Two ‘Unfortunate’ sites

The British and the American publishers of the Lemony Snicket books — what’s that? You haven’t heard of them? Lemony Snicket is the purported author of a series of books about three plucky but wretchedly treated children who are left orphaned and pursued by a dangerous uncle. The series is fairly popular, and there’s a movie being made about them. Where was I? Oh, right, two publishers, each with Web sites about the books.

The British one,, is the one to visit first; the sense of mystery and fun of the books is translated here very well. The “Arcade” is chock full of amusing one-player games, and the “Widgets” section has postcards and the promise of future icons to play with as well. What the site does not do, is tell you much about the books i.e. where to get them, what format they’re in, and so forth. But the lively message boards offers a great resource that makes up for this.

Egmont Books Limited runs the British site, and their news section titled “The Dismal Chronicle: All the News in Fits of Print” is kept quite fresh.

The American version, while quite well done and built out, just doesn’t have the same sense of independence or production. There are games here, but none so interactive. On the other hand, there is an extensive guide of exactly what books are available in which formats, and the art on the site is clearly taken from the books themselves.

Also, several of the site’s features (the e-card, the sledding game, the artist’s link) go to outside sites that jar a little.

It will be interesting to see how the movie’s Web site meshes with these and other Snicket fan sites as its Dec. 2004 release approaches.

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