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Literature
"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.

Examples (more-or-less in alphabetical order):

  • 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.
    • ANTIGUA: The Land of Fairies Wizards and Heroes, by the same author, is just as bad. It is most notable for featuring at least as many exclamation marks as it does full stops. The excerpt available on Amazon is So Bad, It's Good, but the novelty wears thin before long.
  • Alfie's Home (1993) is an attack on homosexuals thinly disguised as a story about a boy who was molested by his Creepy 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 the boy's uncle pulls a Karma Houdini. And it was aimed at toddlers? 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.
    • A lot of the books are "Temporarily out of stock" on Amazon. How can something can be "out of stock" when its printed on demand?
    • Flu Press is a similar offender, even offering these so-called books *on eBay*.
  • All politics aside, A.J. Weberman's America's Most Dangerous Nazi is a bias-ridden, hateful piece of non-fiction that borders on slander and has no reason to exist beyond politician-bashing. Not even the covers (either of them) can resist Godwinning, by means of Photoshop. Rather than even make an attempt at neutrality or objectivity, the book resorts to slamming Ron Paul and his supporters with cheap insults, picking the worst of the latter and representing them as the whole, even going as far to slamming non-supporters such as Glenn Greenwald with these insults just because they said a few good things about Paul. Every argument presented here is completely one-sided and transparent, foreswearing any attempts at fairness in favor of getting the message across. Allegedly, Weberman found himself on the receiving end of several libel lawsuits as a result of this book's release.
    • If it were better known, it would qualify as a case of Stop Helping Me! for Ron Paul's detractors and whatever legitimate criticisms they may have.
  • The Blah Story by Nigel Tomm is the second-longest novel note , 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.
  • The award for "most useless martial arts manual of all time" could EASILY go to The Book of the Ninja. A "ninja manual" that includes "deadly fighting secrets", only to tell the reader to exercise caution to NOT kill people with them, this poor excuse for a book is horribly put together (photos were basically xeroxed onto the pages, the "About the Author" page has a picture of the author, but then goes into a tangent about who ninjas were, etc.) and contains one of the most laughable "fighting techniques" in history. This video does a pretty good job of tearing it apart.
  • 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 possesing 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. Frighteningly, the sequel is several dozen times worse in every possible way.
    • The Chronicles were tame compared to the second trilogy written by Newcomb, The Destinies of Blood and Stone. The final book, "Rise of the Blood Royal", includes a huge Cliché Storm that makes Hurricane Katrina look like a breezy Spring morning.
  • 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 New Speak copied almost word-by-word from 1984, and you've got a stinker for the ages.
  • Diary of a Lonely Demon, written by Jon David, is a classic example of what happens when a Mary Sue meets Misogyny. In a nutshell, the story revolves around one Jasper Davis, a wangsty self-insert that blames everything that's wrong with his life on eeevil women. Jasper then runs into Morgalla Smythe, a demon girl that apparently turned christian thanks to her new-found boyfriend. All of a sudden, demons show up and it's up to Jasper and Morgalla to stop them. Ultimately an Author Tract on how women are wrong and how Jon is right, the author sets up a plethora of flat characters, adds a dash of blatant racism, sexism and other offenses, and caps it all off with a metric shit ton of grammatical errors and plot holes. Include the fact that many passages are often copied from other works, and that the author suffers from an inability to take constructive criticism properly, and the book just keeps getting worse.
  • In the wake of Dragon Ball Z's monumental success, a lot of guidebooks were released to the general market — some of them good, some of them... not so much. Dragon Ball Z: An Unauthorized Guide, by the mother-son team of Lois and Danny Gresh, is the absolutely WORTHLESS of the lot. A lot of the "jokes" are about Piccolo yelling "Feh! Feh!" followed by Japanese swearing, the section on DBZ roleplaying devolves into a pointless example session involving global warming and styrofoam (!), and the chapter on the DBZ games mentions importing titles... only to completely handwave the fact that U.S. consoles CAN'T PLAY JAPANESE GAMES. Even worse, several of the high reviews on Amazon.com are from "A Customer", and it's pretty obvious that the entire book was marketed towards the younger potential fanbase who hadn't even seen the show, as opposed to those who had (and thus knew better than to go anywhere near this dreck with a 10-foot pole).
  • Two of several Friday the 13th books released in a deal between New Line Cinema and publisher Black Flame:
    • 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.
    • Jason X: Death Moon, 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 (Teknopriests? 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.
