Cruiser Bruiser v. Merchantman Minnow: My Entry to the Bad Writing Contest


Well-Known Member
Feb 22, 2009
It was my endeavor to make a science fiction story that was as bad as possible, incorporating all the worst that science fiction has to offer. Please let me know how I did.


Imperial Star Cruiser I.S.C. Bruiser hove into view, its batteries bristling with fierce-looking armaments. It was menacing in shape, size, and all other ways possible to be menacing. The starship was a hated symbol of the evil Empire it served. Throughout the galaxy, wherever the cruiser and other cruisers of its ilk traveled, there was misery, suffering, despair and woe. The Empire was a menace to freedom, much like the cruiser that served it looked menacing in combat.

The crew of the Minnow, a small merchantman named after a boat in a popular 20th century TV comedy show, looked upon the Imperial cruiser chasing them with dread and fear and lack of all hope. But there was still some hope, because they had a hyper-drive engine and they were nearly free of the planetary gravitational pull of the jungle planet Aarus that made hyper-drive travel impossible.

Captain Tal Reynolds, no relationship to Captain Mal Reynolds of Firefly, which was stored on the Minnow’s computer banks because people still watched it 500 years in the future, watched the chronometer. At one time, such devices had been called clocks, but that was in a distant and forgotten past when Earth was still called Earth, and not Terra.

“Five standard Terra minutes until we can jump into hyperspace Captain,” said Mr. Block. Tal’s first mate looked almost human, but you could tell he was an alien by his cube-shaped and multi-hued head, which looked like a Rubik’s cube, a puzzle invented by a Hungarian in the late 20th century who never got royalties because he lived under an evil Empire very similar to the evil Empire that was chasing the Minnow even now.

“This time it’s going to be close,” said Tal, sweating profusely because he was under a lot of stress, “I hope this cargo of spice pays off when we get to New Hong Kong, a planet in the Free Trade Quadrant where the Empire, which usually frowns on free trade, permits free trade so long as merchants pay off corrupt Imperial officials.”

“It’s too bad the Empire is so short-sighted that it will try to destroy our ship before we get there!” exclaimed Mr. Block. “Perhaps we will never make a profit and have a chance to pay off those corrupt Imperial officials that prey off the merchants who trade in the Free Trade Quadrant on planets like New Hong Kong, which is controlled by evil corporations.”

“Perhaps we should contact the commander of this Imperial cruiser threatening to put an end to our little enterprise,” said Tal, trying to put some humor into an unhumorous situation. “We know he is evil because he serves the Empire, but perhaps he is also corrupt, and will put his own interests ahead of the masters who hold his leash.”

“Are you proposing we offer a bribe?” asked Mr. Block, astonished because the captain always had the best ideas, while he never had any.

“Yes, I am,” said the captain, demonstrating that humans really are more creative than aliens like Mr. Block from older and more traditional cultures. “The worst thing that can happen is we find out that the commander who serves our enemies is an honest man, who has no scruples about murdering all the sentient beings on an entire planet, but won’t take a shilling in dishonest profit.”

“Yes, it’s interesting that our money is very similar to the money of the old British Empire," said Mr. Block thoughtfully. "Perhaps the Empire of our time was consciously imitating that ancient culture. It would certainly explain why we have a Queen who is only a figurehead, and a Prince who is an inbred idiot."

“Before we contact the Imperial commander,” quieried Captain Reynolds, “is there any other information about the world we live in that we should discuss between ourselves? Perhaps we should take out an edition of the Galactic Encyclopedia and read it to each other?”
Last edited:
OK, well that contest is to see how badly you can write in one paragraph.

My idea is that we have a contest to see how badly you can write a story that is 10 paragraphs or so.

So far I've written the worst story. Does anyone care to challenge me?
Ah. Since you put this in Critiques I naturally thought you were showing us something you were about to submit to an existing contest, in order to get feedback, not challenging us to write something exceptionally awful right here.

Well, I'll try to think of something. Others probably will as well. But does it have to be so long? You're more likely to get people to participate if you allow for stories a lot shorter than ten paragraphs.

