Due to some unfortunate circumstances, I have been finding myself with an over abundant amount of down time on my hands. This down time, coupled with quite a speedy DSL connection has led me to surf the Internets more than usual. My normal web use generally consists of the mundane; e-mail, news, a forum post or two, Twitter and the rare Facebook visit. Now I find myself clicking on random links just to waste some time to try to overcome my boredom. One great site for random link clicking is Digg.
A couple of nights ago I ran into the following headline that was in the ‘Top in 24 Hours’ list: Best First Page of Any Book Ever? [PIC] With over 4,000 diggs I got curious.
The link takes you to a picture of exactly what the headline describes; the first page of someone’s book. After reading it my first thoughts were, “This can’t possibly be real”. After all, one wouldn’t need to be a graphics genius to whip this up in Photoshop. Being skeptical about the authenticity of this amazing work of literary brilliance, I scrolled down to read some of the comments. The comments on Digg can oftentimes be funnier than the stories and you can count on someone to call out a fake usually within the first few posts.
What I found instead was a post containing some links to apparently vouch for the book’s authenticity. One of the links was to yet another page of the book. While funny to read it still could have easily been Photoshopped. The second link was to the author, Dale Courtney’s, blog on a Barack Obama web site. The site is real enough, however, it wouldn’t take someone too much time to set up the blog account. In fact, in the amount of time that I have already wasted on this post, I could have easily created a Dale Courtney blog.
The third link on this post was to Amazon. The thought that this is some sort of elaborate hoax was beginning to dwindle at this point. Although, anyone can sell items on Amazon (How to sell your stuff on Amazon.com) I find it very difficult to believe that someone would actually put in this amount of time and energy for a joke. By the way, the reviews on the book are quite amusing. I especially like the collectible edition available for $1,000.
While visiting Mr. Courtney’s blog one can’t help but notice a link to his book’s page at Xlibris. For those of you not in the know, Xlibris is a self-publishing book company. This means that anyone can write a book and Xlibris will publish it for you cutting out all of those pesky middle men, such as editors. My theory of this being a hoax, albeit a rather elaborate one, was pretty much destroyed at this point. While it’s true that someone could have planned out this whole thing, Xlibris doesn’t publish your book for free. In fact, the cheapest package they offer is $299. While I can buy the idea that someone or a few someones had an abundant amount of time on their hands to create a very clever hoax, I can’t fathom that someone would pay a few hundred dollars for it.
At this point it gets hard to wrap your head around. If this isn’t a hoax that means we have to believe that Dale M. Courtney really exists (read his bio), he wrote Moon People, and paid Xlibris a few hundred dollars to publish it. But wait – this story doesn’t end here. Mr. Courtney has published a sequel; Moon People 2.
I have one final thought on this entire Moon People saga. Due to the viral nature of the Internets it is actually possible that this book may sell a handful of copies. It is also possible that it may end up on-line in its entirety (the book only has 77 pages) for all to enjoy. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a video adaptation using LEGOs show up on YouTube. Hmm, now there’s a way to waste some time…