Worst SFF Book Ever

LostCosmonaut

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The Eye of Aragon by Jim Theis . I saw a sample page of this book . I can never unsee what ive just read !! :eek:
Eye of Argon is hilarious, LOL. I'll never think of the word "lithe" the same way again. But unlike some cases where I've seen slapdash fiction by people who should know better---*cough* Harry Turtledove *cough*---I can't fault Theis that much. My writing was also pretty embarrassing when I was a teenager.
 

Venusian Broon

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---I can't fault Theis that much. My writing was also pretty embarrassing when I was a teenager.
Exactly, it is a first stab at writing and, fair play to him, he did actually finish a novella (how many people can say that?) He was only 16 when he wrote it.

What is bizarre is how it managed to get published. I assume that it was a very small magazine who had no other work to put to press, and no time, of course, to edit it properly!

As others have pointed out, nowadays you can get c**p much worse on loads of platforms. This just has pedigree.
 

BAYLOR

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Exactly, it is a first stab at writing and, fair play to him, he did actually finish a novella (how many people can say that?) He was only 16 when he wrote it.

What is bizarre is how it managed to get published. I assume that it was a very small magazine who had no other work to put to press, and no time, of course, to edit it properly!

As others have pointed out, nowadays you can get c**p much worse on loads of platforms. This just has pedigree.
Eye of Argon is hilarious, LOL. I'll never think of the word "lithe" the same way again. But unlike some cases where I've seen slapdash fiction by people who should know better---*cough* Harry Turtledove *cough*---I can't fault Theis that much. My writing was also pretty embarrassing when I was a teenager.

You're both right . :)



Clark Ashton Smith at age 14 wrote His only full length novel The Black Diamonds. It's an adventure novel and its actually not a bad read at all. :cool:
 

hitmouse

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I found this book in 2016 and cannot resist bringing it back to the table now: Dale M. Courtney's Moon People

Unfortunately I have yet to purchase and read it.

Here is a (five star) review that it received in 2018 by Jon P.

<Set phasers to ultra-dense sarcasm>

"First of all, let me be clear in stating that I do not normally write reviews of any kind. Still, such was the level of Dale M. Courtney's writing, I felt compelled to comment. This book is, without exaggeration, the best book I have ever had the honor of reading. The author has achieved something beyond traditional storytelling, and introduces the literary world to a new paradigm in what can be done with the written word. ‘Moon People’ is not limited to the confines of Pre-Courtney literature, that readers have perhaps naively come to expect. Elements like ‘plot’ and ‘tense’; all of these things are thrown out with bold abandon, as Courtney weaves an engaging tale of a man who gets offered a job on a space station, then accepts the job on the space station.

Throughout this 80 page masterpiece, Courtney introduces the reader to further development of the English language, as Shakespeare had in the early 1600’s, or more recently Orwell’s ‘1984’. Take for instance, Courtney’s “...a basket Ball court”. Such bold phrasing suggests that this is not a regular basketball court, but a new, evolved understanding. The author leaves the reader to construct the rules of this new game. Courtney then tosses aside the convention of regular punctuation, by gliding between character dialogue, without the reader being informed which character is doing the speaking, a clear critique of the modern socio-political climate. As a final masterstroke of wordsmithing, the author absorbs the reader into the world he has created by delicately dancing between referring the protagonist as “he”, then in the very next sentence, referring to them as “I”. This dichotomy confronts the reader with the question: “who is this protagonist, David Breymer?” Is it Courtney himself? Is it the reader the protagonist? Courtney again challenges the reader, by deftly adding seemingly random question marks to what appears like statements. The reader must then question the very foundation of the story. Is this story happening at all? Following the tradition of Lewis Carrol and a closer sci-fi contemporary, Phillip K Dick, Courtney slyly suggests that not everything is what it seems.

As if crafting new literary constructs were not enough, the author excels in gently guiding the reader through the minefield of complex techno-jargon and advanced high level astrophysics. With obvious mastery of the material, Courtney succinctly explains with otherwise would be incomprehensible to the average layperson. The scientists in the story discuss amongst themselves terms like “science stuff” and “radio emitters that can detect what gases and rocks or whatever else the planets are made of”. Courtney does not bog down the reader with heavy science, as to not distract from the main emotional core of the protagonist journey, that of the protagonist experiencing no conflict or challenges whatsoever.

I would consider myself a voracious reader, and a true lover of the written word. As a rough estimate, I would venture to say that I have read in my lifetime, upwards of seven books, perhaps even as many as nine. Still, no other written work has come anywhere close to this; not Tolstoy’s War and Peace, not the King James Bible. It is a privilege to read a work that will no doubt be required student reading in the future, and a foundational work in which surely new areas of study will emerge."

Also I like the review that stated:

"My favorite part is when Courtney decides not to describe what the admiral's U.S.S Lunar Base One looks like, and instead he opts to show the reader a picture of the Death Star."
Out of curiosity I looked this series up on Amazon. The bio and the reviews suggest a class act.
 

Matteo

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Isn't that what I said? Well-paid consultants parachuted in at great expense to spend (in Matteo's case) a week covering the upper echelons' arses by providing 'training' for the lower ranks. "Can't be our fault it all went tits up - we paid squillions for them to get trained to do it."
Not that I want to rush to the defence of the government/civil service...but the course was given by a more senior civil servant. I think back then the use of outside consultants was quite low.

Different story these days...

I also had to respond to letters written to the SoS and saw some real doozies!

But back on topic (sorry!) I would say Dhalgren.
 

BAYLOR

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Not that I want to rush to the defence of the government/civil service...but the course was given by a more senior civil servant. I think back then the use of outside consultants was quite low.