  • 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 2013, the book has 762 reviews on Amazon.com, 629 of which are one star. That's about 83%, folks. You've been warned.
  • 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.
  • The Maradonia Saga by Gloria Tesch. Awful formatting, a plot knee deep in Mary Sues, plagiarism to the Nth degree (with every idea being stolen from other, far more credible works) and did we mention the author has an army of lawyers and sock puppet accounts ready to silence anyone currently trying to speak out about how bad it is?
    • Well, not everyone. Sporks of the first three books can be found here; expect such exciting things as a talking grasshopper, Apollyon and the Club of Evil (that sings Mother Earth songs and has a water park), the salsa dance, and more!
  • 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' 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 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. Proofreading, however... was not, to say the very least. Publisher Del Rey openly apologized for (and promised to radically rewrite) 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 note  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 The 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 Bandakar. 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, and the plot's resolved in one of the most blatant Deus Ex Machinas in literature. 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. It's a convoluted mess of a plot involving werewolves, vampires, pirates, elves, and gargoyles, all revolving around a treasure-hunter-turned-paranormal-investigator heroine. Fortunately, it does provide excellent fodder for a truly hilarious review.
  • 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-star average on Amazon. Elizabeth and another review gave it one star, and two people who haven't reviewed anything else on the site gave it four and five stars. Not to mention, the aforementioned four-star review almost immediately attacks Elizabeth's review. Way to be discreet.
  • 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 AnthroCon, 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. Here's a Cracked article about it.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Victoria Foyt's vanity-published book Save The Pearls: Revealing Eden claims to be "the next Hunger Games" with its premise of an apocalyptic world where white people ("Pearls") are the minority, and black people ("Coals") are the "privileged" majority. That doesn't change the fact that it's just a whiny racist fantasizing about a world where her views are easily justified. It's almost unfair to say the implications are unfortunate, as that would imply a subtlety this book completely lacks. Ridiculous lengths and liberties (particularly with its use of science to explain why black people are at an advantage), are taken in a transparent and ineffective attempt make the white characters (and whites as a whole) more sympathetic. That, and the book as a whole is ham-handed and devoid of any real effort. The book is currently rated 1 1/2 stars on Amazon (and just keeps on going down), with there being strong evidence that the handful of positive reviews were faked.
    • A major part of the premise is that the main character has to use paint to disguise herself as a "Coal". The result of this? A promotional video where the actress playing her part is done up in Black Face. Talk about horrid ideas...
  • The first published book of the Chilean author Francisca Solar, La Septima M ("The Seventh M"), a YA/Paranormal detective novel about the investigation of a series of strange suicides in Southern Chile. The main characters are an impossibly beautiful and talented young forensic woman (whom the author calls a "Thanatologist" in one of the worst cases of Separated by a Common Language in the Spanish language) who has an Ambiguous Disorder and takes medication who can't decide if be an anti-psychotic or a Ritalin expy; a detective with No Sense of Humor, and a obnoxious photographer who was intended as a Plucky Comic Relief but comes as The Scrappy instead. The location reeks of Chile is Naziland, every bad police procedural clichι is played straight, the "mystery" is practically ripped off a The X-Files filler episode, some of the very tense situations happen in Hanna-Barbera cartoon style (including what may be the worst attempt on playing the Scooby-Dooby Doors for drama), Plot Holes abound, and the Idiot Ball is played like a volleyball match. All the former and the very purple and pretentious writing would make the book hilarious in other circumstances, but here they dogpile to slog the text and infuriate the reader. It was intended as the first of a series of novels starring the main heroine, but after the bad reception of the book this was quickly nixed.
    • Apparently, there is a sequel book (named "El Hada de las Cadenas", "The Faerie of Chains"), but the editorial decided to release it on digital only.
  • 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 From Bad to 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 LiveJournal entry on the book's awfulness, there are whole sections full of loving descriptions of Zarq "touching her sex" after she's undergone a complete clitoridectomy. 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.

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