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"We sell lies," write Tor Hyams and David Scharff. "Fierce.com is our excuse for spilling misinformation on the public's lap each week." Well, sort of. Actually, it's a Web site where they post weekly reviews of other people's Web sites, and Fierce.com: The Exclusive Book for Web Elitists contains a couple hundred of them culled from the first few years of the site's existence.
Be advised, however: this is just a collection of Web site reviews approximately the same way The Divine Comedy is just a bunch of notes from Dante's dream journal. Highly opinionated (verging on warped), these speed-typed, barely edited write-ups only occasionally provide a straight-line glimpse of the sites they purport to critique. More often the review is a pretext for a deranged rant about evil alien show dogs, an erotic reverie on getting turned on by Archie comics as a child, or some other peek into the oddly charming inner lives of cousins Scharff and Hyams.
Lamentably, the sheer quantity of reviews gathered here, combined with the authors' off-the-cuff, Web-native style, means the reviewers' efforts themselves often deserve their own most lukewarm rating: Not Quite. But Hyams' brother Matt's humorous interludes (trippy riffs on, say, obscure mail-order products or U.S. diplomatic efforts to get a look at Saddam Hussein's nether regions) are never less than laugh-out-loud hilarious. And overall, the reviewers hit their marks too, providing a sharply personal snapshot of the Web that earns them their own highest praise: this book is Fierce. --Julian Dibbell
On their web page, Fierce.com, the authors offer highly opinionated reviews of mostly iconoclastic sites, ranging from the animal kingdom (Big Dave's Cow Page) to the erotic (Hot-N-Nasty Toons) to Zines (The Smoking Gun). This collection of reviews is not the Internet Yellowpages but rather a sourcebook for net surfing connoisseurs.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.