The adventures of Billy Chaka (apparently) continue in this Japan-based dumb-noir about a reporter for a teen magazine out of Cleveland and his misadventures after the death of Japanese pop god Yoshi. Summarized enough for you?
Anyway, Whistle Stop was not tickling the synapses enough this week, so I turned to Hokkaido Popsicle for a little brain candy. In proper noir style, the main character (Chaka) is a tough-talking, good-looking reporter who can handle his own shit, with a checkered past and some unsettled love affair back home. The style is over-the-top Tokoyo pop blitzkrieg, which sounds a lot like something the main character would say. Chaka's telling of his own adventures in Japan sound very much like a music journalist struggling to come up with new words for "punk rock," or a new way to say "that album rocked." Adamson seems to have fun with this stretching of the metaphorical/ simi-alien/ phraseological muscles, but you can feel the strain in some of his descriptions. Much like the previous sentence...
There's strippers, technology, yakuza, crooked business men, a secret society and music (both real and imagined) galore. That's cool I guess, but Hokkaido Popsicle just isn't. The formula almost works, but doesn't. I think the target audience of music lovers will be annoyed by this book, mystery lovers will feel gypped and noir lovers would rather be reading cigarette ads from the 40s. Part of this for me is that no book is ever going to be Neuromancer again, and I just have little patience for tokoyo-worship by whitey, even if it is done with the proper apologies.
Anyway, read a magazine instead.
Highlight: Ween, my favorite band to reminisce to, gets a mention!