I have to go back through that passage again, because I'm still not sure what to think about it.
I think his theory about the goths may have been fairly accurate. It's the 'nerd getting the prom queen' part I don't agree with...but then I'm not a guy and I was never anywhere close to being the prom queen.
Byron's Breck Brood is one of those things that could have worked out had it been handled differently. Had we been able to care about them. The potential was there, but ... I just can't stand that part of the story. To me, that is where the strain of things on jms really shows up.
I think it worked better on paper but I also noticed while doing the 'read and watch' thing that there were some moments that were cut that showed Byron among his people that might have helped to sell their devotion to him better. I also think it didn't help that all of his group were unspeaking until the point where the group split up. Thinking back to "A Race Through Dark Places", we were far more sympathetic to those rogue telepaths because we heard their stories.
One thing for sure. In this volume and the last one you can practically feel JMS's exhaustion back then radiating off the page.