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Eastern Standard Tribe by Cory Doctorow

Eastern Standard Tribe (edition 2005)

by Cory Doctorow

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Title:Eastern Standard Tribe
Authors:Cory Doctorow
Info:Tor Books (2005), Edition: First Printing Thus, Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:Your library

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Eastern Standard Tribe by Cory Doctorow


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ABR's full Eastern Standard Tribe audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

This quirky novel is based in the near future. You’ll recognize much of the tech, some a stretch from what we have now, some just around the corner, and others, just cool stuff invented by the author. The effect is a somewhat surreal futuristic world that you can almost relate to; just a bit removed from what we know now, like a very realistic dream.

The term “Eastern Standard Tribe” refers to a loose knit group who operate on the Eastern Time Zone of the United States. It is a group or tribe of likeminded people who are digital friends. Most have never met each other but have so much loyalty they help when one of their members get in trouble. Think of it as Facebook friends who are actual friends. It is an interesting concept that anyone on the Internet can relate to.

Throughout most of the book, you the listener are not really sure what the main character does for a living, why he has so much time to screw around, or what his extremely strange friends do either. All of it comes clear and is well worth the effort. You are also not quite sure if the main character is completely sane or if all this is some kind of psychotic episode. Again, stick with it, it’s well worth it.

It is a fun, 20 something book with a SciFi twist, a kind of “Generation X” in the 21st Century. The characters are well developed and likable (even the ones you hate). There is an especially funny scene where the main character and his girlfriend are being mugged in London. He manages to talk them out of it with his keen wit only to end up being interrogated by the bumbling police for half the night.

Narration is by P.J. Ochlan, who does an excellent job. He holds the right sense of irreverence throughout the story and the accents are well done.

Eastern Standard Tribe will not be for everyone. It is quirky and strange, sometimes breaking the forth wall by speaking directly to the listener, even revealing the structure and mechanics of the plot. It doesn’t take itself seriously and is a good ride. Listen with that in mind and you will enjoy the book quite a lot.

Audiobook provided for review by the publisher. ( )
  audiobibliophile | May 13, 2015 |
science fiction at the edge. felt like a ripping tale built-in with near-future slang and technospeak that we can understand if we just tilt our heads just so and put our tongues in the corners of our mouths.

the glimpse of the society shown here works well as the backdrop but also entangled within the fabric of the prose itself. that is, it feels real. Doctorow does not spoon feed us. there are some details from his future that i just do not grok but that doesn’t make it any less compelling.

really, this book is about the virtual tribalism that is happening right now all around us and how it has the potential to grow into and beyond Masonic proportions through the power of digital and wifi connectivity.

the book works on the level of a piece of art, too, with the interspersion of screenshots of chat banter with the text and plot.

i will say that the ending and what exactly happened there is a bit foggy but i think i understand it well enough to still have enjoyed this character-driven story. a nice slice of a very possible very near future that is already happening. ( )
  keebrook | Mar 10, 2015 |
Eastern Standard Tribe
Author: Cory Doctorow
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Published In:
Date: 2005
Pgs: 224


People who sleep when you do aren’t like you. The people who are awake when you are awake are your tribe. The world is splintering into Tribes based on time zone barriers. Dark happenings are afoot. Can an interface designer working on sabotaging the Massachusetts Data Turnpike find happiness or is he just insane? Does he belong in a Boston insane asylum or should he be dead. Corporate tribal time zone cyber warfare. The future is now.

Science fiction

Why this book:
I’ve seen and heard things about Doctorow for many years.


Least Favorite Character:
Paranoid Fede. Though just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean that there isn’t someone who is out to get you.

I’m not really in love with Art or Linda either.

Character I Most Identified With:
I would like to identify with Art. I want to. But I just can’t.

The Feel:
There’s an odd feel to the story. Not fluff, but maybe plastic. Like the world that this takes place in is both real and unreal. This may be a function of my not fully grasping the whole Tribe concept as it is presented here. Or maybe I’ve got it right and that is the way I’m supposed to feel about the world that Art is living in.

Well crap. The story took a turn into “Cuckoo’s Nest” and I’m not a fan of “Cuckoo’s Nest”. I know...I know blasphemy. Cuckoo’s Nest and courtyard drama are real no-go areas for me.

