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Eastern Standard Tribe Paperback – March 10, 2005

3.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Artful and confident...Like William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, Doctorow has discovered that the present world is science fiction, if you look at it from the right angle.” ―Vancouver Sun

“Doctorow lives up to the promise of his first novel...This short novel's occasionally bitter, sometimes hilarious and always wackily appealing protagonist consistently skewers those evils of modern culture he holds most pernicious.” ―Publishers Weekly

“Bravura...Cory Doctorow writes fast and furiously, the words gushing out of him in a stream of metaphor and imagery that keeps you glued to his futurist tales. You're going to hear a lot more from this guy.” ―Toronto Now

“Immediately accessible...Doctorow maintains an unrelenting pace; many readers will find themselves finishing the novel, as I did, in a single sitting.” ―Toronto Star

“As in Down and Out, Doctorow shows here that he's got the modern world, in all its Googled, Friendstered and PDA-d glory, completely sussed.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“At its heart, Tribe is a witty, sometimes acerbic poke in the eye at modern culture. Everything comes under Doctorow's microscope, and he manages to be both up to date and off the cuff in the best possible way.” ―Locus

“Doctorow peppers his novel with technology so palpable you want to order it up on the web. You'll probably get the chance. But technology is not the point here. What is unexpected, shocking even, is how smart Doctorow is when it comes to the human heart, and how well he's able to articulate it....He seems smart because he makes the reader feel smart. When Doctorow talks, when Art argues, we just get it. There's nothing between the language and the meaning. The prose is funny, simple and straightforward. This is a no-BS book.” ―NPR

“Utterly contemporary and deeply peculiar--a hard combination to beat (or, these days, to find).” ―William Gibson, author of Neuromancer

“I know many science fiction writers engaged in the cyber-world, but Cory Doctorow is a native...We should all hope and trust that our culture has the guts and moxie to follow this guy. He's got a lot to tell us.” ―Bruce Sterling

“Cory Doctorow is just far enough ahead of the game to give you the authentic chill of the future...Funny as hell and sharp as steel.” ―Warren Ellis, author of Transmetropolitan

“Cory Doctorow knocks me out. In a good way.” ―Pat Cadigan, author of Synners

“Cory Doctorow is the most interesting new SF writer I've come across in years. He starts out at the point where older SF writers' speculations end.” ―Rudy Rucker, author of Spaceland

“Cory Doctorow doesn't just write about the future--I think he lives there” ―Kelly Link

“Bravura...Cory Doctorow writes fast and furiously, the words gushing out of him in a stream of metaphor and imagery that keeps you glued to his futurist tales.” ―Toronto Now on Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom

About the Author

Canadian-born Cory Doctorow is the author of the science fiction novels Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom; Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town; and Makers, as well as two short story collections. He is also the author of young adult novels including the New York Times bestselling Little Brother and For the Win. His novels and short stories have won him three Locus Awards and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. He is co-editor of the popular blog BoingBoing, and has been named one of the Web's twenty-five "influencers" by Forbes Magazine and a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; Reprint edition (April 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765310457
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765310453
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,709,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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Cory Doctorow is one of the great living sci-fi masters, a futurist, a humanist and a humorist.

This book is classic Doctorow. In it he foretells our addiction to smart phones, the rise of connection and the industrialization of the copyright regimes.

It's impossible to put down, and if you haven't read it yet, I'm truly jealous.
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Format: Paperback
Eastern Standard Tribe by Cory Doctorow was my selection for my local book club read this month. It had been sitting on my shelf for over a year and I was still curious. The premise is that that people are divided by time zones. They don't have to live in a particular time zone to identify with it. With an online world, it is easy to work and socialize/game with people anywhere. The main character Art Berry identifies with the Eastern Standard (EST) time zone even though he is currently working in England. This constant time zone shifting tends to play havoc with peoples states of mind.

While Art is in London working for one company, he is actually an agent for the EST and trying to undermine the company's success as well as the standing of other tribes. All seems to be progressing well until he is involved in an automobile accident. He hits a pedestrian, Linda, and they both end up in the same hospital room. From that point on, their paths cross and intersect as they build a personal relationship. This turns out to be a major complication in his line of business.

Our book club had a lively conversation of this book. The concept of aligning yourself with people from different time zones was a bit far fetched. Yes, we admit that it does happen for the purpose of work meeting with distant staff and for online game playing, but to live your whole life with a shifted internal clock, nope, we didn't buy it. Only exception I came up with was those scientists studying the Mars Rover who set their hours by Mars time.

How widespread are these tribes. We all got the impression that it was not a global phenomenon, rather small groups of dissatisfied people who had banded together. Outside of these groups, the general population hadn't heard of them.
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Format: Paperback
There is a book here that I would love, but this isn't it. Tribes are self-selecting, internet-founded communities whose activities transition into the real world; members modify their lives (and sleep schedules) to interact with the Tribe and the Tribe rewards them with everything a community can, from socialization to business opportunities. But Eastern Standard Tribe isn't about that: it's about disintegration on the fringes of a Tribe, immersed in the technology that's created Tribes but preoccupied by banal characters and petty interactions. The future tech sells itself, buzzword-heavy and transparently cyberpunk but still believable; the concept and glimpses of a functioning Tribe are captivating. This is a short text, propelled forward by an intriguing paired narrative, first person/present tense and third person/past tense both focused on the same character, but Doctorow's writing lacks refinement and begs an editor (one who would remove the excessive italics, demarcated in my ebook by asterisks). I regret the book this isn't--I'd love to read about the how and why of a Tribe, its members and social function--but there's potential here: Doctorow is clearly invested in his concepts of the future, and his writing has momentum and strong dialog. I'll try more from him at a later date, but don't particularly recommend Eastern Standard Tribe.
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Format: Paperback
This novel was a little disappointing, but the concepts and the framing of the story were terrific. The title of Eastern Standard Tribe hints at a cultural trend which I haven't seen, but surely is out there. People have always been drawn to affinity groups, based on common interests. The internet and social networks have enabled our social groups to become more and more specialized. So what if your specific interest group is centered in Hong Kong? Or Southern California? And you live in Texas? You can adjust your sleep schedule so that your waking hours line up with your group. The problem is the resulting sleep deprivation may effect your mental health; your circadian rhythms may never catch up. Such is the plight of Art. When his partner and girlfriend betray him and have him involuntarily committed to a mental hospital, he has a hard time proving he's not insane, since his sleep patterns have, in a way, driven him insane.

This theme of involuntary institutionalization struck a chord with me. It reminded me of the work of Thomas Szasz , who wrote The Myth of Mental Illnessand many other works, and Jeffrey Schaler, author of Addiction is a Choice. These two psychologists have written prolifically and profoundly against involuntary institutionalization. Art experiences the dilemma of involuntary institutionalization: there is no practical way to prove that one is not insane. While in the mental hospital, Art is kept drugged up and can't properly prove his sanity. Doctorow doesn't explicitly address this issue, per se, but the novel raises the question in an interesting way. The story starts with Art in the hospital, being driven crazy trying to prove that he's not crazy, then moves backwards to piece together how he got there.
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