The Best of The Joy of Tech
Book Review

The Best of The Joy of Tech
Nitrozac and Snaggy
Publisher: O’Reilly and Associates
ISBN: 0-596-00578-4
Page Count: 192
Rating: 4/5

I must be crazy; I was flamed so badly after my last review of a cartoon book (published on a much less friendly site) that I had to replace my asbestos review suit. ‘The Best of Joy of Tech‘ may be worth the risk.

Of course it’s easy to enjoy a cartoon book by a pair of cartoonists that share your prejudices. It is obvious from the cartoons that Nitrozac and Snaggy are Macintosh loving, Linux leaning, Microsoft loathing geeks. Hmmm, sounds like me.

Not that Nitrozac and Snaggy are totally one-eyed. They still have a dig at Apple and Macintosh owners along the way. Unlike quite a lot of cartoons about tech these two also see the more human side, just as likely to make a joke about your cat’s relationship to you and the computer as poke fun at LARTing end-users or pointy-headed bosses. Their cartoons are more about living with technology than working with it.

The book reproduces a couple of hundred of ‘The Joy of Tech‘ cartoons from their website, in improved color and resolution. The website features a new cartoon every couple of days. There are also a small number that are original for the book and some funny marginalia in a couple of spots. It also has the matching JoyPoll and a short comment about the cartoon in a ‘JoyWorld’ section at the back of the book.

I find a fairly large number of the cartoons repeatedly funny and most of the rest worth a chuckle. These two have a good eye for the whimsical, ironic and downright funny side to a wired in, geek life. They even manage to get in a sly reference to geek site Slashdot with a fake O’Reilly book, “Trolling In a Nutshell” with a troll wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with “FIRST POST” on the cover and an Introduction by ‘Anonymous Coward’.

Oh, that reminds me. The book has a very Wozniak foreword by Steve himself and an introduction by David Pogue that is nowhere near as good as the book (I’m sorry David, but any self-respecting geek [male or female] would rather do almost anything than edit the Windows registry, starting with install a decent operating system and working all the way through to changing jobs, heck, I’d rather sleep with Jobs.)

The book is broken up into various sections, each with a theme. It starts with “Boot-Up” and continues with “4nim4l cr4ck3rs” (most about cats), the whimsical “Geek Love”, “Hacks and Cracks” (I loved the couple who want to get housing within 50 meters of a war-chalked wall), “Techie-daze”, “How about them *nix” (featuring the luscious ‘Linux Lass’), “The Joy of Mac”, “Who do you want to poke fun at today?” (You’ll enjoy the ‘Stress Relief Dartboard’), “Sci-Fi The Comic Frontier” and “Do You think I’m Xexy” before finishing with “The World According to Geek” (with ‘The Lord of The Root – One Geek To Rule Them All’, the two good looking woman who don’t shy away from maths and the Barbie ‘DotCom Rescue’ CD-ROM game)

If you go to Joy Of Tech you can grab a copy from the authors that has been signed (you even get a chance to ask for a custom inscription) and for an extra fee Nitrozac will even bless your book and attach a lucky sticker. You could go to the O’Reilly page, but since they don’t have example cartoons and I don’t imagine a cartoon book will ever have errata there isn’t much point.

It’s not easy to review a cartoon book. Suffice to say that I found the ‘toons in this book to be a good variety from amusing through to funny with some that are just a little too true to make me do more than groan. If you’ve never come across this pair then check out the site and if you like the last few examples then the book will not disappoint.

Tony contributes book reviews to You can read more at Tonys Book Spot – Reviews and News


Leave a Reply