The first thing you notice when reading Eastern Standard Tribe is that it suggests a methodology that Doctorow follows when building his novels: identify and research a cool new idea, add more and more cool bits to that idea, and then build that into a story. In Down and Out the cool idea was reputation-based economies, and in Tribe it's a new kind of social group emerging that chooses to abandon its local standard time to live and work in stop with another more desirable one...
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Damien Broderick, in a recent review, coined the rather amusing term 'blogpunk,' which seems to very much apply to Doctorow's work. It refers to the tendency of writers of online journals to accumulate fascinating factoids and then share them amongst themselves. And, to an extent, you can see that in Tribe. The novel's background is full of cool things — cars running on lard and such — but it's just that, background. At its heart, Tribe is a witty, sometimes acerbic poke in the eye at modern culture. Everything comes under Doctorow's microscope, and he manages to be both up to date and off the cuff in the best possible way.
— Jonathan Strahan, Locus Magazine