How to Read Enterzone

First of all, make a bookmark from our home page (More on this later.) The most important thing to remember is that there's no right way to read Enterzone. Read as much or as little as interests you. Spend hours pouring over it, and exploring the many links from it to the rest of the Web, or visit a page or two and go on your merry way. This is the '90s, so there's no need to apologize for a short attention span.

A 'zine for browsers

Enterzone was designed with browsers in mind. Not web browsers in the sense of World Wide Web client programs such as Netscape, lynx, and so on, but people who like to read a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and who don't mind having some cool pictures to look at as well. That's the way most people read print too, especially magazines.

Our boundaries may not be as clear as the front and back cover of a print publication, and OK so maybe you'll drift over the border into some other realm of the Web without realizing it. So much the better. This is a zone we hope you enjoy passing through.

Not everyone's comfortable with completely unstructured media, so Enterzone is not just a big warehouse with a lot of cool junk under tarps. It's organized in all kinds of fiendishly clever ways, as you'll see with a little exploration. Not interested in serendipity? Take the path of least resistance.

The 'Path' is not just a page

Each episode of Enterzone has a Path of Least Resistance page built in (the link in this sentence takes you to the Path of the current episode). An episode's Path takes you to every article, in a coherent order planned out by a team of highly trained professional editors (OK, a small team).

Then again, there's no guarantee that the Path will take you to every page in Enterzone. Some elements of the 'zine hover outside the particular episodes (such as the Letters to the Zone), and other pages lurk like easter eggs, waiting to be discovered by the curious. So some exploration may be required.

But the Path is not just a static table of contents. It's embedded into each article, in the form of links "Forward to such-and-such" and "Back to so-and-so" at the bottom of each page, along with a link back to the Path, and the ubiquitous Enterzone link, which appears at the bottom of every page in the zone (except for the home page itself).

Go "off the path"

So now that you know that there's a nice easy passive way to scour the zone, consider just wandering. Discover your own striking juxtapositions. read backwards from the end (that's what i do with print magazines), follow whatever tangents and vagaries arise. If you run across something that looks interesting but perhaps a little too involved for your coffee break, make a bookmark and come back later.

Even print it out if you like

At least the text and some of the pictures. None of the other media (the sounds, etc.) will do too well in your laser printer. We realize that it's still more fun to read off paper, and sit where you like, and be comfortable. Just because we don't print Enterzone up and hand it out doesn't mean you can't (well, don't start handing it out).

We're always in the same place

When a new episode is released, its cover becomes the Enterzone home page. This is partly so that you'll always know where to look for the latest episode. It's always the same address (

Old home pages never die, they just get referred to as the "cover" of the past episode and lose their place in the center of the Enterverse. The old episodes likewise stay where they were, archived forever. A lot of Enterzone's threads run from episode to episode, so you may find yourself reading a different episode if you follow a link that leads backward.

Topical tables of contents

Each Enterzone home page, since episode 3, has listed a number of different topical tables of contents that enable you to look for a specific type of article (a story, a cartoon, a piece of music, and so on). On some old cover pages (between episodes 3 and 10), if there's only one example of that genre in the particular episode, the topic link will take you directly to it. If your connection makes it impossible or unfeasible to see pictures, for example, you can go to the Writing page and see an all-text zone.

If such categories (there are thematic ones as well) are of no use to you, simply ignore them and they won't get in your way.

Make a Bookmark!

Bookmarks, hotlist entries, favorites, call it what you will. Every browser has some method of saving a web address to a list for later reference. Graphical browsers such as Netscape and Internet Explorer Mosaic put the hotlist on a menu (till it gets too long). Other browsers create a local page on your computer and take you to it when you want to see your bookmarks. Personally, I think you should make bookmarks all the time. They're easy enough to get rid of, but you won't browse the Web for long before you find yourself thinking "now where did I see that cool. . . ?"

