Eastern Standard Tribe by Cory Doctorow

It is highly appropriate that the cyberpunk founding father William Gibson was one of the people who reviewed Cory Doctorow's Eastern Standard Tribe (entire e-book available for free download, print for sale), writing that it's "Utterly contemporary and deeply peculiar—a hard combination to beat (or, these days, to find)." EST has a similar rhythm of storytelling and ability to include the reader in the rational and emotional life of the protagonist as the Neuromancer, disseminating lucid cultural and deconstructivist commentary along the way.

The difference between Chinese medicine and Western medicine is the dissection versus the observation of the thing in motion. The difference between reading a story and studying a story is the difference between living the story and killing the story and looking at its guts.

School! We sat in English class and we dissected the stories that I’d escaped into, laid open their abdomens and tagged their organs, covered their genitals with polite sterile drapes, recorded dutiful notes en masse that told us what the story was about, but never what the story was. Stories are propaganda, virii that slide past your critical immune system and insert themselves directly into your emotions. Kill them and cut them open and they’re as naked as a nightclub in daylight.

The theme. The first step in dissecting a story is euthanizing it: “What is the theme of this story?”

Let me kill my story before I start it, so that I can dissect it and understand it. The theme of this story is: “Would you rather be smart or happy?”

While Gibson's book and related works served as introduction to a host of almost entirely new visual concepts, such as virtual reality interface used for data surfing, accessible by physical jacking in into the network (later reused in the Matrix), Doctorow's book builds upon experiences of most readers, most of whom come with a history of using textual internet communications, providing a feeling of familiarity to readers who have used chat channels, esp. IRC.

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