Eastern Standard Tribe

Written by: Cory Doctorow

Eastern Standard Tribe Book Cover
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....
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Eastern Standard Tribe Reviews

Rosemary
I enjoyed this, but mostly for the 'user experience' ideas that the main character had--the 21st century inventor. Some of them were brilliant. I didn't find the idea of the tribes convincing at all, but the rest of the story was fine.
L. Farmer
This is sort of a traditional boy meets girl story with some good humor and technological references. Surprised nobody has made it into a movie yet.
janus
it reads quickly. i was done in two days, and each bout of reading lasted less than 1.5 hours.

in what follows, i do say something about what happens in this book, so be warned.

friends have told me that philip k. dick's novels are often celebrated not for how good the writing is, but how good are the ideas within the storyline. i would say a similar thing for this book, as well as doctorow's other book: "someone comes to town, someone leaves town."

the ideas are good, some even great. the plots of it reads quickly. i was done in two days, and each bout of reading lasted less than 1.5 hours.

in what follows, i do say something about what happens in this book, so be warned.

friends have told me that philip k. dick's novels are often celebrated not for how good the writing is, but how good are the ideas within the storyline. i would say a similar thing for this book, as well as doctorow's other book: "someone comes to town, someone leaves town."

the ideas are good, some even great. the plots of both books, however, feel short and hurried, like an episode of a good tv series instead of a storyline which stretches over several episodes or an entire season.

for instance, i liked his characters, but i didn't think i got to know them as well as i would like. they have depth, but having depth i wanted to know more about them.

there's a school of thought which dictates that characters should change over the course of a story, that they should grow. i'm ambivalent to this perspective, if only because in reality, i don't think people grow that much or change that dramatically, so why should people in books do so?

on the other hand, i would like my characters to learn something, over the course of a story. whether or not they change (or choose to change) is their own decision .. or rather, the decision of the writer behind the character.

i don't know if art, the narrator in this book, truly learns anything. he's clever enough to get out of trouble, sure. however, in the very first(?) chapter, art raises the question, "would you rather be smart or happy?" and i wanted to know what he decides.

he doesn't decide anything. art gets out of trouble, partly due to his being personable and partly due to random luck (father ferlenghetti really saves the day), which i suppose is fair. in real life, that's how we get out of trouble, too: some good fortune is always involved.

i guess i wanted to know what was art's answer to his own question. maybe he answers it tacitly at the end, that you can have it both ways, but that seems unfit to the spirit of such a question. i would have been content with art answering and reneging on his answer (in the sense that, knowing the answer, still goes about life as if he doesn't), but really, i wanted an answer.

as a general theme, i think of cory doctorow's books as first drafts. it would be interesting if he'd remix them: added more to the story, changed this ending, altered this scene, etc.

if walt whitman could edit "leaves of grass" over most of his adult life, i'm sure cory could do it too.
Escape, Or Die: Authentic Stories Of The RAF Escaping Society :: Reach for the Sky :: Baby Be-Bop :: Ruby :: Running Dog
Joe White
Once I got past the fact that I didn't like the main character, and didn't care for the hip-hop delivery style of language used early in the book, I did get into the flow of the main creative foundations in the book.

This book exhibits a historical look at the late 90's through early oughts (oo's), where wardriving was a pastime, IPods and the music copying contention were rampant news, rapidly developing high end feature phones and early smartphones became ever-present tools, and the San Franci Once I got past the fact that I didn't like the main character, and didn't care for the hip-hop delivery style of language used early in the book, I did get into the flow of the main creative foundations in the book.

This book exhibits a historical look at the late 90's through early oughts (oo's), where wardriving was a pastime, IPods and the music copying contention were rampant news, rapidly developing high end feature phones and early smartphones became ever-present tools, and the San Francisco Angel investors were forming up into the new business creation in the US. There is foretelling of comp tech to be used in autos and other domestic products, but only to the extent that it was on the verge of being introduced in the last decade. For example, there were no Google glasses or electronic implants. Communication via social graphs as expressed in the book matched the development of social tools coming into widespread use at the time of publication.

Art, the main character, is more of an idea man and designer, rather than a developer, so the technical aspects of the new century age were rather limited to communication, encryption, and new venture business idea creation.

In order to exercise his literary writing skills the author uses a narrative style of first person conversation from his main character, using time jumps in the plot time-line to bring a more "live" presence to actions as they occur. It allows the reader to build on the story by a filling in method. There are literary references to Catch 22 and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, as the Cuckoo's nest is acted out and the main character is almost trapped in the governmental vortex of a Catch 22, where when accused you can't prove an untruth, and the boxed in bureaucrats aren't about to rock the system boat. The idea of a colleague stealing an idea (yours as seen through the main character's eyes) and creating a company generating a fortune from your idea was a vivid foretelling of elements of the Facebook creation, and other similar smaller companies that have been swallowed up or crushed by software monopolies.

The book is actually well written and is more of an essay length compared to romance saga novels. I just couldn't identify with any of the characters or the new age language use, so only rated it as a 3 star production.
AudioBookReviewer
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 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.
Nick Phillips
Like all the best science fiction Eastern Standard Tribe is prescient social commentary, predicting the future while taking a wry look at the present. Here's it's all the more striking since the futuristic world that Doctorow created when writing this in 2002/3 was set in 2012 and to all intents and purposes reflects around 90% (or four-fifths as his protagonist might say) of life in 2015. A large part of the plot is centred round a streaming, pay-per-listen, skippable radio station some two yea Like all the best science fiction Eastern Standard Tribe is prescient social commentary, predicting the future while taking a wry look at the present. Here's it's all the more striking since the futuristic world that Doctorow created when writing this in 2002/3 was set in 2012 and to all intents and purposes reflects around 90% (or four-fifths as his protagonist might say) of life in 2015. A large part of the plot is centred round a streaming, pay-per-listen, skippable radio station some two years before Spotify launched. There are hybrid cars while people live, communicate, make notes, email, surf the web and pay for tickets and purchases though their smart phones (or comms) three years before the iPhone hit the market and there is even a cameo appearance by an electronic cigarette at a time when they were still very much on the drawing board.

