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Coupland, Douglas

vancouver conscious canadian coma

(Canadian, 1961– )

Born on a Canadian Nato base in Germany, Coupland grew up and lives in Vancouver. He has been described an ‘anatomist of the sound-bite era, a taxonomist of moods, icons, jargons and styles’, being the most style-conscious chronicler of the 1990s. Polaroids from the Dead (1996) offers a huddle of snapshots, literary and literal (black-and-white reproductions), exploring life in the early 1990s, showing it as a period when the shadow of the approaching millennium made everyone acutely time-conscious and immediately nostalgic, even towards the very recent past. Girlfriend in a Coma (1998) opens with a 17-year-old girl losing her virginity on a ski-slope near Vancouver and falling into a twenty-year coma an hour later. Her eventual awakening is shortly followed by an apocalyptic epidemic of fatal sleepiness to which only Karen is immune. Though its mystical elements are ambiguous (particularly the narration of part-angel, part-incubus Jared), its metaphoric diagnosis for cultural fatigue is unequivocal.

William Gibson, Jeff Noon  RP

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