Beat slang for the best, the most, the maximum, extremely good, too far out. Synonyms: gas, too much.


"Gone..." is a graffiti artist whose signature is found all over Houston, Texas. His signature is most often seen in the the Galleria, Rice Village, and surrounding areas of town. He doesn't paint murals or large pieces, or big initials or anything. The only thing he's done is sign his tag, "gone..." in what looks to be blue paint pen. It's usually about one to two inches high and six to eight long at the very largest.

What's interesting about this particular artist is that his sigs SEEM to be a puzzle or a maze. He doesn't scrawl haphazardly, but seems to pick his locations very carefully. For example, a four-sided object will only be written on one side. He also doesn't seem to be interested in defacing property, as in writing over existing material and leaving things illegible. The only thing in his sig except the word "gone", usually followed by three periods, is an arrow. These arrows appear to be pointing in the direction the next one will be found, and in fact if you walk or drive far enough that way you will encounter another. He always seems to prefer places that he can have the arrow facing so that the point is facing off the 'e' at the end of the word gone, but very very rarely if the positioning of the object he's writing on is wrong, he'll have it pointing off before the "g". I've never followed these arrows, nor known anyone who has, but the general theory is that they are indeed a "follow-me" of some type, leading SOMEWHERE. The only question is to where.

If you're interested in seeing one, the easiest to find is in Rice Village, on the parking sign behind Fu's Garden at the corner of Kirby and University. Just pull into the parking lot and the sign and "gone" sig are clearly visible on the back of the building.

by Michael Grant
HarperTeen, 2008.

Gone is a young adult science fiction novel, which slowly builds to become a rather epic piece of superhero fiction. It is the first book in the series of the same name. It is a comparatively lightweight and derivative work, making its mark by repackaging familiar plot elements for a young(ish) audience, but even so it doesn't do too bad a job.

Sam Temple is sitting in class one day when the teacher disappears. Just like that, one second he's there, the next he's not. And when the class goes to look for help, the other teachers are missing too. In fact, everyone in the school over the age of 15 has mysteriously vanished. And as they search further, they find that this is not limited to the school -- the whole town of Perdido Beach, California seems to have rid itself of adults. The kids go through the expected stage of panic, but in short order they start to cope with matters; some bullies take charge, some of the more responsible ones take over the running of the daycare and the McDonald's, and various levels of looting are undertaken.

Sam is somewhat of a leader figure, having a reputation as level-headed and competent; when he was younger he saved a bus from driving off a cliff when the bus driver had a heart attack. He lives up to his reputation now, managing to more-or-less keeps his head, and when an apartment building catches fire (many stove-tops were left on when the adults disappeared), he's the one who runs in to save a trapped girl. But he's not particularly organized, and instead of helping the other kids get themselves sorted out and keeping the bullies under control, he takes off with his friend Quinn too look for a lost boy with severe autism; during this search he becomes friends with the boy's sister, Astrid, and another competent searcher, Edilio. These four return to town to find the bullies firmly in control.

This would be enough trouble, but it also becomes apparent that many of the children are developing superpowers -- and some of the others are reacting badly to the 'freaks'. And then some of the local animals start mutating and gaining powers themselves. And then they discover that whenever any of the children turn fifteen, they disappear too...

This is a pretty good book. It manages to keep the surprises coming and make a rather large cast of characters interesting. It is rather violent at times, although really only what you'd expect from a superhero movie. At the same time, it is clearly a second-rate story, using very familiar elements and mixing too many fantastical elements together. It tends to be written for entertainment value, and often things happen because they are narratively useful, not because they are logical. Quite frankly, it matches my mental image of the stereotypical YA series -- light reading, sensationalism, and pandering to a generation raised on TV. That said, it is a fun read, and even at 550 pages it goes by pretty quickly. And a lot of the elements are a tip of the hat to the X-Men and related series, which have a long tradition of shaky science and Exciting Plot Twists.

The series currently has five books, although another, presumably final, book will be coming out shortly.

Gone, Hunger, Lies, Plague, Fear, Light

Gone (?),

p. p. of Go.


© Webster 1913.

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