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"Atlanta Nights is a book that could only have been produced by an author well-versed in believable storylines, set in conditions that exist today, with believable every-day characters. Accepted by a Traditional Publisher, it is certain to resonate with an audience."—Lulu.com
"The world is full of bad books written by amateurs. But why settle for the merely regrettable? Atlanta Nights is a bad book written by experts."—T. Nielsen Hayden
Atlanta Nights is a collaborative novel, written by a group of scifi authors under the pseudonym Travis Tea, in response to a slight by Author's Market, which had made derogatory comments about the science fiction genre. The authors wrote an unpublishable mess and sent it to PublishAmerica - a vanity publisher (or something very like one) who denied being a vanity publisher, owned by the same people as Author's Market - to see if they rejected it or not. They didn't reject it, because they had obviously never read it, and weren't much of a publishing company with the "high standards" they claimed to have. After the authors revealed their hoax, of course, PublishAmerica very quickly retracted their offer after "further review".
As for the book itself, well, it's a plotless, rambling pile of nonsense, riddled with inconsistencies and typos. It focuses on a group of wealthy, good-looking Atlanta socialites who sleep around with each other. Buried underneath it all is a vague storyline: a software developer named Bruce Lucent got into a car accident with a businessman named Henry Archer. Archer was killed, but Lucent survived, and promptly takes up with Mrs. Archer, while Detective Andrew Venice attempts to determine whether Archer's death was a murder or not. Beyond that, however, virtually nothing about the plot can be determined that is consistent from one chapter to the next, due to the staggering number of internal inconsistencies in the plot.
This deliberate trainwreck provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Bruce's mother. Or maybe she's a long-lost fashion designer. See Plot Hole.
- All Just a Dream: For exactly one chapter toward the end. And then it isn't anymore.
- Anachronic Order: This, combined with the constant continuity errors, makes for a very confusing read.
- Artistic License Geography: Surely an intentional example, when Irene recalls her vacation with Henry.
"He took me to Rome where we stood in the light of the Eiffel Tower."
- The book's cover depicts palm trees and a beach. Atlanta is over a hundred miles inland, and palm trees aren't native to Georgia.
- Back From the Dead: Rory Edwards, with no explanation. At first, the reader might think that this is just the Anachronic Order at work, but then, there is absolutely no way that this chapter is set before the one where he died. Just to make things even more ridiculous, he dies again in his final appearance.
- The Beautiful Elite
- Bi the Way: Stephen Suffern, and apparently Rory Edwards. And toward the end, Irene and Yvonne reveal that they've experimented a bit, too.
- Bishie Sparkle: Henry had one, according to Irene.
- Christmas Cake: Yvonne Perrin and Callie Archer. They both also have elements of Mrs. Robinson.
- Likes Older Women: Bruce gets married to Callie. She's in her forties and he's 18.
- Comforting the Widow: Bruce's romance with Callie.
- Department of Redundancy Department: Chapters 4 and 17 are the same thing, word for word. There are also two chapter 12s, though they have different contents.
- Also, because none of the authors knew where in the story their chapter would go, the same sketchy character descriptions are repeated ad nauseam.
- Dramatic Reading
- Every Car Is a Pinto
- Everybody Has Lots of Sex
- Everything's Better with Penguins: Apparently, penguins are vicious, burrowing predators that live in the Sahara and howl at the moon.
- Grammar: Subverted.
- IKEA Erotica: At times. Sometimes it's Purple Prose, Depending on the Writer.
- Imaginary Friend: Either that, or it's Henry's ghost.
- Improbable Age: Bruce is a millionaire software developer at 18.
- Hair of Gold: Irene Stevens
- Heroes Want Redheads: Penelope Urbain
- Homoerotic Subtext: Callie and Yvonne. To the great dismay of the Dramatic Reader, however, they never consummate it.
- Steven Suffern exits Bruce Lucent's hospital room thinking about Bruce's "nice, tight ass".
- How Do I Used Tense: At least one passage, in Chapter 10, switches from past tense to present tense and immediately back again. Several times.'
- Hypocritical Humour: One character notes that in bad novels set in Atlanta, everything is named after a peachtree. This book is as guilty of that as you can get.
- To be fair, this isn't that far from the truth.
- Killer Rabbit: See the penguins, above.
- Kudzu Plot: It's hard to tie threads when there's a different writer for each chapter, and the authors have no idea what's happening beyond a sketchy outline.
