in General

Cory Doctorow – Eastern Standard Tribe

Product Image: Eastern Standard Tribe
My rating: 4 out of 5

I recently finished reading Cory Doctorow’s Eastern Standard Tribe (available for free at that link). As a main element of his near-future world, Doctorow postulates that as online connectivity increases, users will form friendships and relationships that are more based on the time zone of participants than anything else. Some even go so far as to live their life on another time zone’s schedule, or move to another time zone and get jobs deliberately holding back progress of that competing zone. The protagonist finds himself caught up in this inter-zonal intrigue and social-technology madness.

As always, Doctorow excels at writing a near-future that makes you go “hmm”. Everything seems quite plausible, but puts pieces together in ways I never would have. For example, cars broadcast music to each other in a Peer to Peer network on highways.

That said, I do think Doctorow unfortunately took the core premise a bit far. Thanks to the online world I have friends and colleagues across a number of different time zones. I connect with them on a number of hobbies and interests. But I’ve never felt the need to live my life on Pacific or British time. I’ve done calculations to figure out when PST events happen for me, but never gotten up early or gone to bed late for them. Still, an interesting concept. And maybe it is or will be true for others.

Eastern Standard Tribe is a pretty quick, light read. But the price is right, so give it a whirl.