Take away the futuristic (now commonplace) technology and this becomes a simple tale of relationships (both business and personal), ideas, betrayal, peril and alienation - all the features necessary to make up a jolly good read. The test of any science fiction is whether it stands up as good story when stripped of the futuristic elements or, as is the case here, when science fact catches up with the science fiction being portrayed and while I can only imagine how wonderfully imaginative this world appeared when it was published in 2004 reading it in 2015 I can only say that certainly does hold its own as fiction without the science.

The writing style itself is interesting with Doctorow adopting a somewhat schizophrenic approach - single narrator, half the chapters told first person and half told third - and the prose is never less than readable. Characters are believable though at times we suspect that they may be being coloured deliberately by the narrator's own world view. Whether 'Art' is a reliable narrator or not is never addressed or resolved but was something that I found myself wondering on more than one occasion. Is the entire tale a product of the fevered imagination of a heavily sedated asylum inmate? Well, you'll just have to read the book and decide for yourself.
Kate O'Hanlon
The novel opens with the narrator, Art, on the roof of a sanatorium with a pencil up his nose considering whether to give himself an armature lobotomy. The story then splits into two time lines, in one we see how Art got himself into this mess, in the other we see himself get out of it. And though the reader already knows how one of the time lines ends Doctorow still succeeds at ratcheting up the tension almost to the end (I say almost, I did get slightly impatient with the flashback story line The novel opens with the narrator, Art, on the roof of a sanatorium with a pencil up his nose considering whether to give himself an armature lobotomy. The story then splits into two time lines, in one we see how Art got himself into this mess, in the other we see himself get out of it. And though the reader already knows how one of the time lines ends Doctorow still succeeds at ratcheting up the tension almost to the end (I say almost, I did get slightly impatient with the flashback story line towards the end as I wanted resolution on the 'present' story)
Docotorw's central device is that in the future people will base their loyalties on time zones, seeking out like minded people and messing with their sleep cycles if they aren't luck enough to live in the timezone they identify with. As someone who has stayed up well into the night watching EST webcasts or IRCing with people PST and then gone to work at 9am GMT the descriptions of the exhaustion of those trying to keep up with one timezone and live in another certainly resonates. The only problem is that Doctorow doesn't do a lot with the idea. This is something I've noticed with a lot of his novels, they're so crammed with clever ideas that none of them really get the full analysis they perhaps deserve. This is a minor criticism however, because part of the fun is taking the ideas and playing around with them yourself.
I got the audio version of Eastern Standard Tribe on podiobooks. Docotorow reads it himself, and he does a really good job of it. The only downside of listening to this as an audiobook rather than reading it was that the shifting timezone was extremely confusing at first, when we flashed back or flashed forwards I kept thinking that I my mind had wandered for a minute and I'd missed an important linking paragraph.
Ron Arden
Okay, I'm about halfway through this book and I must say I am not impressed. Or, an equally valid way of putting it would be that because I am not impressed I am only halfway through this book

The premise grabbed me-- "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 i Okay, I'm about halfway through this book and I must say I am not impressed. Or, an equally valid way of putting it would be that because I am not impressed I am only halfway through this book

The premise grabbed me-- "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." ((From the store listing))--but the book is pretty much one angst-filled diatribe after another by Art, glued together by rants from his girlfriend, Linda, and rants from his fellow Tribesman, Fede.

Perhaps, if I manage to finish the thing, it will get better. At the moment, however, that outlook is looking rather dim as reading this book is exactly like slogging through hip-deep mud.

ETA: I didn't finish it. It was just that uninteresting.
Alex Jones
This is a really hard book to rate, because there's so much in there that I really really liked and so much that left me completely underwhelmed.

To start with, the first chapter was fantastic. A favourite excerpt of mine is:

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.
...
Stories are propaganda, virii that slide past your critical immune system and insert themselves directly into your emotions. This is a really hard book to rate, because there's so much in there that I really really liked and so much that left me completely underwhelmed.

To start with, the first chapter was fantastic. A favourite excerpt of mine is:

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.
...
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 hooked me, but unfortunately the rest of the book seemed to leave this theme behind entirely. Instead, the book was a collection of fantastic ideas and really interesting speculation that is loosely bound together by some weak characters and flimsy plot. The writing is great: witty and punchy, but the story it tells is lacking and the ending seemed like a series of notes which never got completed. This discordance is a big shame, but I certainly look forward to later novels of Doctorow's which hopefully will be a lot more polished.
Neil Fein
I gulped Eastern Standard Tribe down almost in one sitting, on a day I was tired from uploading family photos to the internet.

Art Berry is a user experience consultant, working for a firm in London. Actually, he's an agent for the Eastern Standard Tribe, a social network of east-coast net-connected folk who find each other work, help each other out, and they sabotage companies so to make way for their own concepts in the market. Almost forgot... they all keep a sleep schedule that lets them stay I gulped Eastern Standard Tribe down almost in one sitting, on a day I was tired from uploading family photos to the internet.

Art Berry is a user experience consultant, working for a firm in London. Actually, he's an agent for the Eastern Standard Tribe, a social network of east-coast net-connected folk who find each other work, help each other out, and they sabotage companies so to make way for their own concepts in the market. Almost forgot... they all keep a sleep schedule that lets them stay in touch in real time with tribe ground zero. Got that? Sleep-deprived idea-folk who are disguised as businessmen. Sorta.

