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Keywords: Internet, web, cyber culture, sleaze

Title: Internet Babylon

Author: Greg Holden

Publisher: APress

ISBN: 1590592999

Media: Book

Verdict: An easy read, though not especially full of revelations

I have to admit to feeling a little bit disappointed with this book. Perhaps it's because the obvious, (and explicitly stated), references to Kenneth Anger's Babylon books set a certain expectation. Or perhaps it's that having been around the internet for a very long time, there's a certain jadedness about books and articles that purport to lift the lid on all that sleaze out here in cyberland without really delivering the goods.

What this book does do is provide a none too-serious romp through the highways and byways of the internet. It's a bite-sized sort of affair, which makes this a good book for dipping if you don't feel inclined to do a cover-to-cover job. The contents range from the odd to the mildly salacious to the pedestrian. It's written up in a relaxed kind of way, with a good-humour that doesn't grate too much.

While there's nothing actually wrong with the book, there really isn't very much that's especially new or exciting. The title had suggested visions of a book that dished the dirt on dot com trillionaires and their wild sexual antics. Or perhaps a book that really looked at shone a pale light on some of the really sleazy stuff out there: Yahoo splatter groups, necrophile sites etc. Instead we get dancing hamsters, Claire Swire and the like. Perhaps that's unfair, the book does also cover a wide range of material, from Charlie Manson fan sites to political scandals to the origins of spam.

Despite being an easy and enjoyable read, this is a book that just doesn't quite live up to its promise. Somewhere there's a Kenneth Anger for the internet generation just waiting to delve into the places the rest of us have never been. Now that's a book worth waiting for.

This review was first published at Black Star Review

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