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"Get away from the book by any means you can. Or, if you've been unfortunate enough to pay money for it already, fling it against the wall. It'll make a really satisfying thwack! when it hits. Just make sure no pets or toddlers are in the way."—Smart Bitches, Trashy Books on "Top Ten Signs You're Reading A Very Bad Romance Novel".
There are some books you pick up and read, then put down and never pick up again. Others, after you've read them, find themselves hurled against a wall pretty damned quick. This is a tribute to those "fallen heroes".
Important Note: Merely being offensive in its subject matter is not sufficient. Hard as it is to imagine at times, there is a market for all types of deviancy, no matter how small a niche it is. It has to fail to appeal even to that niche to qualify as this.
- In 2010, Denise Brown Ellis wrote The Adventures of the Teen Archaeologists: (Book 1) The Land of the Moepek. Full of Mary Sues, dull conversations that have nothing to do with the plot and lots of grammar errors.
- Alfie's Home is an attack on homosexuals thinly disguised as a story about a boy who was molested by his uncle. There are holes in both the plot and the logic. The drawings look like drunken Schoolhouse Rock concept sketches, seem to defy all perspective and could have been done in MS Paint. Even worse, it plugs therapy based on a scientific theory that had been discredited decades earlier. And it was aimed at children. But don't take our word for it: a member of That Guy With The Glasses' forum will fill you in, along with the entire book's contents.
- Alphascript Publishing and Betascript Publishing have published over 300,000 books. Sounds pretty interesting, until you realize that all of them are just a bunch of Wikipedia articles. "High Quality Content by WIKIPEDIA Articles!", the cover of each book states. It gets worse:
- The title of each book is a complete lie. For example, why does Giving Circles have a Wikipedia article on the United Kingdom in it? While the Wikipedia article on "Giving Circles" is in the book, it only takes up one page of the 108-page book.
- The covers are epic failures, such as the book on the Fieseler Fi 167 showing a C-130, and another on the 1867 Canadian Election showing the United States flag.
- The editors don't check the articles to make sure they're accurate, which means that vandalism could end up in the books.
- The books are often only 40-50 pages long, yet cost up to $100. For Wikipedia articles that you can get on the internet for free.
- On the subject of horribly written non-fiction books, as much as we want to be neutral on this author's views, America's Most Dangerous Nazi is one of the most biased, one-sided, slanderous non-fiction books one will ever find. The cover is a entirely-photoshopped image of Ron Paul behind a Nazi flag. And the back cover? a photoshopped picture of Hitler replacing Hitler's face with said politician's face. Sound familiar? The book itself is full of one-sided arguments that try to generalize all his supporters into the ones who are considered a Vocal Minority and is written in an informal, biased, slanderous, profane and vulgar hit piece(the book uses words like "crap", "filth", "bastard" and "scum" to describe the supporters of the politician that the book is attacking) that doesn't even try to be neutral or examine issues objectively. The author believes that said politician changed his views on Israel when he sent him his book in order to hide antisemitism, forgetting the fact said politician has defended Israel's actions once at a time when most other politicians in America condemned it in a resolution when it bombed Iraq. In short, while Paul may be one of the most divisive figures in American politics, this book is Godwin's Law at its very worst.
- The author's way of advertising this book is just as horrible. He spams every single article about said politician and whenever he finds positive comments, he links to this book as if in an attempt to "convert" supporters. Unsurprisingly, most of these comments were flagged for spam.
- The Blah Story by Nigel Tomm is the second-longest novel, containing both the longest sentence and longest coined word in English. This might have been So Bad It's Good, except the book's written something like "In a blah she was blah blah blah down a blah between blah roses blah blah blah her blah blah hair blah blah gently the blah blah trees..."
- Blood: The Last Vampire: Night of the Beasts by Mamoru Oshii is a continuation of the anime film Blood: The Last Vampire, which stars a vampire hunter named Saya fighting monsters. Given that the film involved a lot of blood, monster-hunting, and gory action, you'd think the book would be more of the same. Instead, the novel is less of a story about vampire-hunting and more of a clumsy collection of essays that fail to form any semblance of a coherent narrative. Rather than focus on Saya, the story focuses on a bland male student who goes from location to location listening to people have philosophical discussions and debates on increasingly uninteresting topics such as body disposal, the hunter hypothesis, and religious conspiracies. Saya, meanwhile, briefly appears only three times in the entire book and barely interacts with the protagonist, if at all. The novel is such an ill-conceived mess that one can only feel sorry for the translator who had to translate Oshii's incoherent and incredibly dull ramblings.
