Margot Mifflin
January 26, 1996 AT 05:00 AM EST

Considering that only 20 to 40 percent of subscribers to commercial online services are women, Net Chick: A Smart-Girl Guide to the Wired World is a book whose time has come. Journalist Carla Sinclair explains how to access the World Wide Web and various computer bulletin-board services, recommends different sites and conferences for women to explore, and interviews prominent cyberwomen — from Jude Milhon, a pioneering hacker, to Romana Machado, a software developer who is convinced technology holds the solution to mortality. ”You’re a Net Chick whether you use your modem for email only,” writes Sinclair, ”or whether you.take advantage of the Net for communication, information gathering, business transactions [and] entertainment.” Betraying a weakness for the frivolous, Sinclair emphasizes access to information on entertainment, sex, and fashion, skipping over computer culture’s more political enclaves. Although her teenybopper writing style doesn’t afford much critical perspective, Sinclair’s infectious enthusiasm and hands-on knowledge make Net Chick a fun and user-friendly guide to the digital world. B+

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