Cory Doctorow has an amazing affinity and enthusiasm for the potentials in technology and is able to create worlds where many of those possibilities are fulfilled without ever stretching our credibility. All the technology he uses in his books, if not possible yet, seems like it could be possible in the near future. Unlike other writers however, he never forgets that technology without humanity is hollow, a shell without substance. Art loves the fact that he can be with his tribe wherever he is on the planet, but he loves the technology that makes this possible for what it can do, not because it's technology.
Art is a creative and intelligent individual who uses technology to help him realize fantastic ideas. Not because it will make him loads of money, but because of the pleasure he gets from their creation, figuring out how to implement them, and the best way others can make use of them. However, that's not the way the world works, including the world occupied by his friends, and he keeps running afoul of it. He's happiest when he's either in full creative mode, or happily chatting away with other members of his tribe about life, the universe, and everything. Sure he's obsessive, but show me one creative person who isn't; show me one artist who doesn't get lost in his work to the extent that he can start a project and completely lose track of time.
In Eastern Standard Tribe Doctorow has not only created a world that is the next logical evolutionary step in online communities from our current social networks, but a great example of the difficulties faced by anyone who thinks outside the box. Art's creativity and intelligence are his chief assets, but they are also his downfall. While he loves his tribe and the feelings of belonging that it brings him, the reality is that like all other artists he is his own community, because there really isn't anybody who is like-minded. That doesn't make him any better or any worse than anybody else - just different, and being different makes you a social misfit no matter how hard you try.
Cory Doctorow has a wonderful knack for bringing people and ideas to life on the page, and Eastern Standard Tribe is no exception. Like anything else I've read by this remarkable writer it's entertaining and intelligent, which makes Cory more than a little bit different himself.