JPod is the story of six lowly employees (programmers, artists, and probably also other things I don't remember) at a video game developing company in Vancouver, BC. It's EA, really, I mean come on. Our protagonist is Ethan, a programmer, and we focus on him and the whackadoo events of his life. That's really all you need to know. No complex plot or characters, here. Just some solid day-in-the-life comedy.
I liked JPod. I liked the randomness of it. We'd go from the politics between marketers and developers during game-making, to thoughts on autism and technology, to crack mcdrugscenes, to PAGES and pages of coding or spam samples or the first 100,000 digits of pi. These things are a bit. Coupland is riffing, and I like it.
What I didn't like was Coupland. Relatively early in the novel, he inserts himself as a character. These scenes are full of self-deprecating humour (administrated by Ethan) in which Character Coupland is a pompous douche canoe, and yes, I get that it's a joke, but oh man if I didn't find those scenes spectacularly annoying. It's like that thing that people say, how a joke is 90% truth (I don't agree with this all the time but it works for my point here so just go with me dudes). Character Coupland is so self involved that of course he would make himself a character, making sure the readers remember him. But of course that is the function that is actually performed. Those scenes were just pages of I wrote this! I'm the AUTHOR! But I'm also a CHARACTER! Aren't I meta and hilarious?
But I've talked to other people who've read JPod, and Character Coupland doesn't bother all of them. And even if it does sound like something that would bother you, if you like absurd, day-in-the-life comedy, JPod is entirely worth a read. If only to check that yes, there really are 41 pages of pi.