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Eastern Standard Tribe
     

Eastern Standard Tribe

3.8 12
by Cory Doctorow
 

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A comedy of loyalty, betrayal, sex, madness, and music-swapping
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 a question, the most counterintuitive, user-hostile piece of software ever pushed forth onto

Overview

A comedy of loyalty, betrayal, sex, madness, and music-swapping
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 a question, the most counterintuitive, user-hostile piece of software ever pushed forth onto 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.

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 a common time zone, less than family and more than nations. Art is working to humiliate the Greenwich Mean Tribe to the benefit of his own people. 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....

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“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

bn.com
The Barnes & Noble Review
Eastern Standard Tribe, Cory Doctorow's second novel, can be best described as a story about a genius suspected of being insane, written by a genius suspected of being insane -- a brilliant blend of Ken Kesey's One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest and Neal Stephenson's cyberpunk classic Snow Crash.

Art Berry is an agent provocateur in the Eastern Standard Tribe (a secret society bound together by similar sleep schedules) working undercover as a management consultant in England and trying to mire the Greenwich Mean Time tribalists in consumer-unfriendly bureaucracy. Everything is going as planned for Art until he accidentally hits a pedestrian while driving in London. The jaywalker turns out to be a brash American woman from Los Angeles named Linda. After both are treated for minor injuries, they begin an unlikely romance. But when Art comes up with a potential billion-dollar idea that could mean huge gains for the Eastern Standard Tribe, Linda and one of Art's coworkers steal the idea, institutionalize him under false pretenses, and sell the design to the highest bidder. Stuck in a sanitarium for "observation," Art ponders the age-old question: Would he rather be smart or happy?

Like Doctorow's debut novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, Eastern Standard Tribe is pure literary genius: an irreverent, disturbing, and uproarious glimpse into the future of the global society. Dedicated tribalists can experience more of Doctorow's twisted wit in A Place So Foreign and Eight More, a collection of his best short stories. Paul Goat Allen

Publishers Weekly
John W. Campbell Award-winner Doctorow lives up to the promise of his first novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom (2003), with this near-future, far-out blast against human duplicity and smothering bureaucracy. Even though it takes a while for the reader to grasp postcyberpunk Art Berry's dizzying leaps between his "now," a scathing 2012 urban nuthouse, and his "then," the slightly earlier events that got him incarcerated there, this short novel's occasionally bitter, sometimes hilarious and always whackily appealing protagonist consistently skewers those evils of modern culture he holds most pernicious. A born-to-argue misfit like all kids who live online, Art has found peers in cyber space who share his unpopular views specifically his preference for living on Eastern Standard Time no matter where he happens to live and work. In this unsettling world, e-mails filled with arcane in-jokes bind competitive "tribes" that choose to function in one arbitrary time or another. Swinging from intense highs (his innovative marketing scheme promises to impress his tribe and make him rich) to maudlin lows (isolation in a scarily credible loony bin), Art gradually learns that his girl, Linda, and his friend Fede are up to no good. In the first chapter, Doctorow's authorial voice calls this book a work of propaganda, a morality play about the fearful choice everybody makes sooner or later between smarts and happiness. He may be more right than we'd like to think. (Mar. 9) Forecast: A blurb from William Gibson, plus Doctorow's position as co-editor of the Web log "Boing Boing" at www.boingboing.net, will help fuel the word of mouth. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
As a member of the Eastern Standard Tribe, Art Berry keeps in touch with others who live by the same timetable, regardless of their physical location. When his best friend and lover conspire to steal his business ideas, he finds himself committed to a mental institution with only his belief in himself and his "tribe" to rely upon for rescue. Doctorow's easy-going storytelling belies the rapid-fire pacing of his tale of one man caught in a nightmare of time zones and technology. Combining near-future suspense with magical realism, the author of Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom crafts a surrealistic parable of progress gone wrong that belongs in most sf collections. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Art is a secret agent, but not in the typical meaning of that phrase. He doesn't represent a government, a military, or even a shadowy corporation. Instead, he works for the best interests of the Eastern Standard Tribe, a band of like-minded individuals who share similar tastes and beliefs and have, in the tech-friendly near-future world of this yarn from Doctorow (Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, Feb. 2003), synced their lives together by matching their circadian rhythms. After all, what good is having all those people in one's Tribe, sharing a certain East Coast kind of bonhomie, if you can't all do it when everybody is awake and semisentient? In any case, the year is 2012, and Art is undercover for his Tribe in London, starting up a romance with high-maintenance West Coaster Linda (whom he met by hitting her with his car) and working on a deal involving car radios and music downloading that sounds like a cross between iTunes, Napster, and Sirius satellite radio. The details are a bit fuzzy, since, as Doctorow assures us early on, "In order to preserve the narrative integrity, Art (‘not his real name') may take some liberties with the truth." And, by the way, Art is also an unwilling resident of a psychiatric ward at a time that may or may not be simultaneous with the goings-on in London. The members of his therapy group don't seem very interested in his theories on why Tribes developed (a fascinating little Malcolm Gladwell-esque essay in itself) and don't really seem to believe that they exist at all. 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. Sadly, it's another thing to translate thisinto gripping fiction, which this particular effort is not. A near-future yarn that would have worked better as a piece of speculative nonfiction. Agent: Don Maass