I enjoyed Cory Doctorow's second novel very much; I read it in a few hours, mostly on a train. It doesn't hold together nearly as much as his first book, though. Art bears more than a passing resemblance to Manfred Macx, main honcho of Charles Stross's Accelerando, Doctorow's sometimes collaborator.

But. The concept of people depriving themselves of sleep to keep up with the j0nz3s has been going on for years; when's the lat time you walked into work yawning because you'd stayed online until 1am? (Or is it just me that does that?) Of course, we used to stay up late to watch late night TV, and some of us even stay up late reading.

Tribe is very perceptive, easily read, and very thoughtful.
Sarah (Workaday Reads)
While I found this first part of the story confusing because I really didn’t understand the tribe set up, the more of the book I read, the more I enjoyed it.

The tribe set up is explained about halfway through, and it made a lot of sense. It would have been better if that explanation occurred earlier in the book, but the story wasn’t really about the time zone tribes. It was more about Art and mental health.

One thing I really like about Doctorow books is that you can either read and enjoy the sto While I found this first part of the story confusing because I really didn’t understand the tribe set up, the more of the book I read, the more I enjoyed it.

The tribe set up is explained about halfway through, and it made a lot of sense. It would have been better if that explanation occurred earlier in the book, but the story wasn’t really about the time zone tribes. It was more about Art and mental health.

One thing I really like about Doctorow books is that you can either read and enjoy the story at a shallow level, or you can dig deeper into the themes and opinions and dissect them. Every one of his stories that I’ve read have a definite opinion about a topic in them, but they are woven into the plot and are supported by logic and research. There’s no half understood preaching here, instead there is a full developed debate opinion.

This book really aimed that opinion at mental health and mental illnesses, and how patients are diagnosed and treated. It was an interesting topic, and one that really made me think. Art was a good vehicle for this discussion as he was both inside the situation, but also had the capacity to analyse it from his consultant perspective.

Overall, while the story took a bit to get into, it turned out to be very thought provoking. It was a quick read, but not one that will fade from my head easily.
Ryan
I took a sociology class in university in which we learned about two basic methods of societies becoming organized: either by common location, or by common interest. Eastern Standard Tribe takes that concept, as well as the fact that people use computers and other communication technologies more often in their personal lives than in previous generations, and takes them to an extreme conclusion. This novel is full of "tribes", groups organized by common interest and the time zone that they live i I took a sociology class in university in which we learned about two basic methods of societies becoming organized: either by common location, or by common interest. Eastern Standard Tribe takes that concept, as well as the fact that people use computers and other communication technologies more often in their personal lives than in previous generations, and takes them to an extreme conclusion. This novel is full of "tribes", groups organized by common interest and the time zone that they live in - so while someone might physically live in London, if their mindset and peer group are centred in the Eastern time zone, they're going to adjust their schedule to fit that. And, since most communication is done via email and most people work from home, it's perfectly easy to do so.
That's where the novel falls a bit flat - in some ways, it's less a coherent, sustaining world and more Cory Doctorow's idea of a utopia; and, like most utopian novels, it allows him to express his ideas on what an ideal society should be like. Now, personally, I tend to appreciate a lot of the things that Doctorow advocates for, so that's not entirely a bad thing, and I can follow along as he switches gears between narrative and soapbox.
Tracey
Art Berry is a User Experience genius - he examines how humans interface with technology and looks at how to improve that interaction. He's very good at what he does, so why is he stuck on the roof of a mental health hospital? The story unfolds in semi-flashback form; meeting his girlfriend by nearly running her over and plotting & arguing with Federico about their latest project: controlling music swapping on the Massachusetts Turnpike.

Art is also a member of the Eastern Standard Tribe, a Art Berry is a User Experience genius - he examines how humans interface with technology and looks at how to improve that interaction. He's very good at what he does, so why is he stuck on the roof of a mental health hospital? The story unfolds in semi-flashback form; meeting his girlfriend by nearly running her over and plotting & arguing with Federico about their latest project: controlling music swapping on the Massachusetts Turnpike.

Art is also a member of the Eastern Standard Tribe, a loose affiliation that crosses country boundaries, connected by the ubiquitous comm network. While in London, he is working as a spy and saboteur, struggling to keep up with EST. The resulting stress and sleep deprivation influences his decisions and adds a dream-like effect to the narrative.

Doctorow's work has elements of hard SF and cyberpunk; I can see his characters walking into Stephenson's worlds (and vice versa) pretty easily. While I liked Down and Out in the Magic Kingdomand his short stories better, I'd still recommend EST to SF fans looking for a world that could be right around the corner. Check it out at www.craphound.com.
Matt
This book has the feel of being in the very near future, like a twenty minutes from now type future. It revolves around Art Berry, who is involved in an internet startup which plans to provide mp3 type players to commuters that will share music with other cars on a peer to peer type basis based on listener preferences. Art loves to argue, and he is somewhat socially inept as well as a hypochondriac. This unfortunate personality combination even lands him in a mental institution at one point. Fro This book has the feel of being in the very near future, like a twenty minutes from now type future. It revolves around Art Berry, who is involved in an internet startup which plans to provide mp3 type players to commuters that will share music with other cars on a peer to peer type basis based on listener preferences. Art loves to argue, and he is somewhat socially inept as well as a hypochondriac. This unfortunate personality combination even lands him in a mental institution at one point. From what I have read, this reminds me of Wilhelm Reich Reich seemed to have a similar mix of intelligence and personality flaws that caused him a lot of trouble in life.

Doctorows amazing idea in this book that I wished he would have elaborated on further is the idea of communities of people who align themselves with tribes based on a particular time zone. Often, the tribe that a person aligned themselves with was not affiliated with the time zone that he or she lived in. What this boils down to is tribe members who live in Phoenix, but live their lives in synch with New York time, etc.