And of course I'm biased, but if you make an Enterzone bookmark, you're as good as subscribed, since future episodes will appear at that same address. Take your time and really enjoy the zone. There's a lot here, but we only come out once every three months, so there's no rush! (And if you use Netscape's "What's New" feature in the Bookmarks dialog box, or Internet Explorer 4,0's Subscription feature, you'll actually be notified when the home page changes.)

Got a Slow Feed?

Enterzone always warns you about the size of large files (some images, sound files, and so on). If you're concerned about a sluggish connection or even a relatively speedy modem, you might want to turn off automatic image loading. Most of the art in Enterzone is linked to itself (this is mainly for the benefit of Lynx users, so they can download the graphics files by selecting the alternate text they seet instead of art), so if you decide you do want (or need) to see the art on a given page, you can select the image placeholder, and see the art. It will appear on a page with no built-in links, so you'll have to use the "back" button or command for your browser to return to the page you jumped from.

Just passing through?

That's cool. This is a zone, not a nation-state. Linger a while if you like. Or nose around a little and be on your way. Come back again when you have more time.

I've always admired Streetfare Journal, that organization that buys ads on buses and subways and publishes poems there. If Enterzone can trick you into reading a poem, briefly divert your attention from your work, then we've succeeded.

Looking for a back episode?

There's a link from the home page and from every Path to the Meta-index, which currently features a table of episodes listing all the episodes in reverse chronological order. (Someday, it should offer additional cross-sections of the ever-expanding zone.)

Meet the authors

There's a little something about every Enterzone author, each on their own page. Each episode's About the Authors page lists all the contributors to that episode, with links to their articles. The byline of each article takes you to the author's page. Author pages contain links to the Master List of Enterzone Contributors, which organizes all the contents of the zone by author, and only secondarily by the episode in which the work appears. So wander through our gallery of authors and sample their work.

The other dedicated people who put the Enterzone together can be found on the Masthead.

Join the symposium

We'd like your opinion. Want to take exception with something you've read? Add another angle to one of our articles? Send us a letter or a submission query. Your letter or follow-up article (if we decide to publish it) will be linked to the original to which you were responding.

When and how to leave

There are two links from the home page and from the path that point you in the direction of other interesting places on the Web. One goes to our page of Other eZines We Like. The other goes to our Classified Web Pages, where readers have submitted their favorite links or their own pages (for the moment, I'm afraid, that section is woefully out-of-date; we have a re-design in the works, but for the moments, the contents are several year in arrears.

If you find yourself in some other cool zone by following one of our links, and your interested enough to comment, tell the webmaster there we sent you.

Get back

Enterzone comes built-in with lots of useful links, but don't forget your own personal trail of breadcrumbs - the history page or list on your Go menu - especially if you wander out of the zone to an area that's not linked back to it and still want to return. If not, godspeed to you.

Artists complain: too many metaphors of text

OK, true. How to "read" Enterzone, we say. We talk about "authors." Guilty as charged. So you don't literally read paintings, or sounds. So sue us. And doesn't author just mean anyone who creates something? The moving hand behind the pen, brush, or mouse? You are each the author of your own version of the zone.


If you'd like a gentle reminder whenever a new Enterzone episode comes out, drop by the Subscriptions page and send us your e-mail address. We'll send a single mailing out to all subscribers every time there's a new release (quarterly), and no junk mail, so don't worry. When we're truly disorganized, we will fail to announce an episode. Remember, we come out quarterly and we haven't missed an episode yet.

Want to know how Enterzone is put together?

We pride ourself on an elegant, inclusive web-page design, and structured, easy-to-read source pages. Most browsers will let you see the HTML pages that underly the Web pages you're reading. If you're curious, just peek.

If you want to learn more about web design and creation, there's a section dedicated to it in the Classifieds (not to mention in the much better maintained public directories and search web sites).

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Time to get on with it. Don't forget to make a bookmark (go back to the Enterzone home page first)!

Christian Crumlish

Copyright © 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997