- Books LLC's Wikipedia Source series might be an even worse example of published Wikipedia articles than the aforementioned Alphascript and Betascript Publishing. In addition to possessing all their flaws, the books' content seems to have been randomly selected by an automated algorithm, leading to verbal diarrhea such as Gremlin Interactive Games: Loaded, Fragile Allegiance, Jungle Strike, Top Gear 3000, Harlequin, Body Harvest, Utopia: The Creation of a Nation and incoherent descriptions. The presentation also has the barest minimum effort put into it, with most of the covers looking like this.
- Robert Newcomb's Chronicles of Blood and Stone series was billed as the next big epic fantasy series by its publisher, Del Rey, and given all sorts of heaping praise by reviewers who were clearly both bribed into giving a positive review and incapable of reading the books themselves. The first in the series, "The Fifth Sorceress", presents all women as either stupid and complacent or horrendously, disgustingly evil and corrupt; it's essentially a series of one Deus Ex Machina after another, and suggests that pregnancies last for somewhere between 24 hours and six months. Oh, and any single item Newcomb created using "scientific" means in the series defies the laws of physics — such as a sword with an extendable/retractable blade (perfectly balanced!) which extends or retracts with enough force to crush a person's skull with the push of a button. Eat it, Conservation of Energy! Frighteningly, the sequel is several dozen times worse in every possible way.
- The Wheel of Time series has Crossroads of Twilight, a doorstopper without content which generally takes place at the same time as Winter's Heart (the previous book). Most of Crossroads consists of Purple Prose about food and clothing — the book has 822 pages, but you could condense it into 100 and not miss anything. The Big Bad in this book is grain weevils. The series has Loads and Loads of Characters, but very few of them appear in what passes for the main plot; the book needs a 50-page prologue to explain what everybody's doing, and it doesn't help. Rand, the driving force of the series as a whole, only appears in the last few pages; he has the long-awaited confrontation with Loghain, but nothing comes of it. Every female character's identical, and they're all unlikable stuck-up bitches. The series had been heading this way for a while, but this is the nadir. But the later books are better, and you don't have to read this to understand them.
- Das Reich Artam, an Alternate History set in a victorious Nazi Germany which even exists more than a hundred years later. If you think this could become problematic, you're right — while not stating it outright, the author seems to have a bit too much sympathy for the Nazis and not too much for their democratic successors who wreck the Reich, so the Germans in the settled East (formerly Russia) are the only upright ones left. Add some soft porn for "controversy" and a scene about developing Newspeak copied almost word-by-word from Nineteen Eighty-Four, and you've got a stinker for the ages.
- I Am Scrooge, a short (just over 150 pages) 2010 novel that attempts to ride the "classic novel revamped with something totally inappropriate" bandwagon, with a story about Ebenezer Scrooge fighting an army of zombies. A description of Scrooge walking in a London fog defies belief: "As the air began to freeze and he was a right wheezer and he went by the name of Ebenezer Scrooge." This is just one of the novel's seemingly never-ending cavalcade of horrible topical references, which actually take up more of the story than any actual plot.
- Clifford Bowyer's deservedly obscure Imperium Saga could rival The Eye of Argon for sheer bad writing. But it gets worse by having the characters toss around the Idiot Ball every five seconds. "Legendary" Warlord Braksis sets an invading three-headed "tragon" on fire and watches it demolish a town in its death throes, then afterward decides it was a bad idea...but people praise him for the destruction of their city. Heroic groups of five fight off hordes of 50 or more without a single injury. Seriously. There are so many races that it's hard to believe that the planet's ecology is intact. There's a reference to a "non-human troll", as if a fantasy creature could be both human and troll. Throw in a sex scene that uses "raging inferno" five times in three pages. That's all from the first book in the series.
- Isle of Dogs by Patricia Cornwell is a novel so bad in so many ways, it's amazing Cornwell allowed it to be published. Various blurbs compare the novel's supposed snarky black humor to Carl Hiaasen. Too bad Hiaasen can actually write snarky black humor and write it well; Cornwell couldn't write black humor if it meant the firing squad. Featuring characters blessed with such names as Trish Thrash, Unique First, Fonny Boy, Possum, and Hooter Shook; a zillion plots that go nowhere; and some of the laziest writing this side of Twilight — one chapter features talking crabs and fish, while another features a dog that can type. As of March 2012, the book has 757 reviews on Amazon.com, 625 of which are one star. That's about 83%, folks. You've been warned.