And as you are asking other people to contribute their stories, I am moving this from Critiques to the Workshop.
OK, no rules on how long the story is.

Here's a shorter effort to write badly, one paragraph. This time it's a Fantasy story:
Homeshire was a long way off from the nearest crossroads, set as it was on the end of a rarely travelled mule path, nestled in pleasant hills covered with wildflowers. The village folk said nothing ever happened in Homeshire, and that’s the way they liked it. The highlight of the villager’s lives was the annual visit of Yodle the merchant. He would bring stories of far away wars, distant plagues and famines, to scare the children around the campfire. But nothing ever touched the good people of Homeshire. Year after year, the crops were bountiful, the cattle were healthy, and the people grew fat. So it was a big surprise to everyone when on one hot mid-summer morning, the ravenous hordes of the Goblin King swept into the village and killed every last man, woman and child. Unless you consider Heathcliff, who was widely considered the village idiot, but survived the massacre of his family, friends and neighbors by hiding in the cellar of the alehouse. As it turned out Heathcliff was a hero, with a destiny to save the world, so it would not make sense if he died at the beginning of the story.
Heh, this was a fun excercise.


The night was dark, a storm was coming. A single candle, fluttering like the wings of so many butterflies in all the colours of the rainbow on a warm summer day after a drizzling, soft rain had fallen, could be seen in the darkness surround the small, weather-beaten cottage in its safe haven in a valley softly nestled between two hills; a valley no one knew about or ever visited.

The old man, wrinkly with long grey hair and beard, sipped his watery tea as he waited for the young, naïve farmboy he knew was right now watching his family get slaughtered like so many heads of cattle about to be feasted on by the evil King and his men. There was a prophecy, you see, and the wrinkled, greying old man knew the part he would play in what was to come, he knew how he would have to help the naïve farmboy grow into a man and that he would have to keep his eyes open to see any subtle change indicating he was ready to learn more about his destiny.

And he would have to start by telling the farmer's boy who his mother really was so he understood that he was important and had to take up the battle against the evil King, the elderly man mused thoughtfully as he stirred his watery coffee. Would it be tonight that he came? He was ready, he had prepared everything, planned everything, and now just spent his time waiting. He had a feeling it would be a night like this one, with the dark grey clouds promising torrential rain that could potentially cause the bubbling little stream near the cottage to flood and the wind howled like a pack of skinny, desperately starved wolves around the corners, the thunder and lightning deafening his ears that were already tired out of old age.
Nono, Boneman, it's Star Wars! or is it Eragon? ...I don't know. :(
Maybe we should raise the stakes? A prize for the worst story?

It occurred to me today that my bad stories are not much different from stories I've seen published and sold many copies.

Perhaps I should send a bad story to an editor and not tell him I wrote it bad on purpose. Who knows what could happen? I could be the next Terry Brooks.
Maybe we should raise the stakes? A prize for the worst story?

It occurred to me today that my bad stories are not much different from stories I've seen published and sold many copies.

Perhaps I should send a bad story to an editor and not tell him I wrote it bad on purpose. Who knows what could happen? I could be the next Terry Brooks.

Maybe we should all club together and form the 'Bad Press Publishing Company'... if I win the lottery, it would be fun to do exactly that, and see how we got on with our appalling stories. With today's fall in literacy, there's probably a whole couple of generations out there who would lap it up. Cult status, here we come.

That last line made me laugh out loud!
Thought I'd have a go at writing the extremes of showing vs telling. :D Just a bit of fun, so don't mind the errors or the silliness!


The muscled warrior marched purposefully down the winding lane to rescue the Princess of Beauty who was locked in the highest keep in the Tower of Doom. Along the way he fought many vicious, scaly, black, toothed creatures and injured his arm battling a particularly nasty one. But onward strode the plucky Hero, through blood loss, through torrential rain and wind—even struggling against a giant Wind Dragon (whose gas problem left him weakened and breathless)—until he chanced upon a village. He was in Villageshire.

As he wasted himself in the Tavern—"The Poncy Pony"—a strange one-eyed, white-haired lady beckoned him over and declared he would save the world from a Mighty Evil. He dismissed the comments as the woman was obviously a loopy old bat. After drinking more of the night away, he frolicked with the nearest available lass (though she wasn't particularly pretty, and she had crooked teeth), then fell into a restless sleep.

