The Bug

A Novel

Ellen Ullman

Picador

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With a New Introduction by Mary Gaitskill

A PEN/Hemingway Award Finalist

A New York Times Book Review Notable Book

Ellen Ullman is a "rarity, a computer programmer with a poet’s feeling for language" (Laura Miller, Salon). The Bug breaks new ground in literary fiction, offering us a deep look into the internal lives of people in the technical world. Set in a start-up company in 1984, this highly acclaimed first novel explores what happens when a baffling software flaw—a bug so teasing it is named "the Jester"—threatens the survival of the humans beings who created it.

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Book Excerpts

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THE BUG (Chapter 1)

A computer can execute millions of instructions in a second. The human brain, in comparison, is painfully slow. The memories of a single year, for instance, took me a full thirty seconds to recall. Which is a long time if you think about it. Imagine a second-hand sweep going tick by tick halfway around the face of a clock. Or the digital readout of light-emitting diodes, with their blink, blink—thirty blinks—as they count off time.

“Passport, please.â€

The immigration agent at the San Francisco airport

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Reviews

Praise for The Bug

"Brilliant…Perfect for our time." ---USA Today

"Thrilling and intellectually fearless…If more contemporary novels delivered news this relevant and wise they’d have to stop declaring the death of the novel." ---The New York Times Book Review

"Takes the techno-novel to a new level of literary excellence…This is magnetic fiction." ---San Francisco Chronicle

"A thrillerlike tale…No one writes more eloquently than Ullman about the peculiar mindset of the people who create the digital tools we use every day." ---Salon

"Ellen Ullman writes unsparingly of the vivid, compelling, emotionally driven souls who gave us our new machines. By turns love story, tense psychological drama, and comedy of (very bad) manners, The Bug is an edgy and irresistible journey into lives all too rarely visited by literary types." ---Geraldine Brooks, Pulitzer Prize--winning author of March


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About the Author

Ellen Ullman

Ellen Ullman is an American computer programmer and author. She has written novels as well as articles for various publications, including Harper's Magazine, Wired, The New York Times, and Salon. Her essays and novels analyze the human side of the world of computer programming. Ullman earned a bachelor’s degree  in English at Cornell University in the early 1970s. She then turned to business programming in the following years. She eventually began writing about her experiences as a programmer in 1995 when she wrote an essay titled "Out of Time: Reflections on the Programming Life." She lives in San Francisco.

 

Ellen Ullman

Marion Ettlinger
Ellen Ullman

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Available Formats and Book Details

The Bug
A Novel
Ellen Ullman

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Picador
February 2012
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9781250002495
ISBN10: 1250002494
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 384 pages
$16.00

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Picador
February 2012
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781250024572
ISBN10: 1250024579
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 384 pages
$9.99
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Picador

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