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_XKCD, Volume 0_, by Randall Munroe
Bar Harbor
I recently received my copy of the first collection of the XKCD webcomic. Inevitably, it is numbered 'Volume 0'.

The book is printed in black and white and red. It's not an archival style reprint, but a selection of his favorites in what appear to be a random order... though on second thought, it probably isn't. Strangely, the titles to the strips are not included, which in a few cases weakens the humor. The alt-text *is* included, at least in most cases, in a teeny-tiny font tucked in a gutter between panels.

What's the added value, that might make you want to buy reprints of what is freely available online? Quite a bit, actually. An introduction by the author. Much silliness even in the fine print of the copyright page. Many of the strips have commentary, which is amusing, insightful, or quite literally puzzling. About half of the comments are written in obscure languages or actually *encrypted*, and no two of them seem to use the same method.

There's even a puzzle of sorts in the page numbering. At first I thought, "Oh cute, he's numbering in binary." Then I noticed some 2s, and thought, "Ah, binary was insufficiently geeky, so he's using trinary." But then I noticed that there weren't *enough* 2s for it to be trinary. He's chosen (or perhaps invented) a numbering system obscure enough that I've never heard of it!

This is easily the geekiest book I own. The only one I can think of which comes close is _House of Leaves_ (which, appropriately, is lovingly parodied in one of the strips reprinted here). Highly recommended.


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