As is my custom on the drive home to Indianapolis, I pulled out my iPod Nano and listened to an audiobook to help pass the time. I’ve found Podiobooks.com to be a good place for books recently, and while the books available may not be the bestsellers you’d find on Amazon or Borders, the stories are usually pretty good. The book I chose (partly because it was the first in the list of podcasts) for the trip across the Ohio desert is no exception.
Eastern Standard Tribe by Cory Doctorow is a look at how our hyper-connectedness may effect how we live in the near future. Instead of making friends in our neighborhoods or cities, we might find that we are better connected to people in the same time-zones like EST or PDT. To keep together and save face in the group member perform industrial espionage and cause trouble by going undercover and making things difficult.
Art is a member of the Eastern Standard Tribe and is undercover in London trying to undermine the Greenwich Mean Tribe as a user interface designer developing the worst designs he can. When he comes up with a brilliant plan for a good project, he shares it with his co-EST agent and his girlfriend from LA. And ends up in a mental institution trying to decide between happiness or smarts.
I rather enjoyed Doctorow’s take on what might be the pretty soon phenomenon of sticking together in time-zones. It’s a creative and twisty story.