Simon
Read Eastern Standard Tribe by Cory Doctorow 4/5.
Much better than some of the other detritus I've been reading recently. Starts off really well but the last 1/4 was a mixture of dull pointless family conversations and a rushed ending.

I'd have like the ending to go a bit deeper, I was left with a "oh is that it?" when all the loose ends were wrapped up in a couple of pages. Also the book alternates between First Person and Third Person which I found a bit jarring. Howeve
r it wasn't a bad read but Read Eastern Standard Tribe by Cory Doctorow 4/5.
Much better than some of the other detritus I've been reading recently. Starts off really well but the last 1/4 was a mixture of dull pointless family conversations and a rushed ending.

I'd have like the ending to go a bit deeper, I was left with a "oh is that it?" when all the loose ends were wrapped up in a couple of pages. Also the book alternates between First Person and Third Person which I found a bit jarring. Howeve
r it wasn't a bad read but wasn't as good as other books I've read by Cory which were stunning and I thoroughly recommend you read. (Makers, For the Win, & Little Brother)

Little brother blew me away, the best book I've read in 5 years.

I was skint just before payday so I download this book for Free, I don't usually do this for Cory's books because he deserves to be supported for giving them away for e-readers. ALL of Cory's books can be Downloaded free and Legal under a Creative Commons Licence from Cory's own site http://craphound.com/?cat=5 (Just click the book and then click download for free at the top of the page.) Enjoy.
David
Eastern Standard Tribe is easy enough to read, and there are some neat ideas here (though granted, they must have been neater in 2005). But as a novel, it's just not that great.

The premise is that in the near future (or, now!), online communication makes it possible to find kindred spirits anywhere in the world. Hate everyone around you? No problem! Live, work, and play online. Our protagonist, Art, does just that. But this lifestyle does not exclude one from the everyday drama of living. Befor Eastern Standard Tribe is easy enough to read, and there are some neat ideas here (though granted, they must have been neater in 2005). But as a novel, it's just not that great.

The premise is that in the near future (or, now!), online communication makes it possible to find kindred spirits anywhere in the world. Hate everyone around you? No problem! Live, work, and play online. Our protagonist, Art, does just that. But this lifestyle does not exclude one from the everyday drama of living. Before long, interpersonal conflicts cause Art to end up in a mental asylum, wondering at the injustice of the world and trying to answer the age-old question, "Would I rather be happy, or smart?"

The story is mildly entertaining, but beware: you might find yourself hating the protagonist for any number of character flaws. I can't say much more without introducing spoilers, but I will end by saying that the character development and plot are not altogether satisfying.

This was my first experience with Doctorow's writing, and I am left feeling tentative about reading any more of his fiction.
Alex
Cory Doctorow has a way of writing stories that beat you up before they finish. This is no exception; the plot moves quickly, the characters are sharp, and you don't have a clue how it's going to end until it does. When it does, though, Eastern Standard Tribe leaves you feeling a little bit like you've been rushed through the final halls of an exhibit, minutes before closing time.

The book starts out by posing a choice between "happy" and "smart", but I don't think Doctorow really resolves the q Cory Doctorow has a way of writing stories that beat you up before they finish. This is no exception; the plot moves quickly, the characters are sharp, and you don't have a clue how it's going to end until it does. When it does, though, Eastern Standard Tribe leaves you feeling a little bit like you've been rushed through the final halls of an exhibit, minutes before closing time.

The book starts out by posing a choice between "happy" and "smart", but I don't think Doctorow really resolves the question. The two parallel stories -- what happened "before" and what happened "after" -- both take on a sense of inevitability by the time they finish up. Plot devices abound, with a number of last-minute coincidences that make the character's vindication more of a fluke of circumstance than a personal triumph.

Still, I'd recommend this for anyone who likes Doctorow's work, or sci-fi in general; you won't find any of the standard pre-singularity cliche that has become pervasive in the genre. The book is saved by the fact that it's a reasonably quick read, and available for free on the author's site, craphound.com.
Kevin
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.

real 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.
murph
Clever writing, great hook, fascinating premise - lousy follow-through.

The beginning is very strong - and I had high hopes that this book would have the staying power of Jennifer Government. It didn't.

It has interesting characters and some entertaining twists - but there's the sense that some story arcs were just abandoned in the interest of saving the author more work.

For example: The book's title comes from the novel idea that in the future people form tribes based on their chosen time zone. I Clever writing, great hook, fascinating premise - lousy follow-through.

The beginning is very strong - and I had high hopes that this book would have the staying power of Jennifer Government. It didn't.

It has interesting characters and some entertaining twists - but there's the sense that some story arcs were just abandoned in the interest of saving the author more work.

For example: The book's title comes from the novel idea that in the future people form tribes based on their chosen time zone. It's a neat idea - but it vanishes midway through the book. We are introduced to the main character who explains the this concept and his place in it - and then it pretty much never affects his life again.

