Friday, September 19, 2008

Eastern Standard Tribe by Cory Doctorow

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.

Okay, so this was another jaunt into the world of Audio Books for me, you can download it free here. I thought this book was fabulous. I loved the way it was written and the way Doctorow describes things. Although I must admit that listening while I drive does tend to cause the occasional rewind and re-listen ... usually when I get distracted by some idiot in front of me. So occasionally I was a little confused (my fault, not the books, I think) but all in all it was a cool story and very nicely and believably set in the future (and the setting and associated concepts is about as Sci-Fi as it gets, because underneath it's still a boy-meets-girl story, boy-gets-screwed-over-by-girl-and-boy's-best-friend story).

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1 comment:

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