The Bug by Ellen Ullman

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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 human beings who created it.


About Ellen Ullman

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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.  
Published February 28, 2012 by Picador. 384 pages
Genres: Computers & Technology, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Ullman, who relies on dramatic irony to advance her plot, overplays it during the crawling conclusion, and her misguided generosity extends also to arcane descriptions, with a penchant for technobabble—akin to Updike’s similarly flawed Roger’s Version—that detracts from an otherwise fine novel: a...

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Publishers Weekly

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Essayist, memoirist (Close to the Machine) and computer industry pioneer Ullman has now produced an illuminating novel about the fate of a programmer, Ethan Levin, who wrestles with an ineradicable bug in the heroic era of computing.

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