- Jason X: Death Moon, one of several books released in a deal between New Line Cinema and publisher Black Flame, is horrific. Half the time, it feels like the vaguely pretentious nonsensical ramblings of a stoner, due to the author constantly going off on weird rants unrelated to anything. Various concepts (Technopriests? Akasha.net?) are introduced but never explained, and the story's unreadable half the time due to the fact that you can't tell what the fuck is going on.
- Friday the 13th: Hell Lake, a Black Flame book, gives Jason Character Derailment. The author uses stereotypes about him and ignores earlier canon in the process. Jason now hates sex so much, he'll drop what he's doing to kill some rapists and their victim. He now can literally teleport; just thinking about him apparently summons him. At one point, he appears to materialize from a television. Through an unexplained mental bond, he befriends the secondary villain. He has henchmen following him around a few times. He flays a guy and wears his skin and clothing as a disguise. (Ed Gein taught him how to in Hell. Yes, that's canon.) He screams in pain and throws tantrums when he's hurt, and in one sequence he mows dozens down with a machine gun. Most of the characters, who are from the backwoods New Jersey town of Crystal Lake, talk like stereotypical upper-class twits (even the jocks!) and insult people by calling them "fool". And the author keeps referring Camp Crystal Lake as Lake Blood instead of using the correct nickname Camp Blood. Oh, and it's a Doorstopper with pacing problems.
- The last three books of the Legacy of the Force series - most notoriously Revelation - are filled to the brim with continuity errors (the Star Wars Expanded Universe is usually strong on continuity), rampant Character Derailment — the Jedi jumping right to assassinating Jacen instead of trying to redeem him, Jaina becoming a Mando Fangirl, and among other grievances, more stupid character deaths...and finally they put Daala, one of the most incompetent people from the Jedi Academy Trilogy as well as a war criminal, as Chief of State. The following series, Fate of the Jedi, is just one huge Fix Fic on that entire stupid premise.
- The worst part of all of Revelation is the general message that Force-users are dangerous, disgusting, and incapable of doing anything right. In the end, the book's message concludes that all force-users should never be allowed to develop their talents or be allowed anywhere near weaponry or government for the simple fact of them being force-users, who should be shunned for something they have no control over.
- In 2000, Nancy Stouffer claimed that her 1984 or 1986 (she disagreed with herself there) book The Legend of Rah and the Muggles provided the inspiration for Harry Potter. She said, among other things, that the fact that there was wooden doors in both her and Rowling's books was evidence of this. The case was notable partly because of the Frivolous Lawsuit (which she lost comprehensively) and partly because the book itself was unspeakably awful; a full list of its failings would at least double the size of this page, so here's a handy plot breakdown should you wish to subject yourself to them anyway. Once news from the lawsuit started spreading, a small-time publisher tried to cash in on No Such Thing as Bad Publicity and did a small printing run; said publisher quickly went bankrupt.
- Mass Effect Deception, a tie-in book released in the months leading up to Mass Effect 3. Notably, it was also the first novel not written by the series' then-head writer, Drew Karpyshyn. It was supposed to be a sidestory featuring the continuing adventures of Gillian Grayson; it wound up gaining the hatred of fans for its tactless treatment of homosexuality and autism, a list of research errors longer than IMDB's "Goofs" page for Battlefield Earth and its overall tendency to tear established continuity a new one. Not that it fared any better among non-fans — long, drawn out chapters (often expository and redundant) were a common occurrence. To say that no proofreading was made would be a severe understatement. Del Rey wound up publicly apologizing for it, and plans have been stated to rewrite large portions of the book.
- Mein Kampf... as translated by James Murphy. It took what was something already derided as being overly long and hideously thick in its original form and somehow made it worse. The writing style was changed drastically, alterations and expansions were blatant and hackneyed, and spelling and grammar were all over the place. The book resembles a bad fanfic of the original; its clunky, dull, flowery prose results at least partially from the author's habit of looking up the words he didn't know in a German-English dictionary and picking the first definition he saw. Worse, it was submitted incomplete when Murphy changed his mind about the Nazis and fled Germany, meaning the press had to finish translation. Perhaps fortunately, the few copies that the Nazi press produced were lost until 2008, effectively destroying any chance for this abomination to become anything more than a bizarre curiosity.
