Hey, Douglas – I want 20% of my purchase price back. And maybe you could spend the money on learning some new schtick. While what you wrote was occasionally good, when you actually wrote something. I get pissed off from having a character say something like:
Everyone listen up. I’ve just emailed you all the first hundred thousand digits of pi. Into this list I’ve inserted one incorrect digit. The first person to locate this rogue digit will win
followed by 20 pages of pi. It’s one thing for you to give the characters such tasks; it’s another for you to mandate that we also need to have flip through page after page, wondering when the narrative will start again. Not only that, but to have a similar challenge half a page later involving another 20 pages of digits. I calculate that about 20% of the book is taken up with stuff I had to flip through. When I buy a novel, I expect to read it, not turn pages disconsolately wondering if there’s any reason to continue.
That said, I think that you’ve drawn some interesting characters. I can see the truth of them in some people I work with. My colleagues are not as evil, and I think that the amorality of your creations is fun. What I find very annoying, however, is the insertion of you into the narrative. Is your ego that big? Do you need to see your name in print, and your character ascribed the personality of a genius businessman. The very first sentences that aren’t in a hard-to read typefaced forward are:
“Oh God. I feel like a refugee from a [tag]Douglas Coupland[/tag] novel”.
“Who does he think he is?”
If I was someone of a less generous disposition, I would have put the book down, then and there. I guess I’m just unlucky that I didn’t flip to that page or any of the other 80-odd before I paid my money. I could have spent it on something that doesn’t make me feel like I’m looking my brain cells.