Eastern Standard Tribe is a novel by Cory Doctorow . Like Doctorow’s first two books, the entire text was released under a Creative Commons license on Doctorow’s website, allowing the whole text of the book to be read for free and distributed without the publisher’s permission.

Plot summary

The novel takes place in a world where online “tribes” form, where all members set their circadian rhythms to the same time zone even though members may be physically located throughout the world.

The protagonist, Art Berry, has been sent to an insane asylum as a result of a complex conspiracy. Told mostly in flashbacks, Art explains that he works in London as a consultant for the Greenwich tribe. In reality, though, both he and his associate Fede are in fact double-agents for the Eastern Standard Tribe. Despite his talents as a human experience engineer, Art delivers subtly flawed proposals to the GMT in order to undermine them and enable their own tribe to get a coveted contract.

He meets a girl, Linda, after he hits her with his car at 3am. Art has an idea for peer-to-peer music sharing between cars, and plans to give it to the EST (taking a cut to himself.) However, his girlfriend meets his coworker, Fede, Sell ​​the idea to another tribe. Knowing Art will not approve of the plan, they do it behind his back.

Fede later claims he would have cut Art in on the deal afterwards. However, art figures out what is going on, and as a result they have committed to an insane asylum to protect their plot.

The book alternates between two points of view: Art meeting Linda in London, and Art in the asylum. The London plot culminates in his attack on Fede when he discovers his betrayal. The asylum plot takes place after his attack on Fede, and culminates in his escape from the asylum and foundation of a new company to market.

Literary significance and reception

Kirkus Reviews “A near-future yarn that would have worked better as a piece of speculative nonfiction.” [1] Regina Schroeder in reviewing for Booklist Said That “Doctorow’s fast, funny follow-up to Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom is a reaction to the impact of global communication time in qui it is hard to tell whether the phenomena being white reacted to Have in fact carried out or are the consequences of his imagination. ” [2]

Don D’Ammassa in his review for Chronicle addressed satire in science fiction saying “There was a time when broad satires had an honored place in SF, but that had changed over the course of years, and now novelists had to slip their satire in Cory Doctorow pushes the envelope a bit, because very little of the present story is particularly serious, but the satire is done with so much a touch that it’s not intrusive at all. ” He describes the “funny and superficially lightweight, but when you’re done, you might find yourself subject to trouble afterthoughts.” [3]

Release details

  • 2004, USA, Tor Books ( ISBN 0-7653-0759-6 ), Pub Date 1 March 2004, Hardback
  • 2005, USA, Tor Books ( ISBN 0-7653-1045-7 ), Pub Date 1 April 2005, Paperback


  1. Jump up^ “EASTERN STANDARD TRIBE (Book)”. Kirkus Reviews . 72 (1): 18. January 1, 2004. ISSN  0042-6598 .
  2. Jump up^ Schroeder, Regina (February 15, 2004). “Eastern Standard Tribe (Book)”. Booklist . 100 (12): 1047. ISSN  0006-7385 .
  3. Jump up^ D’Ammassa, Don (March 1, 2004). “Eastern Standard Tribe”. Chronicle . 26 (: 3): 27. ISSN  0195-5365 .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *