I've been too lazy to write this review. I bought the book a couple weeks ago and read it in about 3 days. Even though I read BoingBoing every day, I didn't think to pick this book up until I saw it at the local bookstore and flipped through it a bit. The author, Cory Doctorow, is a regular contributor to BB and has written a few novels and short stories in the "speculative fiction" genre, but this is the first I've read.
In Stephenson's Snow Crash, nationality was based on franchising, where you could go to any large suburban area and find a local territory for the country you were a citizen of. The members of the Eastern Standard Tribe may be the tribal predecessor to the franchise nationality of Snow Crash. Instead of geography or ideology as the defining factor of a tribe or nation, its time zone. The main character lives in london, but as a member of the Eastern Standard Tribe, his waking and working hours are aligned with those working 9-5 in New York City. This idea allows the author to explore the abuse of circadian rhythms along with a double-crossing plot worthy of a cold-war spy novel. All this surrounds a napster-like nextgen technology idea that should make mega bucks for whoever manages to swindle it out of the others in the story. It reminded me of Pattern Recognition but set in such a near future that I expect a VC to announce the funding of the technology any day now. Patent-hoarding lawsuit-happy companies looking for the next big thing should be scouring near-future sci-fi novels and stories on the lookout for viable technologies by authors that are too naive to hire a patent lawyer. Since it was a pretty quick read, and fun, I think I may check out some of the author's other work.
Eastern Standard Tribe