Set in the early-to-mid-1990s world in which the BBS is still alive and kicking, and the Internet’s gaining traction but still lacks the “killer app” that will someday be the Web (which is still new and not widely-available), the story follows a handful of teenagers trying to find their place in the world. Meeting one another in the 90s explosion of cyberspace, they find online communities that provide connections that they’re unable to make out in meatspace.So yeah: the whole thing feels like a trip back into the naivety of the online world of the last millenium, where small, disparate (and often local) communities flourished and early netiquette found its feet. Reading Incredible Doom provides the same kind of nostalgia as, say, an afternoon spent on textfiles.com. But it’s got more than that, too.
It touches on experiences of 90s cyberspace that, for many of us, were very definitely real. And while my online “scene” at around the time that the story is set might have been different from that of the protagonists, there’s enough of an overlap that it felt startlingly real and believable. The online world in which I – like the characters in the story – hung out… but which occupied a strange limbo-space: both anonymous and separate from the real world but also interpersonal and authentic; a frontier in which we were still working out the rules but within which we still found common bonds and ideals.
Anyway, this is all a long-winded way of saying that Incredible Doom is a lot of fun and if it sounds like your cup of tea, you should read it.
Also: shortly after putting the second volume down, I ended up updating my Geek Code for the first time in… ooh, well over a decade. The standards have moved on a little (not entirely in a good way, I feel; also they’ve diverged somewhat), but here’s my attempt:
----- BEGIN GEEK CODE VERSION 6.0 ----- GCS^$/SS^/FS^>AT A++ B+:+:_:+:_ C-(--) D:+ CM+++ MW+++>++ ULD++ MC+ LRu+>++/js+/php+/sql+/bash/go/j/P/py-/!vb PGP++ G:Dan-Q E H+ PS++ PE++ TBG/FF+/RM+ RPG++ BK+>++ K!D/X+ R@ he/him! ----- END GEEK CODE VERSION 6.0 -----