July 14, 1997 12:00 PM

by Johnny Deep, illustrated by Bruce Tinsley

Ever since the Official Preppy Handbook appeared in 1980, humorists have applied the field-guide metaphor to a variety of social subspecies. This year’s target is computer geeks—those goofy types who live for Web surfing and X-Files trivia. Author Johnny Deep (a self-described nerd and creator of the-geek.com Web site) has assembled this inane collection of quizzes, cartoons and faux e-mail in a misguided effort to define—and elevate—the geek beast.

The Complete Geek’s questionnaires are designed to establish a reader’s GQ (geek quotient). If you identify with the Dilbert comic strip, dig the Internet and believe firmly in the existence of aliens, you’re already a member of this burgeoning new subculture. For those who prefer celebrity geekdom, Deep also profiles big-name geeks, from Al Gore to Gillian Anderson, with special attention to the Geek King himself, Bill Gates.

Alas, Deep’s nonsatirical treatment is too bland and cuddly. To make matters worse, the only chapter that demonstrates any real wit—a lexicon of Geek-speak—is unoriginal. Any true geek will tell you that the wired world’s flashiest monthly magazine has run a genuinely amusing jargon column for years. (Broadway, $10)

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