The next day, as the sun rose mightily and bathed the rolling hillside of Villageshire in a warm glow, the Hero reflected that it was great how he could drink his weight in ale and never suffer hangovers. Singing (for he could sing well), he walked leisurely toward the Gate to Keep Evil Out. After quickly dispatching the fire-breathing, red dragon hidden inside, he strolled up to the giant two-towered tower that held his Princess. It was winter here, strangely, and a thick layer of crunchy snow blanketed everything like a white blanket. But soon he was near enough to see the Princess crying at the highest window, and the sound carried down to him like faint tinkling bells.

'En garde!' cried the disfigured Bad Man who came rushing out the arched door that led up a windy stone path to the Gate to Keep Evil Out. He thrust and parried and thrust and parried and was defeated!

The Hero dug his shiny silver sword into the man's neck. 'Any last words?'

Bad Man entered a tirade about how conditions in the land had worsened and he'd had to take the Princess of Beauty captive because, really, it was the right thing to do and he was just Misunderstood.

Hero slew the whimpering man.

'Ha! Now you die, whimpering man!'

The Princess called down to him in a beautiful, melodic voice: 'Oh, my love, my Hero, I am Saved! Take me!'

And so he did; he climbed the keep's steps until he was wheezing and sweaty (God knows how the Bad Man did that daily), and knocked the lock off her bedchamber door using the hilt of his big, strong, hard sword.

She threw herself into his arms and landed heavily yet gracefully and with an air of refinement. She burst into song, which sounded beautiful, and sung about Better Times. And, my God, she was beautiful. Long dark hair that swept to the floor and did not smell or look as if the woman had been holed up here for years; soft, creamy white skin, as soft and creamy as whipped cream; pouty red lips that parted gently as she smiled; and, oh, what a smile!

He wanted to kiss her, and he tried. But she did not stop singing. She sung magnificently for hours. And hours. When she stopped, she began telling him of her Dream. She wanted to launch a singing contest and beauty pageant, and she would be its Star. She would unite the Broken World in song, and sing of her troubles in life!

He threw her from the tall, arched tower window. And suddenly it was spring, and birds flew past the window. He smiled in wonder and the Gate to Keep Evil Out fell before him, rumbling like a great earthquake.

Back in the Village, a haggard old woman hobbled over. 'You saved us all!' she cried, somehow kissing his hand at the same time. 'The Princess was going to bring Princess Idol to us!'

And the Hero was praised and worshipped and sung about for many years, and he frolicked and cavorted in the sunset with many a buck-toothed eager woman.

The End.


Showing (just for fun, here I tried to avoid using the nouns and verbs from the first piece as much as possible, even though that's not the idea behind "showing"):

The figure who did not have breasts but the other type that identifies a person's gender used his legs and muscles and body to go down an area that was covered with pebbles that didn't make up a straight line, to free a figure who did have breasts and had soft, white skin and red lips, who was locked in the keep not near the ground in the thing that was made into a tall shape with bricks and named something that means not good things. [Oh, blimey, that's only the first sentence!!!] Along the way he danced his blade on many creatures that had a hard surface of non-porous skin, were absent of colour, and had long, painful bits in their mouths that bit hard, particularly on the flesh of the figure-who-did-not-have-breasts' part between his shoulder and elbow. But further in the direction he was going he moved his legs and arms and body, through loss of that runny red liquid that congeals once dried, through a serious battering by the clear liquid that comes from clouds, and a battering by the invisible force that knocks you aside and sways you—even struggling against a vertically challenged beast made up of non-shiny, hard, panelled plates and who expels unneeded waste gases (whose unneeded waste gases left him feeling not active and unable to breathe)—until he chanced upon a collection of houses. He was in a region who shared its name with said collection of houses.