Engaging writing and quirky characters make this book tasty bubble gum - but its well short of a meal.
D. Avraham
I really enjoyed reading this novel. Cory Doctorow was subtle and eloquent in this not-so-distant future portrait of the path our society is taking. From the rooftop a psychiatric hospital, the main character, Art Berry, narrates the events that led to his precarious perch. His dilemma, in a nutshell is he feels that he has to choose between being happy or being smart. Art was born to argue, to analyze, to dissect the society and things around him - to think. But that doesn't seem to sit well wi I really enjoyed reading this novel. Cory Doctorow was subtle and eloquent in this not-so-distant future portrait of the path our society is taking. From the rooftop a psychiatric hospital, the main character, Art Berry, narrates the events that led to his precarious perch. His dilemma, in a nutshell is he feels that he has to choose between being happy or being smart. Art was born to argue, to analyze, to dissect the society and things around him - to think. But that doesn't seem to sit well with those around him, especially if his conclusions are not consistent with society rules. Yet, Art is good at figuring out the rules and When his colleagues conspire against him, he ends up in a sanitarium. But how can he convince the doctors that he's not paranoid - someone really is out to get him?
Doctorow's novel is a witty, and fun ride through a slightly futuristic world, where the sanest place might actually be on the rooftops of the funny house.
Mjke
I was hot and cold on this one. It's ten years old so you'd think the subject matter would feel dated, but it didn't. Still feels futuristic and a bit prescient to me. There was some great laugh out loud humour in here, and yet for much of the book, while I was happy to remain confused, as time went by I never shook of the feeling that I didn't really know what was going on. That might be just me, though, as I didn't get chance to read it in just a few short sittings, and I had to break off for I was hot and cold on this one. It's ten years old so you'd think the subject matter would feel dated, but it didn't. Still feels futuristic and a bit prescient to me. There was some great laugh out loud humour in here, and yet for much of the book, while I was happy to remain confused, as time went by I never shook of the feeling that I didn't really know what was going on. That might be just me, though, as I didn't get chance to read it in just a few short sittings, and I had to break off for over a week, always a good way to ruin a good book. Overall I would recommend this book. I'm a big fan of Cory Doctorow, but it comes with a warning, prepare to be bemused right through to the last page.
Jason
It's a somewhat interesting premis that online life will join people with similar interests in different timezones, giving them a separate life they must live online without any dedication to sleep or even the interests of their own timezone, however it doesn't make for a compelling book and the characters aren't sympathetic enough to make me care about their success. Might have something to do with the narration that's told as our hero is having a romp around the roof of a mental hospital then It's a somewhat interesting premis that online life will join people with similar interests in different timezones, giving them a separate life they must live online without any dedication to sleep or even the interests of their own timezone, however it doesn't make for a compelling book and the characters aren't sympathetic enough to make me care about their success. Might have something to do with the narration that's told as our hero is having a romp around the roof of a mental hospital then recalling the twisted series of events that led him there (there should have been a climax somewhere between the end of the action and the denouement, his hospitalization and his redemption)... Doctorow has written much better books.
Idleprimate
This slight novel is really only science fiction in the sense that it is set in a very near-term future. Doctorow's underlying thesis is that people may form more stable and long-term relationships with networks of people on the 'net than with those they live and work with. That's an interesting proposition, but he makes remarkably little use of the idea. The 'Tribe' of the title is nearly absent from the story itself. I never found out what the basis of the group was, how they interacted, or re This slight novel is really only science fiction in the sense that it is set in a very near-term future. Doctorow's underlying thesis is that people may form more stable and long-term relationships with networks of people on the 'net than with those they live and work with. That's an interesting proposition, but he makes remarkably little use of the idea. The 'Tribe' of the title is nearly absent from the story itself. I never found out what the basis of the group was, how they interacted, or really why they had any significance to the protagonist except as a means of getting some information or assistance every now and then.

Doctorow is a capable writer, but I hope he's gotten better at creating interesting characters since writing E.S.T.
Brian
so, i was listening to this on audiobook. and, well, it was horrible. first off...i always wondered why authors didnt read their books more often, i just figured it out!

cory reads this book himself. it sounds like he is just reading it in front of his computer or something, there are background sounds and coughs and stuff. plus he reads REALLY FAST!

audio books were something i was real skeptical about, but i got into them pretty easy with some good narrators and good books. a good narrator can so, i was listening to this on audiobook. and, well, it was horrible. first off...i always wondered why authors didnt read their books more often, i just figured it out!

cory reads this book himself. it sounds like he is just reading it in front of his computer or something, there are background sounds and coughs and stuff. plus he reads REALLY FAST!

audio books were something i was real skeptical about, but i got into them pretty easy with some good narrators and good books. a good narrator can make a horrible book good.

i made it about an hour into this book (it is about 4 hours? long) and i almost decided to keep going. but i just couldnt handle the pace it was read at and the background noise kept me from immersing in the story.
Jason
This is a jolly good read that has some interesting ideas mixed in. I'm reminded of William Gibson or Neal Stephenson, but with a complete story. (I love them both, but they have a tendency to come up with these very cool ideas and drop them into a story that just kind of meanders and then ends.) I'm partial to non-linear storytelling, but even with that caveat, I believe it is used very well in this instance. Almost "Memento"-like the narrative moves from the end and beginning, toward the middl This is a jolly good read that has some interesting ideas mixed in. I'm reminded of William Gibson or Neal Stephenson, but with a complete story. (I love them both, but they have a tendency to come up with these very cool ideas and drop them into a story that just kind of meanders and then ends.) I'm partial to non-linear storytelling, but even with that caveat, I believe it is used very well in this instance. Almost "Memento"-like the narrative moves from the end and beginning, toward the middle, in alternating chapters. Also, the book is paced well and isn't too long (so much so that I read it in a single evening, the day I got my Ottawa library card). So in summation, I recommend it.
Jordan
The idea behind this was great. With a world so connected by technology and instant communication with anyone, anywhere, people form groups by what timezone they participate in. Someone who lives on the West coast but enjoys British culture could be in the GMT tribe simply by the fact that they are active during normal GMT hours. The main character in this book is a saboteur for EST. He lives in the GMT and does work designing user-interface there to be as cumbersome as possible. While I loved t The idea behind this was great. With a world so connected by technology and instant communication with anyone, anywhere, people form groups by what timezone they participate in. Someone who lives on the West coast but enjoys British culture could be in the GMT tribe simply by the fact that they are active during normal GMT hours. The main character in this book is a saboteur for EST. He lives in the GMT and does work designing user-interface there to be as cumbersome as possible. While I loved the idea, the characters I loved less so. They all seemed rather stock. This book was very focused on conveying ideas and opinions, and while the plot was nice, it was the ideas that really stood out.
Damon
Strong start, but it sort of fades away before the end. I'm a big fan of this sort of "sci-fi", the very near future, where you can see the path from where we are to where the story's taking place (it's a similar setting to the most recent William Gibson books, but with more humor and less espionage), but ultimately the plot leaves a lot of issues that go unresolved, and what is presented as sort of the central theme of the book is never actually addressed beyond a certain point. It's a second n Strong start, but it sort of fades away before the end. I'm a big fan of this sort of "sci-fi", the very near future, where you can see the path from where we are to where the story's taking place (it's a similar setting to the most recent William Gibson books, but with more humor and less espionage), but ultimately the plot leaves a lot of issues that go unresolved, and what is presented as sort of the central theme of the book is never actually addressed beyond a certain point. It's a second novel that reads like a first novel, to me - not a bad read, but not reaching any profound heights or depths.
Trevor McGuire
This was an entertaining book, even if it didn't have everything I was hoping for. The idea is that in a super-connected world, the only defining characteristic left is your "home time zone". That time zone may not be your geographical home, but that doesn't matter.

