in the lounge while outside there are snipers, chemical explosions and anarchy. The world as they know it is about to come to an end.

Player One: What Is To Become of Us is a novel set over five hours, in five different voices during one major catastrophe. This novel is a part of the CBC Massey Lectures, in which a noted scholar gives a week-long series of lectures from within their field. For 2010 Douglas Coupland was the scholar and he wrote his lectures in the form of this five hour novel.

Player One is a unique way of looking at our modern crises. In this airport cocktail lounge during a global catastrophe we are forced to examine our role as a species and all that it entails - time, religion, identity, the economy, the afterlife. We question our existence and our surroundings as well as where we have come from and most importantly where we are going.

The characters themselves aren't relatable. The book isn't so much about the catastrophe, what has happened or how they will survive. And quite frankly, it's depressing. But that's the point. This book will have you looking at your life, looking at humans collectively and wondering "what is to become of us?"

The passage from the book that jumped out at me and is still burning in my mind days later is this - "Fiction and reality have married. What we have made now exceeds what are."

This book is quirky, haunting, and thought-provoking. There are widely differing opinions of this book out there, and I am one of those people who enjoyed it. It doesn't really read as a novel though so it's not a story in the way one would expect, but it is a quick read that will get your mind going.


  1. I'm up for a thought-provoking read. It's on my list.

  2. Me too - just as soon as I've got round to reading Generation A!


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