As he quenched his thirst to excess in the collection of bricks that covered a watering hole—"The neighing, possibly homosexual animal"—an unfamiliar opposite gender with half the number of eyes and no colour left in her threadlike collection of dead keratinised cells situated atop her head beckoned him over and declared he would save the sphere held in the universe by gravity from the reverse of a tiny good. He dismissed the suggestive speech as the figure of opposite gender did not appear to be in full control of her faculties and age. After consuming unfit beverages for longer than the sun stayed up, he did interesting things with the nearest available figure of the opposite gender (though she lacked red, pouty lips, a fine figure, and hygiene), then fell into those events we attend during the dark hours when we shut our eyes.

When the giant hot ball in the sky rose again, and bathed the not-flat land of the region who shared its name with a collection of houses in a pleasant sensation of heat and light upon the skin, the figure who does not have breasts reflected how he smiled at the thought that he could quench his thirst to excess and never suffer morning hang-ups. Using his vocal cords in a pleasant way (for he could use them very pleasantly), he made his legs and body go unhurriedly toward the wooden construction designed to segment the land to disallow a group from the inside out. After rushing to make sure the heat-producing, first-colour-of-the-rainbow scaled beast hidden inside did not have a beating heart, he used his legs and body to get to the vertically challenged double-collection of bricks that rose into the sky and held captive his figure-of-opposite-gender-with red-lips-and-shiny-hair-and-a-face-to-make-other-figures-of-the-same-gender-jealous. It was a season between autumn and spring here, which made him frown, and a sizeable white blanket that crunched under his feet blanketed everything. But soon he could see the figure-of-opposite-gender-with-breasts-and-a-position-of-power letting droplets of water run down her cheeks as she made gentle sounds at the window nearest the top of the construction-of-bricks, and the vibration of physical matter carried down to him like not-easily-heard tinkling of metallic objects that sound alarms.

'En garde!' cried the figure-of-same-gender, who was not flawless of face and who came from the stone construction moving his legs and body in a fast way. He used his weapon horizontally towards the good figure's chest, then made sure the good figure's strike did not reach him, and then he used his weapon horizontally towards the good figure's chest, then made sure the good figure's strike did not reach him, and then did not get to use his weapon again!

The good figure dug his weapon that—​

Oh, meh! Can't be bothered to finish the rest! It's too hard!!! :eek: But it was fun.
*Mental image of Chrispy having a breakdown and sobbing at his keyboard, not having noticed the preamble*...:D:D
LOL! I hope he doesn't critique pieces in here. :D:eek::D

(And hello, O Great One! *huuuuge hug*)
Here is mine. It is longer than I thought it would be and much more boring, but if you are going to write something bad, then sacrifices have to be made, and as we all know you can't make an omelet without breaking eggs.


Brel, Rin, and Grilla were the perfect triple, a Male, a Female, and their significant Other. Grilla, as the sexless, genderless, Other, cleaned the house and cared for the hatchlings, while Rin, who was almost perpetually pregnant, extruded egg after egg at the rate of about one every ten days, and Brel went out and gathered food for the family. That was the way it was on the planet of Chig. However, not all of the eggs were fertile, though it was impossible to tell which ones actually were —thus giving rise to the proverb “Don’t count your Chiggians until they are hatched”—so Grilla would take them all to the back of the burrow and incubate them. When enough time had passed that it could be determined that an egg wasn’t fertile, Grilla would crack it and whip up tasty treats like souffles and omelets.

However, when the young did hatch they grew very quickly. They reached maturity in about six months, left home, and starting looking for mates so that they could get married and dig their own burrows. Unfortunately, the planet was populated by large predators and many of the young did not live long enough to do this. Probably it was an evolutionary adaptation to this situation that caused the females to produce so many eggs and the hatchlings to mature so quickly. Anyway, all of this went on and on for thousands of years, and nothing much changed, because even though the Chiggians were highly intelligent, their lives were so busy and dangerous they didn’t have time to develop much in the way of technology or different cultures. All this changed when Terrans landed on Chig.

The Humans started their own colony. However, they had not learned their lesson about ecology after ruining their own planet, so when the large predators began to trouble them, they simply poisoned them all. Can you guess what happened? Yes, without predation to keep them under control, the Chiggian population went crazy, and in a few years they covered—literally covered—so much of the planet, that the Terrans decided to exterminate them, too. But the Chiggians, because they didn’t have to worry about the predators, had taken the time to develop some technology and better weapons, so they fought back! And boy there were a lot of them! Pretty soon the Humans had to leave.

