Hippo Eats Dwarf: A Field Guide to Hoaxes and Other B.S.
Harvest, 2006 (2006)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
f the title and front cover did not make clear to you the tone of this amusing '
Field Guide to Hoaxes and Other B.S.
', the first sentence would - '
We live in a hippo-eats-dwarf world.
' Alex Boese then proceeds to explain the
news item reported in certain UK and Australian newspapers, and of course regularly regurgitated on the Internet, in this '
world that's fake and growing faker every day, in increasingly bizarre ways.
Hippo Eats Dwarf
, Boese (who also wrote
Museum of Hoaxes
) tells us '
how to survive in an insane world in which the line between truth and fiction has completely blurred.
' Along the way he tosses out a glossary of terminology like
which is just what it sounds like, or
Magic Mouse Diet
Virtual weight loss achieved through the click of a mouse (digital alteration of a photo), rather than a reduction in calories.
he author organizes his material into chapters ranging from
(there's even one on
). Interspersed with accounts of hippo hoaxes are
, such as '
Extraordinary claims about advances in reproductive science require extraordinary proof. Demonstration of the ability to hold a press conference does not constitute extraordinary proof
' or '
News is what people want to keep hidden; everything else is publicity.
pecific hoaxes include familiar
and faux blogs. The
Fake CNN News Generator
- which must have caused all kinds of confusion - was new to me. I plan to check out the
website, and - as an avid SF fan - I'm disappointed I never received the
Time Travel Spammer
email or the one about flesh-eating bananas. But real-life fakery also fascinates; we're told of Japanese who hire actors as
for social occasions. And then there's the American
who wanted Klingon to be his son's first language!
n the surface,
Hippo Eats Dwarf
is hilarious, but this modern blurring of reality is also disturbing - it's not SARS or avian 'flu we need to watch out for in this millennium, but - wildly infectious and spreading at net-speeds - the
Listen to a podcast interview with Alex Boese at
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