Title: The Darwin Awards
Author: Wendy Northcutt
Page Count/Review Word Count: 288
First off, I feel like I need to explain what the Darwin Awards actually are in case you somehow haven’t heard of them. The idea of a Darwin Award is that it’s a posthumous accolade that’s given to people who have removed themselves from the gene pool – therefore acting as examples of the theory of evolution and natural selection in action – by dying in unusual or idiotic ways.
And thus the Darwin Awards were born, and whilst it originally built up momentum as a mailing list at Stanford University, it moved on to becoming a fully fledged website soon afterwards. In fact, it was one of the earliest examples of a viral website on the internet, which is why I get annoyed when people haven’t heard of it – it’s like they missed out on a geeky bit of history.
This book was written by the woman who launched the site, and it gathers together “180 bizarre true stories of how humans met their maker”. Now, it did admittedly feel a little dated, because it was published in 2000 and because each of the entries had their date listed, but it wasn’t so dated that it was inaccessible.
In fact, it was pretty well done, and I’m impressed that there’s a book this old that was created due to an internet phenomenon – it must be one of the first books of its kind. My only problem with it is that it actually started to get depressing – after all, you’re reading about the deaths of real people. It’s entertaining, but also sad to think that people have lost their loved ones.