There would have been another population problem, but fortunately the Chiggians had just learned about warfare, so they split into different nations, religions, philosophies, and all that in order to practice war and reduce the surplus population. The ten biggest countries were Vig, Stilch, Megg, Ruck, Xam, Pill, Tac, Pridge, Mezz, and Nemericonium. Ruck and Xam were the biggest, and they surrounded Megg, which was one of the smallest. The Xam were sort of a different race, and they had harder carapaces—I should have told you that like most fictional non-terrestrials the Chiggians were vaguely insectoid. The Xam were fierce and arrogant warriors, and the Ruck were pretty bad, too, so the Megg were soon exterminated by their more aggressive neighbors, thus giving rise to the saying, “Between a Ruck and a hard carapace.”

So anyway, all of this kept going on, until the Terrans came back hundreds of years later. The Humans had learned their lesson and had grown peaceful, so when they saw the savage, warlike Chiggians they decided they had to find a way to make peace between them. But the Chiggians wouldn’t listen, so the Terrans took hostages from each of the remaining large nations. Their plan would have worked, maybe, but a daring Stilch came swooping in and rescued the hostages. Which gave rise to the saying, “A Stilch in time saves nine.”

[Editors note: “The Chronicles of Chig” written in the early 21st century has been preserved to the present day only because it is of historical interest to scholars—and frankly not of much interest even to them. A long, rambling, senseless narrative, it was originally written in nineteen volumes, until the author ran out of proverbs and cringe-inducing puns. However, rigorous editing—a practice virtually unknown at the time it was originally published—performed by translators over the centuries, has reduced it to its present size.]
Nice thread, Blackrook. I still remember that piece you wrote involving info-dumping the workings of an elevator. You have a knack for parody, I think.

So here's my, er, 'effort'.

The Dark Lord Comes A-Calling

The wind blows leaves across the lush and beautiful fields, bringing to mind the idea of peace, love and harmony. Innocence and all that. Blahshire was in a very remote location, on land unspoiled by towers and forts, and everyone lived in small but comfortable little cottages. They had been secluded from the rest of the Known World for so long, even the elders had forgotten about the existence of magic, evil, orcs, and all manner of fantastical things. No one in Blahshire even knew such things existed. They thought it was the stuff of legends and stories. But all that is about to change.

Jon Macthak’oo woke to sounds of screaming and horror. He was stunned. Blahshire was a peaceful village, all green and wonderful, and they never had any trouble here. Sure, there was the occasional mischief caused by naughty but good-at-heart little boys, like his friend Mica Jawanshad – or Mischievous Mica as he was known – but nothing serious. He rushed outside find that half the town was on fire, and there were some tall, scary figures prancing about in dark, hooded cloaks. Jon got hit on the head by a blow from behind, and passed out.

When he woke, there was an old, bearded man standing next to him. He introduced himself as Moranjin, and told Jon that he was a great and powerful wizard. Jon had heard of him, but had always assumed he was fictional.

“No, dear boy,” Moranjin said, in a kind and wise voice, “I assure you, I am very much real. More importantly, so are you. For you are none other than The One That Was Foretold, who will rid the world of the Dark Lord, and bring peace to us all. You, Jon, have power you did not know.”

Jon frowned. I still don’t. “Wait. From everything I read about you in the stories, you’re an immensely powerful wizard.”

Moranjin smiled. “Yes, dear boy. I am.”

“Well, why don’t you fight Him, then?”

“Because it is my duty to guide you. Not to fight.”

“But you’re very powerful!” Jon argued. “Surely, any thing I do, you can do better. What’s with this ‘guide’ crap? You should be out fighting. Even the stories said you were the only one He was ever scared of.”

Moranjin hesitated. “Er, no. That’s not how it works. I guide you, and then you go fight.”

Jon rolled his eyes. “Fair enough. Is it easy?”

Moranjin laughed. “No, dear boy, it will not be easy. There will be hurdles and setbacks, you will face problems you didn’t think of, and even the bad guys aren’t all bad. Real life isn’t as black and white as stories, you know.”

