Reviews > Published on March 4th, 2015

Bookshots: 'The Age of Earthquakes' by Shumon Basar, Douglas Coupland and Hans Ulrich Obrist

Bookshots: Pumping new life into the corpse of the book review


The Age of Earthquakes

Who Wrote It?

An artist you might be familiar with and two you might not:

Shumon Basar — author of Do You Often Confuse Love with Success and with Fame?

Douglas Coupland — author of Generation X (and A), near-futurist, Canadian.

Hans Ulrich Obrist — a "pre-eminent art curator, critic and historian, and the author of Ai Wei Wei Speaks."

The internet is simultaneously turning us into gods and destroying our planet.

Plot in a Box:



The internet is simultaneously turning us into gods and destroying our planet.

Invent a new title for this book:

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fucks

Read this if you liked:

The neo-logisms of Coupland's Generation X, his non-fiction work in Polaroids from the Dead and Shopping in Jail, his art and sculpture, the art of the other two authors, the internet before it was cool.

Meet the book's lead(s):

Earth — Old and getting older, and, like your grandma, not really able to keep up with...

The Internet — a double-edged sword of communication, education, and convenience.

Said lead(s) would be portrayed in a movie by:

Earth would be portrayed by the denizens of Youtube, accompanied by the Internet as him/herself.

Setting: Would you want to live there?

Like it or not, we already do. MIND. BLOWN.

What was your favorite sentence?

We haven't just changed the structure of our brains these past few years. We've changed the structure of our planet.

The Verdict:

Okay, so this obviously isn't a work of fiction, for a number of reasons:

A - There is no narrative. (Unless you count the non-linear narrative of the end of the world by digitization.)

B - Everything in this book is true. ( Not "true" in the sense that these are things that actually happened, but "true" as in the presentation of a genuine, illuminating sentiment. An idea we know "to be."

C - It is full of giant text and silly pictures.

The Age of Earthquakes is like the internet in book form. A Tumblr made of paper. Lots of interesting tidbits, philosophical musings presented as fact. No, there is no nudity. Yes, there are pictures of cats. Coupland is up to his new-old tricks, and this time he's brought some friends. It's hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. That's a good thing. The internet is amazeballs, but at what cost? The bulk of activity is the creation and moving of information. The carbon that fuels our electronic life is melting the ice caps. Could it be possible that the internet is responsible for hurricanes and earthquakes, not gays and abortion like we've been led to believe? Are we the last generation that will die? SMH. Colon, hyphen, backslash.

About the author

Joshua Chaplinsky is the Managing Editor of LitReactor. He is the author of The Paradox Twins (CLASH Books), the story collection Whispers in the Ear of A Dreaming Ape, and the parody Kanye West—Reanimator. His short fiction has been published by Vice, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Thuglit, Severed Press, Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, Broken River Books, and more. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @jaceycockrobin. More info at and

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