- Mission Earth, a decalogy  by L. Ron Hubbard. Weighing in at nearly 4,000 pages, this was Hubbard's idea of clever Sci Fi satire. The story moves at an incredibly-slow pace and showcases every sexual perversion you could think of and then some. Rampant misogyny abounds. The story's nothing more than a thinly-veiled pamphlet for Scientology and keeps hitting you over the head with its messages against psychology and psychiatry. Here's a highly-detailed overview.
- As Crossroads of Twilight is to Wheel of Time, Naked Empire represents the bottom-of-the-barrel for Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series. This book, even more than the others before it, is mostly one gigantic sermon against communism and pacifism, containing the infamous "evil-pacifist" plot of Bhandarkar. Even outside the conflict, Richard's dialogue is constantly saturated with Goodkind's views when he's talking to his friends. (At one point, he and his half-sister discuss the "right" of hair to live on a person's head. It's that bad.) The main plot of the series is advanced barely an inch by the end of this book, there are speeches that go on for pages or even whole chapters, the plot's resolved in one of the most blatant Deus Ex Machinas in literature, and...ah, screw it — go look at the reviews on Amazon.com if you want more proof.
- While Vanity Publishing has long been known to be a haven for the worst attempts at semi-literate Purple Prose, Night Travels of the Elven Vampire by LaVerne Ross is painfully bad even by that standard. But it does provide excellent fodder for a truly hilarious review.
- Noir by K.W. Jeter is a Doorstopper set in a Dystopian Cyberpunk Crapsack World. As the title implies, Jeter attempts to write the whole novel in the style of the narration of a Film Noir (justified In-Universe because the main character has had ocular implants that redraw the world as a black-and-white noir film for him). Unfortunately, it reads like a novel-length Bulwer-Lytton contest entry. Once you've gotten about 200 pages in and already committed too much of your time, you discover that the main character's nothing more than a Marty Stu "Copyright Cop" who spends the rest of the book discussing how people who infringe copyrights should be dismembered and tortured because, in the Information Age setting of the book, copyright theft is worse than virtually all other crimes. The book's nothing more than a very long Author Tract — Jeter's website indicates that he believes in his message. Adding insult to injury, there's a few interesting concepts that are almost entirely discarded in favor of copyright ranting.
- No Touching by Aileen Deng. Let's put it this way — the Asexual Visibility and Education Network, who were responsible for its very commissioning, would kindly like to forget it ever existed. The only way to express it would be Elizabeth the Gray's review here.
- Note that the book has a 3.5-star average on Amazon. Elizabeth gave it one star, and two people who haven't reviewed anything else on the site gave it four and five stars. Suspicious...
- Org's Odyssey by Duke Otterland. The whole plot is a Cliché Storm of a fantasy novel about Org of Otterland, a hero born from the daughter of a god who must save Anglia from evil. The beginning explains how the Anthropians came to be, but it comes off as Purple Prose. Moreover, the battles are unfair — the good guys outnumber the evildoers 7 to 1. See the reviews here.
- More recently, it's become the replacement read for The Eye of Argon at Anthro Con, which started the two-hour session with four readers and ended with over 30. It's figured there's enough fresh material for almost a decade.
- Glenn Beck's The Overton Window is called one of the worst works of literature ever written. The LA Times said it was less a train-wreck than "a lurching, low-speed derailment halfway out of the station". The Washington Post concurs.
- How terrible is Beck's prose? Here's an excerpt from the novel:
"these liberated chestnut curls framed a handsome face made twice as radiant by the mysteries surely waiting just behind those light green eyes."
- The book is even worse than previously thought established. It turns out The Overton Window is a blatant retread of the 2005 thriller Circumference of Darkness. Overton was even ghostwritten by Circumference writer Jack Henderson. The only difference is that the names are swapped, and the bad guys in Overton are left-wing lunatics instead of right-wing lunatics.
- Pacione, Nickolaus. He is a horror writer known for self-publishing unreadable, barely literate, mistake-riddled prose, but even better known for picking fights with everyone on the Internet that dislikes his work (up to and including threatening murder, the rape of their children and the like). Read any sentence of his writings, if you dare.