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780765310453
Publisher:
Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
04/01/2005
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
1,347,060
Product dimensions:
5.36(w) x 8.16(h) x 0.57(d)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt

1

I once had a Tai Chi 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."

The explanation, like all good propaganda, is stirring and stilted, and not particularly accurate, and gummy as the hook from a top-40 song, sticky in your mind in the sleep-deprived noontime when the world takes on a hallucinatory hyperreal clarity. Like now as I sit here in my underwear on the roof of a sanatorium in the backwoods off Route 128, far enough from the perpetual construction of Boston that it's merely a cloud of dust like a herd of distant buffalo charging the plains. Like now as I sit here with a pencil up my nose, thinking about homebrew lobotomies and wouldn't it be nice if I gave myself one.

Deep breath.

The difference between Chinese medicine and Western medicine is the dissection versus the observation of the thing in motion. The difference between reading a story and studying a story is the difference between living the story and killing the story and looking at its guts.

School! We sat in English class and we dissected the stories that I'd escaped into, laid open their abdomens and tagged their organs, covered their genitals with polite, sterile drapes, recorded dutiful notes en masse that told us what the story was about, but never what the story was. Stories are propaganda, virii that slide past your critical immune system and insert themselves directly into your emotions. Kill them and cut them open and they're as naked as a nightclub in daylight.

The theme. The first step in dissecting a story is euthanizing it: "What is the theme of this story?"

Let me kill my story before I start it, so that I can dissect it and understand it. The theme of this story is: "Would you rather be smart or happy?"

This is a work of propaganda. It's a story about choosing smarts over happiness. Except if I give the pencil a push: then it's a story about choosing happiness over smarts. It's a morality play, and the first character is about to take the stage. He's a foil for the theme, so he's drawn in simple lines. Here he is:

Copyright © 2004 by Cory Doctorow

Meet 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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Eastern Standard Tribe 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
SteveTheDM More than 1 year ago
A quick tale about mental institutions and business partners who cheat, all set in a tomorrow where online communities cluster around time zone more than anything else. Doctorow basically starts in the middle and then uses a "now" timeline and a "flashback" timeline to keep the tension high. It's a good trick, and works well. This was a fun book, and very fast to read. 4 out of 5.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OUT! I HAD THIS PLACE FIRST! AT A DIFFERENT SEARCH! MINE! OUT!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Trudged in.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A third star appears in the sky. Tears enter her eyes as she relises that mys be her only parent her mom wing with no feathers.