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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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Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
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 |
My first experience with cyberpunk is probably the 80’s TV show Max Headroom, and a few years later, the Japanese movie Akira. I know I’m supposed to mention [book:Neuromancer|22328] here, but I never read it, so sue me. When I first discovered these stories, I was fascinated by the prospect of a semichaotic high-speed digital future where power, status and wealth were all a function of one’s dexterity with technology and information. I guess my invulnerable 20 year old self identified with the heroes, and imagined that I too (an engineering student) was a master of data and technology. That turned out to be far from true, but cyberpunk was an accessible sort of science fiction to me… far off, but not so far off as stuff like Star Trek, and exciting because it seemed plausible that I might actually live to see a sort of cyberpunk future one day.

And so I have.

But now the idea of nonstop breakneck change- a simultaneously insane yet controlled world highly attuned to the flow and analysis of information, where technology so pervades our habits and substance that it is never clear whether all the gadgetry around us is liberating or confining- all makes me feel very tired, and very sad. I wonder why it didn’t before.

Eastern Standard Tribe is set in 2022 and could defensibly be called a cyberpunk story, but just barely. Arthur Berry is a freelance User Interface engineer (or some such term, I may be slightly off). He develops applications for existing products, and dreams up ways to make technology more friendly and practical… an anti-cyberpunk protagonist in a cyberpunk world. One of his ideas becomes a business proposal which drives the plot, but that’s really the extent of technology’s role in this book.

And I love that.

The book is really more preoccupied with this idea of tribes… social organizations members freely gravitate to, based on common interests, rather than proximity. It is all about the disappearance of geography in the telecommunications era, which makes it perhaps the most perfect book to read and write about on GoodReads. Well, we are a tribe, aren’t we? A big one, to be sure, with internecine squabbles, and a few oddbird members we’d maybe prefer not to meet in real life… but at the end of it all, GR is very much my tribe, the same way the Eastern Standard Time (Zone) is for Arthur Berry. This book wasn’t my first introduction to the ideas that society seems to be reorganizing into mini interest-based communities. I think that’s one of the big themes of Infinite Jest, and I dwell on this quite a bit in my review of that book. A Clockwork Orange, or all the ponderous dissection of what the proper role is between the individual and society in The Unincorporated Man. Add to the mix a few interesting supporting characters, some corporate intrigue, a little seduction, and pretty soon you have a fully-fleshed out story which just happens to have a sci-fi setting. This, to me, is the best kind of science fiction. ( )
  BirdBrian | Apr 3, 2013 |
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:59:51 -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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