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2.7 out of 5 stars
2.7 out of 5 stars
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on 23 August 2014
'I wanted to enjoy it, suckitude and all.' Written in gauche hokey faux American ('You're from LA, then?' 'Got it in one'; 'way the hell the other side of the roof') I liked its satirical jabs at the world of work, but if it wiped that would-be-trendy smirk off its face there'd be nothing left at all other than an unhealthy obsession with circadian rhythms. 'Pebbles.. about the size of wasabi chickpeas'? How do they differ in size from ordinary chickpeas, exactly? No Coupland he; Doug had the attitude AND the competence - and the right conjunction of the planets, for all I know. I expired by the wayside on page 34, my brain oxygen-starved
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on 18 December 2012
Would you rather be smart or happy? The hero wants to be both - and rich too - but being locked up and treated for paranoid schizophrenia doesn't help - his girlfriend and business partner really are out to get him. But how do you convince the psychiatrist?
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on 20 September 2011
Doctrow delivers with this little thought provoking book, I read it in a single sitting as it was a real page turner.

Doctrow keeps the novel length story concise at 242 pages by flitting between different events in time which keeps the book interesting throughout as the story slowly manifests itself and the details in the past and future line up.

Not a life changer or a classic but a damn fine read...
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Cory Doctorow is a celebrated inhabitant of the blogosphere and an authority on intellectual copyright. This is his second novel.

The book's protagonist is a member of an elective community: the Eastern Standard Tribe. Several such communities exist in Doctorow's near future, each cohering around a timezone which dictates a life-schedule to its geographically dispersed members. Each group pursues an agenda, and so each of its members tends to live parallel lives: a straight life as, say, a management consultant, and a covert life as a member of his Tribe. This leads to complications familiar from spy thrillers and the world of industrial espionage. One such complication, centring around the protagonist's ideas for a novel file-sharing technology, generates the plot of the novel.

This makes the book sound quite weighty, and I don't doubt Doctorow's serious interest in the underlying issues. But Eastern Standard Tribe is a short (242 pages, not 432) rapid, almost weightless read - perhaps a good choice for a plane or train journey. I found the plot unlikely and the characterisation thin, but the author's enthusiasm generates sufficient forward momentum.

Doctorow's ideas seem to me to suffer from the typical faults of techie authors: in particular, a groundless optimism concerning the power of technology to improve our lives and solve the major problems we now face. The idea of elective communities based on shared attitudes, interests and styles is a seductive one, but Doctorow doesn't seem to notice that such communities already exist: they're called corporate multinationals and non-state actors, and their influence has been anything but unreservedly benign. He also seems not to notice the parallels between his online communities and nepotistic, undemocratic mutual aid organisations such as the freemasons.

As a result, the novel suffers from a lack of balance. Because there are no real threats - the protagonist's incarceration in a mental hospital notwithstanding - there isn't a sense of much being at stake, so it's hard to care deeply whether our hero succeeds or fails. Although I like speculative fiction, this is the first Doctorow I've read: painless enough, but I can't say it fills me with enthusiasm to read more.
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on 17 September 2015
Couldn't really get into this. Found it confusing and gave up. I love Cory Doctorow's ideas in general but this one was too weird for me.
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on 30 November 2008
it is almost uncanny how doctorow is able to create a fictional world which is fictional but at the same time so familiar, so only few seconds away from the present....
the cops in london, one can imagine that soon things will be so bad for the victim of crimes, not for the criminals..
the book is also about other stories, the acknowledgements at the end of the book seem to point to autobiographical elements, maybe Cory has come across the same type of situations as his character Ant.
I am trying to avoid spoilers so I am not venturing into the story at all. Suffice to say this too is a well written book, with a lot at heart: from copyrights to love and its betrayal to a slightly new type of geek, not the coding but someone who designs interfaces and ways to improve people lives by using technology.
A must read.
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