“Stories? Why are you talking about stories?”

“I’m just saying –”

“What? That this isn’t a story? You don’t need to say that. I fully believe that this is real. By mentioning other stories, you’re breaking the suspension of disbelief for the reader.”

“I just meant that it will be challenging and gritty. Not all predictable and hunky-dory.”

“Fair enough. Who is that bloke over there?” Jon asked, pointing to a deeply scarred man standing silently in the corner.

“Ah!” Moranjin smiled. “That is Amalin Tigerloins, the greatest warrior in the Known World. He will assist you on your quest.”

“If he’s that great a warrior, how come he’s riddled with scars? Wouldn’t the Greatest Warrior in the Known World know how to avoid getting hit often? That guy looks like he’s been slapped around by everybody. Twice.”

“Because,” Moranjin replied, starting to lose patience, “he’s been in a lot of battles. The high number of scars shows that he is experienced.”

“Still,” Jon insisted, “I would rather have a sidekick who wasn’t covered in scars. Seems like he would know how to avoid getting killed. I wouldn’t ask you to put your money in a bank that got robbed of all their furniture, now would I? Even if it means they have 'experience' in burglaries. Aren’t there any soldiers who’ve been in a lot of fights but actually managed to retain their looks?”

Moranjin glared at him. “That’s just the way it is,” he said, through clenched teeth.

Jon shrugged. “Fair enough. So what do I have to do? Where do I go?”

“You have to fight the Dark Lord alone, for only you can smite him down. You must travel to the distant and dangerous land of Mid-Evil, and locate him in-”

“Let me guess,” Jon interrupted. “Tall, intimidating tower, really ominous looking?”


Jon nodded, slowly. “Right.”
Last edited:
Another fun game is to try and read The Eye of Argon out loud without succumbing to the giggles. I can make it to, "The enthused barbarian swilveled about, his shock of fiery red hair tossing robustly in the humid air currents" before I cave.
I don't know if they still do it, because I haven't been to an SFF convention in a few years, but most of those I've attended in the western US used to schedule "Eye of Argon" readings at midnight. Those who attended would take turns reading the story out loud. When the reader laughed (there was a lot of coughing and throat clearing to prevent this), their turn and the manuscript passed, and the next person took up the story where they left off. Between the lateness of the hour and the prose itself, few readers managed to read more than a paragraph or two, and some sentences defeated readers after their first two or three words.

The heroine, as I remember, had a lithe nose.
Chiggans. Cringe-inducing. Nemericonium?

Planet Zaiblegorne wanted no part of the human race. Even a small landing party like the nine who comprised the crew of the Terran exploratory ship Lollipop7 was terrifically offensive to the aeons-old entities that still haunted the planet like an undead swarm of deathless swarming phantoms.
As one, the uncountable quadrillions of dead, the millenia-old horde of zombified daemonic creatures, huge and loathsome in their grisliness, rose and marched on the tiny ant-like invaders of their timeless slumber.
"Look!" said ensign Frammis, "An advancing alien horde of devil-things!"
"Fire!" said commander Buttkiss.
Hours later, the horde was vanquished, moments before the batteries ran out on the earthlings rayguns. The planet was quickly claimed in trhe name of the Empire and the USA, and the Lollipop7 headed for the nearest suppy planet, to tell tales of brave massacre and get new batteries.
But planet Zaiblegorne was far from dead.

Chapter two

Brenda polished her Neutornium-pistol lovingly. Soon, Bart would be here, and they could-

oh phooie. Ya really have to be in the mood to write this stuff, and I'm not.

Tommorow, however, would be a different day, as it always was, and the pathetic prose may flow like water down a snakes back...or perhaps like water down a spigot, a tube...a water-slide out at the exhibition grounds. Or worse.
Oh Lord, I've only just noticed this thread - I'm just going to have to have a go at this (maybe if I just submit my best effort I can win the worst :p).

Haven't the time to read through all the submissions just now, but "I'll be back!" Seems like too much fun to miss out on!
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
Foxbat History 36

Similar threads