- Lampshade Hanging: Penelope thinks to herself that she looks like the heroine of a tawdry romance novel.
- Large Ham: The Dramatic Readings.
"The waitress jotted down Isadore's order, then looked at Isaac with the patience of a saint who has to work tables in order to support a family and possibly just a writing habits, not to mention, pay bills and federal taxes."
- Missing Episode: Chapter 21 was never written.
- The Mistress: Irene Stevens, to Henry Archer
- Most Writers Are Human: Averted by chapter 34, the one that was written by a computer program.
- Naughty Nurse Outfit: Margaret Eastman
- Oireland: In the Dramatic Reading, Callie talks like this.
- One Steve Limit: Averted, with Richard Isaacs, Isaac Stevens and Steven Suffern.
- And, as if to demonstrate why this trope exists, the novel gets these characters mixed up several times.
- Plot Hole: Every few sentences.
- The Pornomancer: The entire cast.
- Posthumous Character: Henry Archer
- Plot-Triggering Death: Archer's death is what sets the whole plot in motion... that is, if the book had any plot to speak of.
- Police Are Useless: Venice gets dick-all done.
- Punny Name: The book was published under the name "Travis Tea".
- Purple Prose: Depending on the Writer
- Beige Prose: "They had wild sex."
- Quote Mine: One of the blurbs suggest this:
"...this... book... makes... for... wondrous... reading..."
- Race Lift: In one chapter, Bruce and Callie are black and speak in Jive Turkey, and Bruce is trying to find his long-lost mother. In every other chapter, they're white (Callie's pale skin is explicitly brought up on several occasions), and this subplot is never heard from again. Bruce is also Asian briefly.
- Random Events Plot: That's putting it lightly.
- To put it in perspective: the entire book was written with only a vague idea of the plot and a list of character names available to the authors. Each author, in turn, wrote their chapters without ever discussing it with any of the other authors. Some authors missed the deadline, so those chapters were left out. Two chapters were written from the same piece of outline. Then, to make sure it would never make any sense, one chapter was created entirely by a computer making randomly-constructed sentences.
- Rouge Angles of Satin
- Round Robin
- Said Bookism
- Self-Made Orphan: Irene Stevens kills her father toward the end.
- Serial Killer: Henry Archer, with Irene sharing in the Mad Love. But only in one chapter. And then it's never mentioned again.
- Ships That Pass in the Night: In-universe. Andrew Venice and Margaret Eastman, who up to that point had never appeared in the same chapter, elope in chapter 36. In the final chapter, Richard Isaacs contemplates suicide over his unrequited love for Margaret, to whom he has never spoken in the entire novel.
- Sickeningly Sweethearts: Every couple.
- Significant Monogram: If you take all the named characters' initials and arrange them properly, they form "PublishAmerica is a vanity press."
- Like so: Penelope Urbain, Bruce Lucent, Irene Stevens, Henry Archer, Margaret Eastman, Richard Isaacs, Callie Archer, Isaac Stevens, Andrew Venice, Arthur Nance, Isadore Trent, Yvonne Perrin, Rory Edwards, Stephen Suffern.
- Spit Take: Very common in the Dramatic Reading. Especially when the penguins are discussed.
- Stealth Insult: This blurb:
"[ATLANTA NIGHTS will] draw readers like a magnet draws hungry flies!"
- Stylistic Suck: Its only reason for existing is to suck. Also invoked In-Universe.
- They Plotted a Perfectly Good Waste
- Trivially Obvious: Some of the blurbs:
"Maybe once in a lifetime, there comes a book with such extraordinary characters, thrilling plot twists, and uncanny insight, that it comes to embody its time. ATLANTA NIGHTS is a book."
"Only a sequel could follow this!"
- Unusual Chapter Numbers: There are two Chapter 12s, and no Chapter 21.
- Wanton Cruelty to the Common Comma: "All dead guys are irregardless of how they lived their rotten, two-timing sadistic, pathetic, discombobulatedly senseless, irreligious, unthinking, flakes, debauched, foulmouthed, obnoxious, deviant, gross, adulterous, murderous, gluttonous, alcoholic, lazy, indolent, filthy, grotesquely indecent, lunatic, lives", "She preened. He turned away with me! Quickly! Inside!"
- "It's full of sick, people!"
- What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: Memphis.