The Weird Wide Web
by Erfert Fenton and David Pogue
IDG Books Worldwide, www.idgbooks.com
ISBN 0-7645-4004-1, 131 pages.
$12.99 USA $17.99 Canada £11.99 UK
David Pogue is at the top of the heap of Macintosh writers with enough books and Macworld columns to his credit to topple a large bookcase. Erfert Fenton is a technical writer, with both magazine articles and books, including Peachpit’s The Macintosh Font Book.
The World Wide Web (WWW) is the ideal medium for contemporary info-tainment, but it also contains a hearty quantity of frivolity and triviality. Erfert (www.fentonia.com/erf) and David (www.concentric.net/-Pogue) combined forces to assist us in enjoying many bizarre and outrageous Web sites.
This book is very silly. If your taste in offbeat humor includes extensive discussion of “Rude Things in My fridge,” or “Dermatology in the Cinema,” this book is for you. The back cover of The Weird Wide Web promises “answers to life’s most profound mysteries,” but this opus redefines the meaning of “profound.”
The Weird Wide Web is a lightweight in another crucial aspect. At 131 pages for $13/$18/£12, this book is worth barely 25 percent of its price. A few of the full-service Internet directories have listings for unusual sites, such as Chapter 13 in What’s On the Web 1997 (Eric Gagnon, editor; Internet Media).
Black and white photos and screen shots illustrate many of the “bizarre back roads of the Web.” The book is just that; a book, with no CD-ROM disk. There is a dedicated URL (Uniform Resource Locater, or Internet address) for the book, at
Are you in the market for UFO Abduction Insurance (www.gslink.net/~ufo) or a juicy Shakespearean Insult (www.nova.edu/Inter-Links/cgi-bin/bard.pl)? If so, plunge right into The Weird Wide Web. If not, however, the book will seem to be an IDG Books-sanctioned April Fool’s Day joke.
The authors also advise us to “Lighten up. Our advice: laugh.” David and Erfert suggest Yahoo’s Useless Pages Index and the “Centre for the Easily Amused.” My advice is to dredge up your own personal set of weird wonders of the Web.
How do I say this diplomatically? I’m disappointed. Next time, authors and publisher, please give us a better book at a better price.
P.S.- David Pogue reminds me that: “It’d be silly indeed to pay $13 for the book when it’s available from www.pogueman.com or Amazon.com for $10.40, no tax. And our Web site for the book includes excerpts, a guided tour of 20 of the Weird sites, picture of the cover, and so on. Hope this helps!”