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Eastern Standard Tribe    by Cory Doctorow order for
Eastern Standard Tribe
by Cory Doctorow
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2004 (2004)
* * *   Reviewed by David Pitt

Every once in a while somebody talks about somebody else being the 'new voice' in science fiction. Frankly I don't know what that means, but if you do, and you're looking for another new voice, check out Cory Doctorow. His first novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, is the weird and wonderful tale of a young man (he's only a hundred years old) who's trying to solve his own murder. If you haven't read it, do so.

Now comes his second novel, featuring an industrial spy whose mission is to foist worthless ideas off on his employers in the hopes of causing mass confusion and corporate humiliation. In Doctorow's future society, the world has splintered off into Tribes, several of them, their members united by a common time zone. But the Tribes aren't laid out along geographical lines: Cory, for example, belongs to Eastern Standard Tribe, but he currently lives in England, home of Greenwich Mean Tribe. You can be a member of the Tribe of your choice, no matter where you live, simply by adjusting your daily routine to coincide with the Tribe's native time zone.

Anyway, Cory's poised to unleash a particularly excellent piece of industrial sabotage when he discovers that some of his allies are not exactly working under the same set of premises, loyaltywise. Dancing back and forth between the present and the recent past, the narrative takes us across international borders, and deep into a society that couldn't possibly exist, but somehow feels completely plausible. Doctorow is an inventive and energetic writer, and there are no doubt great things in his future.

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