Generation A, By Douglas Coupland

In a nod to his 1991 novel Generation X, Douglas Coupland's latest work is set in a near future where bees have become extinct and the population is addicted to Solon, a drug that minimises anxiety about the future and "mimics the solitude one feels when reading a good book."

The novel opens as five self-confessed loners are inexplicably stung by bees. Gathered together on an island to explore why they've been singled out, they tell each other stories that embrace "Couplandisms" about the evils of a world dominated by an ever-evolving communications technology and a careless regard for environmental health.

Clever and slick though Coupland's writing is, there's a relentless ironic inflection to his characters' voices that eventually grows wearisome and dull.

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