Saturday, March 20, 2010

Book-A-Day 2010 # 45 (3/20) -- Kimmie66 by Aaron Alexovich

I should have warned you folks up front that not all of these Book-A-Day posts are going to be gems; I expect I'll be phoning in a number of them, particularly if I keep this up as long as I hope to. The posts I write on Wednesday and Thursday nights (deep into the week, hence tired and worn out) are likely to be the worst...and it's Wednesday evening as I type this. So don't expect too much.

Kimmie66 was one of the second wave of books from DC's ill-fated Minx imprint; the series was intended to provide an American alternative to manga for teen girls, but it never quite took off. (Possibly because actual manga has been driven mostly by series, and the US doesn't have the infrastructure developed to allow a team to pump out product at the rate required -- come to think of it, the modern American comics industry has gotten demonstrably worse at delivering popular content on schedule over the past decade or so.) The Minx books were all readable, solid entertainment for young women (and others who happened across them), but none of them were great, and several showed signs of pandering to their presumed audience.

Aaron Alexovich doesn't do that here, though; Kimmie66 is a fantasy story in SFnal dress -- you can tell the difference first because the main character turns away from technology at the end and secondly because it makes its "ghost" a limited, dangerous, dull creature that must be contained and destroyed rather than something new and interesting; it's renormative all the way -- set in a world two centuries hence where everyone spends all of their leisure time in "lairs," virtual reality MUDs. (And so it already feels a bit like yesterday's future, the dream of the Internet generation before Facebook and Twitter.)

Alexovich's main character is Telly, a teen girl who hangs out in a goth (not emo; again, this book was conceived several years ago) lair called Elysium, and is worried about her best friend Kimmie, who disappeared after sending a suicide note. Telly, with the help of her second-best friend Nekocat, her family, and an 1337 haxxor she meets (sorry, but he totally is), finds out what actually happened to Kimmie, and puts things as right as they can be put.

Kimmie66 looks nice, and Alexovich tells his story smoothly, but it's really nothing all that special. If you happen to be a goth girl in 2005 or 2006, you might love it. If you come across it at random in your library, as I did, it might serve to waste an hour of your time reasonably well.

Book-A-Day 2010: The Epic Index
Listening to: School Of Seven Bells - Connjur
via FoxyTunes


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