What I was hoping for more of was sabotage between the time zones. There was a little scattered throughout the book, and those parts were entertaining, but it wasn't the main focus. Instead, the focus was on a few central characters, This was an entertaining book, even if it didn't have everything I was hoping for. The idea is that in a super-connected world, the only defining characteristic left is your "home time zone". That time zone may not be your geographical home, but that doesn't matter.

What I was hoping for more of was sabotage between the time zones. There was a little scattered throughout the book, and those parts were entertaining, but it wasn't the main focus. Instead, the focus was on a few central characters, and how a business deal went sour. The fundamental premise is dry, but it was delivered well.
Margaret
Just re-read this, after a gap of several years, and still found it immensely entertaining!
I looked it up because I remembered something I wanted to quote from the foreword, in a discussion about copyright, piracy and publishers.
And then got hooked all over again!
1) I really want a fridge with a smart door I can scribble or squirt e-notes onto ... we have all the technology for that, do we have one yet?
2) Stop, Margaret. This is turning into a blog instead of a review!
Just READ this book, everyo Just re-read this, after a gap of several years, and still found it immensely entertaining!
I looked it up because I remembered something I wanted to quote from the foreword, in a discussion about copyright, piracy and publishers.
And then got hooked all over again!
1) I really want a fridge with a smart door I can scribble or squirt e-notes onto ... we have all the technology for that, do we have one yet?
2) Stop, Margaret. This is turning into a blog instead of a review!
Just READ this book, everyone ... The social commentary is, as always, worthy of Simak, H Beam Piper, et al, and the pace and volume of tech ideas, patter and uses is as intense as ... Cory Doctorow!
David Merrill
This one really hit the spot. I've been puttering around a few books lately, reading 40 or so pages and not being really grabbed. This one grabbed me immediately. It's an interesting read about near future hackers and personalities and getting committed to a mental institution. The story is told in two time lines that occur in Art, the main character's, which means the information in each timeline intertwined. If I go farther into it than that, I'll end up giving spoilers. It read quickly, parti This one really hit the spot. I've been puttering around a few books lately, reading 40 or so pages and not being really grabbed. This one grabbed me immediately. It's an interesting read about near future hackers and personalities and getting committed to a mental institution. The story is told in two time lines that occur in Art, the main character's, which means the information in each timeline intertwined. If I go farther into it than that, I'll end up giving spoilers. It read quickly, partially because it's short, partially because the writing flows nicely. Definitely worth your time if you're into near future techie quirkiness.
Liv
The first Cory Doctorow novel I read was mindblowing, and this one sadly does not meet that bar very well.

The snarky language was there, but not as absurdly biting. The everyman protagonist was likeable, but I never came to identify his motivations, let alone identify with them, or, like, care all that much. The futuristic ideas were interesting enough to mention to friends ("tribes" of individuals with common interests syncing their circadian rhythms regardless of location so that they can, y'k The first Cory Doctorow novel I read was mindblowing, and this one sadly does not meet that bar very well.

The snarky language was there, but not as absurdly biting. The everyman protagonist was likeable, but I never came to identify his motivations, let alone identify with them, or, like, care all that much. The futuristic ideas were interesting enough to mention to friends ("tribes" of individuals with common interests syncing their circadian rhythms regardless of location so that they can, y'know, hangout online and stuff) but aren't going to change the way I live my life (because, I guess I sort of already /do/ that).
Jmswtsn
However, this would be a four star book if I had not already read some of Cory's other work. The story telling in this book is better, the situations more identifiable, the humor a bit more humorous (see chapter 16), etc... IMO, this is a better, more realistic book than his previous work, "Down and Out," and less sci-fi-y, but I had to dock it a star because the characters and character developments are almost identical or at least similar enough to "Down and Out" that I feel a little let down.
Joel Neff
Eastern Standard Tribe tells the story of Art, who is betrayed by his friend and his lover, and how he gets his revenge. At the same time, EST is an exploration of the loss of physical boundaries to define our personal networks; the book's title comes from the idea that, due to the internet and mass comm., people relate to those who share their time zone rather than their physical location.

Doctorow, as an author, still seems to be more at home with short stories than with full length works, howe Eastern Standard Tribe tells the story of Art, who is betrayed by his friend and his lover, and how he gets his revenge. At the same time, EST is an exploration of the loss of physical boundaries to define our personal networks; the book's title comes from the idea that, due to the internet and mass comm., people relate to those who share their time zone rather than their physical location.

