Saturday, February 27, 2010

Eastern Standard Tribe

Eastern Standard Tribe is a novel by Cory Doctorow. It's a near-future story of industrial sabotage, conspiracy and choosing smarts over happiness -or choosing happiness over smarts. "Stories are propaganda, virii that slide past your critical immune system and insert themselves directly into your emotions." The book can be read online for free (at Doctorow's site where the image above came from), having been released by the author under a Creative Commons license.

from the back of the book:
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 question, the most counterintuitive, user-hostile piece of software ever pushed forth into 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 common time zones, less than families 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....

SFSite calls it "a refreshingly new science fiction look at the near future."

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