Favorite Scene:
The trapped on the roof, brick to the car in the parking lot explosion is awesome.

The flow is good.

Hmm Moments:
Choosing smarts over happiness...oh goodness...how many of our psyche’s did Doctorow just hit either where we currently live or in a house that we used to know. Damn.

Coffium, a caffeine product that stays hot...because it’s made with heavy water and is radioactive.

The Massachusetts Turnpike drivers napster tastemasters.

The escape from the bin with a Doctor in tow and with a lawyer and a priest at his side is pretty cool.


Last Page Sound:

Author Assessment:
I’m not sure about this story yet. But Doctorow’s work is awesome.

Knee Jerk Reaction:
it’s alright

Disposition of Book:
e-Book ( )
  texascheeseman | Sep 23, 2014 |
It takes a while to pick up, this story, as compared to [b:Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom|29587|Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom|Cory Doctorow|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1168033624s/29587.jpg|1413], but once you get to the actual plot it's pretty entertaining.

( )
  cendri | May 30, 2014 |
Eh, it was a Cory Doctorow novel, so it was great fun, but the main character was one of those geekier-than-thou douchebags so I enjoyed it a lot less than I could have. ( )
  jen.e.moore | Mar 12, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Cory Doctorowprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Eshkar, ShelleyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I once had a Tai Chin instructor who explained the difference between Chinese and Western medicine thus: "Western medicine is based on corpses, things that you discover by cutting up dead bodies and pulling them apart. Chinese medicine is based on living flesh, things observed from vital, moving humans."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0765310457, Paperback)

Cory Doctorow’s Eastern Standard Tribe is a soothsaying jaunt into the not-so-distant future, where 24/7 communication and chatroom alliances have evolved into tribal networks that secretly work against each other in shadowy online realms. The novel opens with its protagonist, the peevish Art Berry, on the roof of an asylum. He wonders if it's better to be smart or happy. His crucible is a pencil up the nose for a possible "homebrew lobotomy." To explain Art's predicament, Doctorow flashes backward and slowly fills in the blanks. As a member of the Eastern Standard Tribe, Art is one of many in the now truly global village who have banded together out of like-minded affinity for a particular time zone and its circadian cycles. Art may have grown up in Toronto but his real homeland is an online grouping that prefers bagels and hot dogs to the fish and chips of their rivals who live on Greenwich Mean Time. As he rises through the ranks of the tribe, he is sent abroad to sabotage the traffic patterns and communication networks in the GMT tribe. Along the way, he comes across a humdinger of an idea that will solve a music piracy problem on the highways of his own beloved timezone, raise his status in the tribe and make him rich. If only he could have trusted his tightly wound girlfriend and fellow tribal saboteur, he probably wouldn't be on the booby hatch roof with that pencil up his nose.

As a musing on the future, Doctorow's extrapolation seems entirely plausible. And, not only is EST a fascinating mental leap it's a witty and savvy tale that will appeal to anyone who's lived another life, however briefly, online. --Jeremy Pugh

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:02 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"Art is an up-and-coming interface designer, working on the management of data flow along the Massachusetts Turnpike. He's doing the best work of his career and can guarantee that the system will be, without question, the most counterintuitive, user-hostile piece of software ever pushed forth into the world." "Why? Because Art is an industrial saboteur. He may live in London and work for an EU telecommunications megacorp, but Art's real home is the Eastern Standard Tribe." "The comm-instant wireless communication - puts everyone in touch with everyone else, twenty-four hours a day. But one thing hasn't changed: the need for sleep. The world is slowly splintering into Tribes held together by common time zones, less than families and more than nations. And Art is working to humiliate the Greenwich Mean Tribe to the benefit of his own people." "The world of next week is overflowing with ubiquitous computing, where an idea scribbled onto one's comm can revolutionize an industry. But in a world without boundaries, nothing can be taken for granted - not happiness, not money, and, most certainly, not love." "Which might explain why Art finds himself stranded on the roof of an insane asylum outside Boston, debating whether to push a pencil into his brain. Happiness or smarts? What's it going to be, Art?"--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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