Doctorow, as an author, still seems to be more at home with short stories than with full length works, however, this is a good novel and one that is fun to read.
Chris
The story is much like the gadgets that litter it; slick and futuristic. Whenever I was asked to describe the book, the one word I said was clever. Doctorow not only creates a plausible and interesting future, but he populates it with characters I am just as eager to learn about. And nestled between this brilliant setting and these great characters is an actual plot. You can imagine how surprised I was when I found that. Mostly you get two of the three with science fiction novel, but Eastern Sta The story is much like the gadgets that litter it; slick and futuristic. Whenever I was asked to describe the book, the one word I said was clever. Doctorow not only creates a plausible and interesting future, but he populates it with characters I am just as eager to learn about. And nestled between this brilliant setting and these great characters is an actual plot. You can imagine how surprised I was when I found that. Mostly you get two of the three with science fiction novel, but Eastern Standard Tribe had them all.
Mike Steinborn
This book came recommended by both people I know and by a "must-read" list of seminal SF and post-cyberpunk books. I must be on a different wavelength because while I liked the book, it wasn't outstanding in any way that I could see. I guess I tend to like stories that have more adventure, or ideas & concepts that are mind-stimulating, or pose tough situations with which you can identify and make you wonder how YOU would react...
Stephen T Shores
I tried to read this, but it's nowhere near as good as Little Brother or For The Win. I got the sense in the first few chapters that something big was supposed to be happening, but it just didn't seem to happen fast enough for me, so I went on to another book.

I just noticed that Doctorow has this book for free on his web site, so I downloaded it again for my Kindle and I'll give it another go. If I like it better after the second attempt, I'll give it a few more stars.
David
Blah. Messy. (view spoiler)[There had to be a way for Checkhov to put the priest's degree on the mantle earlier than act 3.99. (hide spoiler)]

I had decided to read the first three Doctorow books out of some sense they were about his ideas of how people should work. As in, do work, not what makes them tick. But then I remembered that's all Doctorow ever writes about, so maybe I'll just move on.

I think the Mongoloiad will be squirted down to the kindle tomorrow anyway.
Jared
I dug it--great story, interesting characters and world. My only complaint is the way that Doctorow messed around with the timeline of the story, constantly bouncing from one time to another. It made for a little bit of mystery, but more of what time period it was then what happened to Art and how he got to where he is as he's telling the story. The ending was a little anti-climatic, too.

So, not the best of Doctorow's work, but still pretty damn good.
Mike
The premise of this book is intriguing - a not too distant future where online communities form all over the world based on the dominant time zone. Our narrator is a high-strung, argumentative "user engineer" named Art who tells the story from two different time frames. The plot moves quickly and keeps your attention, but it also felt a little too rushed. Cory Doctorow paints an impressively realistic view of the future, however, and I'd be interested to read more of his books.
Serban
A nice and fast read about fake love, betrayal, industrial sabotage and peppered with well though of usability pieces regarding technology and user experience.

Though the start may seem a bit slow the book picks up pace quickly and some of the story elements that seemed vague at the beginning are explained in a decent fashion.

Overall worth the read, especially if you're into usability/user experience.
Tim Myles
I really liked this - which kind of surprised me. The general premise isn't as convoluted as I expected, and there are some nice twists along the way. The book cracks along at a good pace although the ending felt a bit rushed.

It's funny, the book is coming up for 10 years old, some of the "futuristic" things are spot on, others are way out, but it still feels relevant.

Going to get some more from Cory I think.... :-)
Susan
Cory Doctorow has said so many nice things about Librarians and the places they work. I do not know much about him and had never read his work so I picked up this book to learn more. This is a wonderful book full of characters living life on the edge in our near future. The situations the main character encounters are unusual but not unbelievable in light of recent financial proprieties. I am a fan of this quirky book and plan to read more by this creative writer.
James Cridland
Funny: I like some of Doctorow's books, but not others.

This one's too preachy in places ("Art" appears to have - hey - thoughts on copyright, brilliant, how unusual for a Doctorow book). The book's written in an odd way, looping back on itself and back to the present; and it doesn't actually work for me too well. But still, at the price I paid I don't suppose I can complain too much.

"Makers" and the excellent "Little Brother" remain my favourites; I'd recommend them over this.
Entropic
A short and entertaining read, but ultimately a story without much substance to it. I just didn't buy the titular premise, and there's not much else going on here apart from a fairly straightforward plot. And every Cory Doctorow book is basically a revenge fantasy about being wronged by implacable authorities and getting back at them, which gets annoying once you notice it. It hadn't yet gotten as bad as Little Brother with this one though.
Jeffrey Paris [was Infinite Tasks]
Yes, read this fabulous book, but before you do, let Cory read it to you at podiobooks.com. His snappy voice captures just the right tone, and wheels you off on this awesome, dual time-line adventure in a near-future world that might already be yesterday's. It begins with a highly self-conscious internal monologue about character vs. plot - don't let this put you off, because once you find out what's happening on either side of this timeline, you won't want to stop.
Cindywho
This was another read on the T on my Palm. I never really did figure out what the tribe was about and somewhere in the middle I started thinking that I didn't like the story that much - too much crazy conniving girlfriend shtick and depressing trapped in a mental institution scenes, but then it all worked out for the best. The riffs on designing better systems were the most fun. (September 25, 2004)
Chris
I liked many aspects of this book. One was the use of the character dialog, both internal and relating in a past tense. This takes a lot of skill and mastery over the English language to do it right.

Doctorow has crafted a decent story here. Strong with concepts that make the reader speculate and question. Thats a sign of a good writer.

