The paperback edition of my novel Eastern Standard Tribe is in production, and my publisher has requested an errata sheet with collected typos, spelling errors, consistency problems, etc. Last year, William Gibson solicited message-board feedback from his readers to help him produce the errata sheet for the paperback of Pattern Recognition, but I wanna go one better, so I’ve put up a Wiki (a kind of web-page that anyone can edit) for anyone who’s got a favorite EST correction that s/he wants to see made in the next edition.
On May 30, the Ottawa Citizen ran a great profile on me and my books, with a sidebar on other authors who ppost their work online. The Citizen has a weird policy where they only let subscribers see their online archives, but Brent Kirwan, a generous reader, has sent me a high-resolution photo of the newspaper spread where you can read it yourself.
Unlike the characters in “Down and Out,” who could be killed and easily resurrected through advances in nanotechnology, Art and the supporting cast of “Eastern Standard Tribe” are thoroughly mortal, blessed only with “comms,” phonelike devices that put incredible computing power at everyone’s fingertips. Their vulnerability gives “Eastern Standard Tribe” an urgency and poignancy that Doctorow’s first novel lacked. One definitely finds oneself rooting for poor, beleaguered Art, and Doctorow resolves his plight with a satisfying dose of suspense and humor.
While some might consider Doctorow a booster for the online, wired lifestyle, his books contain subtle but pointed warnings about the flaws of high tech societies. Being a Tribalist, living out of circadian synch with the people around you, relating with people you mainly know as a handle on a screen, encourages paranoia and disloyalty, smartness instead of happiness. Art becomes an object lesson in how such a society can ruin a person, and his salvation doesn’t lie in technology.
Peter Tupper has written a great feature on my books for the Vancouver Sun, with a special emphasis on Eastern Standard Tribe (there’s also a review of EST, but you have to buy a daily subscription to the print paper to read it — lame!).
Abbie Hoffman titled his counterculture guide/how-to manual Steal This Book. Toronto-born science fiction writer Cory Doctorow could call his work Download this Book.
Eric writes, on his blog, that he’s found himself recommending people for jobs whom he’s only “met” by reading their blogs. He describes the process as a burgeoning tribal affiliation, enabled by the ‘Net.
For me, I feel like the tribes are beginning to grow up much more around the little nodes and bubbles of the blogosphere, and they’re becoming rapidly more important as us early-twenties bloggers own real sphere of influence grows in the meatspace.
10 years from now, I can see not being part of the community be a really detrimental thing for a job hunter.
The power of Eastern Standard Tribe draws on traditional storytelling elements — tight plotting, sharp characterization and keen thematic treatment. The novel is immediately accessible, the near-future setting all too familiar. Despite the shifting between chronologies and tenses (first- to third-person throughout), Doctorow maintains an unrelenting pace; many readers will find themselves finishing the novel, as I did, in a single sitting.