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Four Tweens and It

By Linda Schoales, editor

Jan 19, 2009: “SuperMegaNet” is the fast, zany story of four gifted 12-year olds who discover some software that takes chat to a whole new level.

The three boys and one girl are smart enough to be starting high school and worried about how they’ll fit in. They’re met on their first day at the school by a sarcastic, chain-smoking guidance counsellor, who gives them an assignment for their second. They are to hook up in a chat room, get to know one another, and hand in a list of 5 things they’ve learned about each person. One of the kids has a slow computer so they decide to look for newer software. They find SuperMegaNet and discover they can teleport using the new software. The story is about how each kid makes use of this new technology.

The characters come up with some really interesting ways of using the new software. I’m not sure how they’re all keeping this secret from their parents but I had to laugh at some of the stuff that happens. The effect of using SuperMegaNet on slower computers is interesting. The author has obviously thought about the ramifications of the idea a lot.

Leaving aside the oddness of the initial premise (a guidance counsellor giving an assignment?), the story is fast-paced, fun and light. The dialog is snappy and feels real for the age group. The story’s main web site has a banner that reads, “Now with 10% more potty mouth!”, which sets the tone of the piece very well. Most of the characters have potty mouths.

The narrator changes from segment to segment. The first segment is told in first person by the guidance counsellor. The next, by one of the four kids. The characters start out as stereotypes: the nerd, the jock, the fat kid and the budding princess. As each character gets to narrate, they break away from that, becoming more real and interesting. The characters are all distinct, although so far I found that two of them are better “fleshed out” than the others.

I did find segment 1.4a a bit weird. The author has a disclaimer at the beginning but I really didn’t think the segment added anything to the story. It seemed to be some kind of dream sequence. It didn’t really fit in with the tone of the other segments.

All in all, “SuperMegaNet” is a fun, young adult romp with some futuristic technology. It’s not for those easily offended by coarse language, silly pranks or manipulative kids, but it’s perfectly fine for those willing to suspend some disbelief and have a good laugh.

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