- The Doctor Who New Adventures story The Pit by Neil Penswick is commonly regarded as the worst Doctor Who novel of all time, not least because of the tedious nature of the story, which is written entirely in Beige Prose to boot. The Doctor is completely useless and does virtually nothing throughout—which to be fair was part of a larger New Adventures Story Arc, but is taken WAY overboard in this novel—and Bernice Summerfield acts completely out of character, coming across as cold-hearted and irritable. Legendary poet William Blake appears as one of the main characters, but is completely wasted and just spends most of his time complaining about the situation he's in. Worst of all, the whole thing ends up being one giant Shaggy Dog Story, making it even more infuriating to have to sit through the bland and confusing storyline. Fortunately, you don't have to read through the whole thing; this prologue (originally published in Doctor Who Magazine illustrates its main problems well enough.
- The Sacred Seven by Amy Stout is a deservedly obscure fantasy "epic" which is nevertheless only novella-length. The plot's a Cliché Storm in which a Big Bad Evil Sorcerer is trying to take over the world and playing MacGuffin Gotta Catch Them All. The attempts at "originality" are things like forest dwarves and the Big Bad being a female elf leading a troll army instead of the traditional orc army. But what makes this book special is that it has over two dozen point-of-view characters over its meager pagecount in a large font. Most pages have at least one POV switch, which can be to a character in a completely different geographic location having completely different adventures. As you might expect, none of the Loads and Loads of Characters have much of a detectable personality. The whole thing reads like an internet round robin written by a bunch of teenagers. Oh, and there's a sequel called The Royal Four.
- The written sequel to George Lucas' fantasy movie Willow, Shadow Moon (No, not that one) by Chris Claremont, is a Doorstopper written in such a mind-numbing style that enduring the lengthy bland descriptions to get to the mind-numbing plot about the new adventures of Willow requires endurance few readers possess. The rest of the trilogy is supposed to be even worse, but confirming this is difficult for obvious reasons.
- A book that would've barely been a blip if not for the internet — Janine Cross' Touched By Venom (aka The "Venom Cock" Book). Dragonriders of Pern, Gor, and Clan of the Cave Bear get thrown into a blender and topped off with extra helpings of pain and suffering (and bestiality)" is the closest one can come up with as a thumbnail sketch for the plot. To the author's credit, she creates a Crapsack World and never tries to pretend it's anything but. No Writer on Board here. And the two sequels are markedly improved (not good, mind you, but not Horrible) and explain many of the baffling plot points in Venom (like why a society that worships dragons as divine would use them as pack animals, routinely amputate their wings, and eat their eggs as a staple food). The problem here, aside from this book not standing alone, is that Cross takes It Got Worse to ludicrous degrees — the Dragon Temple screws Zarq's serf enclave out of all their worldly possessions on a technicality? Sell Zarq's sister into sex slavery to buy food and supplies. Mom schemes to get her back? Scheme backfires, resulting in Dad's execution and Mom and Zarq's banishment. (Did we mention Mom's pregnant, and they're kicked out immediately after she gives birth to a son she's not even allowed to hold?) They find refuge in a convent that houses old dragons? Just in time for Mom to drop dead! Then Zarq has to undergo "circumcision" to be considered "clean and holy". The nuns hold bestiality rites with the old dragons. And all that occurs in the first half of the book. (And yes, it does get worse — the damage finally spreads to those around Zarq.)
- According to a Live Journal entry on the book's awfulness, there are whole sections full of loving descriptions of Zarq "touching her sex" after she's undergone female circumcision. She magically grows functioning genitals on Pages 204, 271, 303, 346, and probably more.
- Double bonus — the dragon venom that's getting everyone off like rockets? It's described as being an anesthetic.
- Believe it or not, Jacqueline Susann wrote a science fiction novel — the proto-Paranormal Romance Yargo. It concerns a young woman who's pulled up into a UFO and taken to planet Yargo, which is named after its Yul-Brynner-lookalike emperor. Emperor Yargo doesn't want an inferior Earthling on his nice shiny planet, but for some reason won't send her back where she came from. After many tedious arguments, they fall in love and Yargo admits that the human customs of romance, marriage, religion, and shopping are superior to the Yargonian way of life, which seems to consist mostly of emperor-worship. The heroine is whiny, self-righteous, and grating; Emperor Yargo is so massively conceited that the reader can only laugh at him. There's also a few dull sub-plots concerning the Lizard-Men of Mars and the Bee-Men of Venus, both of which Miss Earthling finds revoltingly ugly; she never stops to think that they might feel the same way about her. But what really makes this book a pain to read is its hidebound 1950s provincialism. In Susann's universe, anything different is bad, and any creature that doesn't look human is a monster.
- It should also be noted that she didn't actually publish it. Her husband found it among her things after her death.