Different story these days...

I also had to respond to letters written to the SoS and saw some real doozies!

But back on topic (sorry!) I would say Dhalgren.

I tried to read Dhalgren twice . The book makes no sense.
 

JunkMonkey

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Exactly, it is a first stab at writing and, fair play to him, he did actually finish a novella (how many people can say that?) He was only 16 when he wrote it.

I used to have a few copies of 1950's British comic Tarzan Adventures which was edited by a 16 year old Mike Moorcock. One of the copies included part of a serial written by Moorcock called Sojan the Sworsdman - which was pretty abominable. Everyone has got to start somewhere.
 

BAYLOR

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I used to have a few copies of 1950's British comic Tarzan Adventures which was edited by a 16 year old Mike Moorcock. One of the copies included part of a serial written by Moorcock called Sojan the Sworsdman - which was pretty abominable. Everyone has got to start somewhere.

I read a Sojan story. Yep , pretty wretched stuff.
 

hitmouse

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I used to have a few copies of 1950's British comic Tarzan Adventures which was edited by a 16 year old Mike Moorcock. One of the copies included part of a serial written by Moorcock called Sojan the Sworsdman - which was pretty abominable. Everyone has got to start somewhere.
I own the book!
1645023658013.png
 

hitmouse

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It's OK. We'll still talk to you. :)


I was aware that it had been printed but I also read somewhere it had been substantially revised since its first appearance in print.
I think I have an early printing. Got it years ago as part of a Moorcock completist obsession, and I don't think I have ever read it: it just looked too rubbish. Clearly written as juvenilia.
 

BAYLOR

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I think I have an early printing. Got it years ago as part of a Moorcock completist obsession, and I don't think I have ever read it: it just looked too rubbish. Clearly written as juvenilia.

Sojan is not even fun to read.
 

The Big Peat

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Good cover though.

Anyway, I am here to suggest a recent option - Zabe Ellor's Silk Fire, currently boasting a more or less unheard of 2.06 on Goodreads

For context, Eye of Argon comes in at 2.67 and Amanda McKittrick Ros' Irene Iddesleigh, sometimes referred to as the worst book ever written, is at 2.05.

As someone who has read Silk Fire myself, it features bizarre, sometimes nonsensical prose, throwaway and confusing worldbuilding, one-note characters, a rushed and non-connective plot, and other than that, is absolutely atrocious.
 

BAYLOR

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Agreed. They are somewhat intense and there is absolutely no fun in them at all. You almost get the feeling the author was pushing a philosophy (yuk!). I've included themes of power exchange in my erotic fantasy stories, but I tend to make sure the boot is on the other (feminine) foot.

I think there is a live action For film . Ive never seen it . But im wonder if the movie is better then the book its baed on ? :D
 

JunkMonkey

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I think there is a live action [G]or film . Ive never seen it . But im wonder if the movie is better then the book its baed on ? :D

There were two. I've seen both. (I think - from the reuse of locations and presence of big name star of both Jack Palance only turning up for a couple of minutes at the end of the first - that they were shot back to back.) Neither are good but (from memory) have far less of the misogynistic BDSM slavery than the books - and no Tarns either - just another couple of the era's many routine cheapish Sword & Sorcery / Barbarian films.


Oh MST3K did the sequel!
 
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Extollager

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I'm sure there are many worse books. When I saw this thread, though, what came to mind was a Lovecraft-type novel, The Great White Space by Basil Copper. I don't read Lovecraft these days, but 45 years or so ago I did, and I'd read (some of) his imitators too; but this one it seems I couldn't bring myself to finish. Happily for me, it was a library copy, not something I'd paid money for.

1668700906296.png
 

BAYLOR

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I'm sure there are many worse books. When I saw this thread, though, what came to mind was a Lovecraft-type novel, The Great White Space by Basil Copper. I don't read Lovecraft these days, but 45 years or so ago I did, and I'd read (some of) his imitators too; but this one it seems I couldn't bring myself to finish. Happily for me, it was a library copy, not something I'd paid money for.

View attachment 95530

One of the best lovcraftain type novels ive ever read.I enjoyed it and, might even reread it at some point. :cool:
 

pogopossum

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I'm not masochistic enough to go through this entire thread for previous nominations, but I would suggest an entire series that is so bad that I think that it must have been ghost written. The author was actually somewhat creative in his early writing career.
I am referring to the Battlefield Earth saga by L. Ron Hubbard.
You can dismiss this nomination because although I started two of them they each were DNFs.
Also tried to watch the movie version at a 30 hour SF movie marathon. It provided me with a nice deep sleep.
 

Bick

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I'm not masochistic enough to go through this entire thread for previous nominations, but I would suggest an entire series that is so bad that I think that it must have been ghost written. The author was actually somewhat creative in his early writing career.
I am referring to the Battlefield Earth saga by L. Ron Hubbard.
You can dismiss this nomination because although I started two of them they each were DNFs.
Also tried to watch the movie version at a 30 hour SF movie marathon. It provided me with a nice deep sleep.
You mean his Mission Earth series perhaps? Battlefield Earth is a standalone novel and the movie is only about 2 h long. I actually enjoyed the book when I was 13, but perhaps wouldn't now.
 

pogopossum

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Thanks for the correction. Somewhere between the 35 years since I picked up Battlefield and the death of brain cells my memory homogenized all of his post-Scientology invasion writings together. Looked up the plots. Similarities, but different stories. It was Battlfield. I did think that I'd picked up more than one book. Perhaps if i had actually been able to read more than a couple of dozen pages I'd actually be able to differentiate - - -
 

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