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Thursday
Feb052004

Eastern Standard Tribe

Eastern Standard TribeWell, Cory Doctorow has done it again! He's just released a new novel, Eastern Standard Tribe this week. I really enjoy Cory's work because it's funny, smart and aimed at tech folks like me, without speaking over my head or using goofy tech that's wildly unbelievable.

By goofy tech I mean the stuff in many feature films and books that drives me nutty. You know, things such as completely unbelievable computer interfaces and utterly foolish devices. Somehow Cory is able to take the technology we have here and now and make a believable projection into the future. I mean, the stuff Cory dreams up may be wild, but I always find myself believing it could exist at some point.

Maybe Cory's ability to portray tech stuff that doesn't yet exist (but might) convincingly, is related to the fact that he spends his days dealing with real tech stuff at Boing Boing (his weblog) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. He seems to take what happens in his own world, both failures and possibilities and extrapolates them into what might be. Cory does this way more clearly than a writer who's maybe faking it because they're over their head, or are just being a bit too utopian for their own good. Whatever the case, it's nice (and sometimes scary) to read about the future and actually feel like this could happen.

I've only just installed and read a few pages in the iSilo version to my Tungsten E, but it's right on track for Cory's enjoyable writing style. You can of course buy the physical book, but Cory puts heavy attention on electronic distribution of his new book in open, Digital Rights Management-free formats for download. For Palm users, there is both an iSilo and Palm Reader edition of Eastern Standard Tribe for free download, and for others, plain text, HTML and PDF versions are also available.

If you don't know Cory Doctorow's work, then by jove ol' chap, check it out! You can start with any of his books, though currently my fave is Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, about the future of Disneyland run by self-forming ad-hoc groups who backup their brains and live for peer approval (Whuffie). His second release was a compilation of short stories called A Place So Foreign and 8 More. Great stuff!

And once you've read his books, share them with others. Give away his links, mention them in emails and on your weblogs, beam copies of his books to other PDA users... you get the idea. Cory's intent with this freely distributed approach to books relies on his fans spreading the love around so I say, lets accommodate him! Our participation in this experiment could mean even better things to come for authors, book distributers and readers! :-)

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