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 Â£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 Peachpitâ€™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 â€œRude Things in My fridge,â€ or â€œDermatology in the Cinema,â€ this book is for you. The back cover of The Weird Wide Web promises â€œanswers to lifeâ€™s most profound mysteries,â€ but this opus redefines the meaning of â€œprofound.â€
The Weird Wide Web is a lightweight in another crucial aspect. At 131 pages for $13/$18/Â£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 Whatâ€™s On the Web 1997 (Eric Gagnon, editor; Internet Media).
Black and white photos and screen shots illustrate many of the â€œbizarre back roads of the Web.â€ 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 Foolâ€™s Day joke.
The authors also advise us to â€œLighten up. Our advice: laugh.â€ David and Erfert suggest Yahooâ€™s Useless Pages Index and the â€œCentre for the Easily Amused.â€ My advice is to dredge up your own personal set of weird wonders of the Web.
How do I say this diplomatically? Iâ€™m disappointed. Next time, authors and publisher, please give us a better book at a better price.
P.S.- David Pogue reminds me that: â€œIt’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!â€