I liked the ideas of the job that the main character had. It would be my dream job if it were real. And if it is I want it... email please....
Matt
very funny and clever, lots of great ideas, let down by a slightly underwhelming story of betrayal.

his main hook, about our online friendships being influenced more by time-zones than geography, resonated particularly strongly with me (it was published at about the time i was first wrecking my sleep patterns due to this).
Joe Robles
If has been a long time since I read a book from start to finish in one day, so that should tell you how much I really loved this book. A great bit of speculative sci-fi. Loved the narrator and the narration. My only complaint is with the ending. After a really great story that moved along at a nice pace, the ending seemed packaged and rushed.
Courtney
Kind of a hodge podge of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and A Catcher in the Rye. The protagonist is the kind of character that all nerds and geeks strive to be: snarky, smarter than everyone else, and always right. A grown Holden Caulfield.

This book also reinforces a cardinal rule of mine: nerds should not write about sex.
Allan Dyen-Shapiro
Computer science and all it's offshoots form the world of this fiction. The overt author intrusion into the narrative is something you have to either like or not like, as this is not classic storytelling. I like. Also the sense of the absurd. And the author almost challenged to break every rule (one chapter had three words in it).

Cool stuff. It grows on you.
Jakub
Does every Doctorow book includes a successful nerd that gets the girl, is oppressed by the system, and finally triumphs, displaying all time high morals? :)

This way or another - short read, some fun, some yawn. Indoctrination with proper values oozes through the pages. But I *did* laughed at full volume, after reading the scene with British policewoman at the end of the book :D
Marva
I always enjoy Doctorow's books. He doesn't need my detailed analysis. All I can say is that I think having 10,000 tunes auto downloaded to your car's MP3 (or future equivalent) is a tad much. Maybe that's just me, but I'm pretty sure I don't like 10,000 songs. I probably like a couple hundred at most.
Michael
I read this book on a holiday, and it's just about perfect for that: the story is entertaining and has a good flow and there are some funny moments and good quotes. If you are into near-future SciFi you'll probably enjoy this, even though I found the ending a bit disappointing, but that seems to be a common problem for me with Doctorow's work (and Neil Stephenson's for that matter).
Strand McCutchen
Listened to Docotorow's reading on his podcast ([http://www.archive.org/search.php?que...]).

Good scifi in a contemporary setting.
Adam
This book is a poster candidate for OK books. It wasn't bad but just weak in places. The story doesn't start to form at all until a few chapters in and becomes cohesive by perhaps the middle. In fact, the farther in the book the tighter the writing seems to get. That means that the end is good en...
more...
tamarack
cory doctorow's writing is just not living up to the high standards of enjoyability set by makers. i am pretty sure i read (at least part of) EST before since the first chapter was so familiar. i can't blame my past self for not finishing this book; though this time i did see it through to the end.
Serge Boivin
I was disappointed by Eastern Standard Tribe. I had previously read Little Brother and enjoyed it very much. In EST, it felt like Mr. Doctorow was trying too hard to sound cool and to wrap a story around his car music sharing idea... And to tell the truth, it could have been the same story with any other tech idea. The story also suffers from a too- quick, too-neat wrap-up...
Ray Daley
Not a great read, made worse by the license at the start and end of the book. Just pick one place, preferably the end and put it there Cory.

The book is difficult to follow, a bit too surreal and it's blindingly obvious as to whether Art the lead character is being robbed of his idea behind his back or not.
Aaron
Reads like what would happen if Chuck Pahlniuk wrote a Gibson novel, it's a near-future novel that tries to come to terms with the delicacies of intellectual property, in a near-commecial espionage environment. Quickly gets your attention, and it is a quick-enough read. A great break after slogging through Faulkner, that's for sure.
Steven Cole
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.
Geert Hofman
The book is somewhat more experimental in structure than the others I read from Doctorow, but it is certainly worth the read. There is a also a bit less activism and some more plain "good writing", which is also nice for a change. Maybe not the best best book to get a feel of the "real" Doctorow, but certainly good enough by any standard.
Michael
Overall reading Cory Doctorow is kind of like eating a fattening dessert. You may enjoy it at the time but afterwards you wonder if it was really worth it. He has great ideas in his book but comes up short in creating a great(or even really good) story. I'm sure I'll read more by this author but I am not very optimistic that his story creation skills will catch up to his fertile imagination.
Jason Hart
Listened to the audiobook narrated by the author. Doctorow did a good job with the reading. Some of the ideas were not as fleshed out as ideas presented in his other books but still interesting. This audio book, along with a few of Cory's other titles, are available for an optional donation at http://www.podiobooks.com/title/easte...
Joe
This book feels like an interesting concept trapped behind a high-school-drama level plot. I think I'd like it a lot more if the main character's girlfriend wasn't depicted as completely irredeemable in the very first scene she's in. As it was, though, it was an entertaining enough read for a backpacking trip to Lassen.
Ariellah Aflalo
A good, quick read about a future where people who more closely identify with their time zone then with any other traditional community, or at least the protagonist in this story does.
it fast passed and very much like other Doctorow books I have read, it has a long build up of story and character only to rush to a quick and somewhat unsatisfying conclusion.
Bill
This novel had a really interesting plot and believable characters. I think it's representative enough of Cory Doctorow's skill and style that it wouldn't be a bad choice as a person's first Cory Doctorow book. And the price certainly can't be beat; free for the download from Feedbooks, as are several other of Cory's novels and short stories.
Ben
An amusing romp through the near future where IRC-style chat rooms have somehow become popular again. That irony, given that the protagonist is a user-experience expert, I found hilarious. Otherwise, fun, if unexceptional.
Terra
I listened to the free Podiobooks audio version of this one, read by the author. Doctorow reads fast, faster than I would have, but he's easy to understand, and the rapid pace of his reading adds something to the story that I didn't get when I read it myself a few years ago.
Liz Hietkamp
i just love everything Cory Doctorow writes. His vision of the future feels so close to hand, like it really could be happening now. That there are people out in the world right now that are living in this way, far ahead of the rest of us in their adoption curve of how technology is part of life.
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