->''"Grignr slipped his right hand to his thigh, concealing a small opague object beneath the folds of the g-string wrapped about his waist. Brine wells swelled in Grignr's cold , jade squinting eyes, which grown accustomed to the gloom of the stygian pools of ebony engulfing him, were bedazzled and blinded by flickerering radiance cast forth by the second soldiers's resin torch."''

Described as "the worst fantasy novella ever", ''[[http://ansible.co.uk/misc/eyeargon.html The Eye of Argon]]'' is a story by Jim Theis, who was 16 when he wrote it. It's the tale of Grignr, a foul-mouthed barbarian warrior who is trying to escape the dungeons of EvilOverlord Agaphim and rescue a young woman named Carthena from a pagan cult who want to sacrifice her to their idol -- a statue with one eye called "The Eye of Argon". (A "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beryl#Red_beryl scarlet emerald]]", complete with some interesting plumbing.)

Published in the fanzine OSFAN 7, in 1970, the story is well known for its [[ClicheStorm abundant cliches]], [[{{Malaproper}} shoddy spelling]], [[FlatCharacter flat characters]], [[YeOldeButcheredeEnglishe wooden dialogue]] and [[PurpleProse overly colourful writing]]. Every woman is a "wench", eyes are "emerald orbs". [[SaidBookism Almost nothing is ever "said"]] -- instead it is "queried" or [[HaveAGayOldTime "ejaculated"]] or "husked" or "stated [[PerfectlyCromulentWord whimsicoracally]]". There's an extended scene involving elderly priests groping Carthena, and a scene where Grignr has sex with (or possibly just hugs) a "half-naked harlot... with a lithe, opaque nose". One cult member [[DeusExMachina randomly faints by an epileptic fit in battle]], and another suffers a savage, multi-paragraph GroinAttack.

The most widely-known and circulated copy of the story comes to an abrupt and unsatisfactory halt, and for many years it was believed that the ending was lost forever (or even, in some quarters, that the story was never completed). Recent years have seen the separate discoveries of two intact copies of the fanzine in which ''The Eye of Argon'' debuted, so it is now known how the tale ends. (With multiple exclamation marks, it turns out.)

At science fiction conventions, ''The Eye of Argon'' is now a sort of parlor game. All participants sit in a circle with a hard copy of the story, and the first one starts reading aloud -- pronouncing every word as it's misspelled, and including every adjective. When they finally [[{{Corpsing}} burst into laughter]], the copy is passed to the next person. If a person manages to make it through more than a page, the copy is sometimes passed anyway, on the grounds that the reader must have special training as a news anchor.

A [[http://ansible.co.uk/misc/eyeargon.html nicely-retyped transcription]], not perfect but quite a bit better, has long been in circulation, with a transcriber's note apologising for its inability to reproduce the original's equally awful typesetting and illustrations. It is now also possible to view a [[http://ansible.co.uk/misc/eyeargon.pdf facsimile copy]] of the original publication, in all its strangely-set and oddly-illustrated glory. This facsimile ''does'' include the lost ending.

You can also purchase an [[http://www.amazon.com/The-Eye-Argon-Jim-Theis/dp/0809562618 authorized print edition]].

As reading it raw may cause brain damage, you can settle for [[http://www.bmsc.washington.edu/people/merritt/books/Eye_of_Argon.html the MST'd version]] which naturally calls out many of the tropes listed here, or this [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikM_Lh8Q0xo Dramatic Reading of Chapter One on YouTube]]. For those who are unable to read it sober, we have the DrinkingGame over [[DrinkingGame/TheEyeOfArgon here]]. An example of the game can be found [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBc1aQeqZTQ here]].

Compare ''Literature/AtlantaNights'' and ''FanFic/MyImmortal''.
!!This story provides examples of:

* ZeroPercentApprovalRating: Agaphim only stays in power because he has such a [[TheHorde vast army]].
* {{Angrish}}: Prince Agaphim starts to spout "muffled, syllibant gibberish" when Grignir calls him a fat idiot.
* AntiClimax: After pages of over-the-top fight scenes, Grignr's final enemy is a mystical leech that sucks [[OverdrawnAtTheBloodBank an absurd amount of blood]] from his leg only to die when burned with a torch.
* AuthorAppeal: Almost every chapter contains at least a mention of breasts. Carthena even ''speaks'' "bustily".
* AuthorVocabularyCalendar: Unfortunately, [[{{Malaproper}} few, if any words are used correctly]].
** He seems to be fond of the word "swiveled" - or, as he misspells it, "swilveled." Also "stygian."
* BarbarianHero: Grignr, a very obvious CaptainErsatz of Franchise/ConanTheBarbarian.
* BarbarianLonghair: The protagonist, northern barbarian Grignr, has long red hair. It's also described as "robust", but given the author's attitude towards adjectives, that could mean almost anything.
* BattleCry: Grignr's is "hoarsely piercing." Usually includes the phrase "by the surly beard of Mrifk!"
* BeautyEqualsGoodness: The prince and shamen [sic] are always described as fat and disgusting, while Grignr and Carthena are usually portrayed as attractive. Grignr is muscular and ruggedly handsome, and it's implied that [[SheCleansUpNicely he cleans up nicely]].
* {{BFS}}: Inverted. Most of the swords described are "a foot of blinding steel", which is actually really short (dagger-like, in fact; a good sword is at least three feet).
* BoobyTrap: Grignr narrowly escapes one.
* TheCaligula: Agaphim
* {{Corpsing}}: A meta-example in the popular parlor game to see who can keep a straight face the longest while taking turns reading the story aloud. Just try it. [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption You will fail]].
* CostumePorn: Oh, so very much, coupled with PurpleProse.
* CrapsackWorld
* DamselInDistress: Carthena.
* DenOfIniquity
* DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment: Examples include "the Stygian cloud of charcoal ebony", which amounts to "the dark cloud of black black".
** Also, this gem, from the last paragraph: "All that remained was a dark red blotch upon the face of the earth, blotching things up." Blotches tend to do that.
** "The foot-trodden floor." As opposed to what?
* DeusExMachina: Grignir, the barbarian protagonist, is locked in combat with a bunch of cultists. During the fight, one of his opponents just collapses in the middle of the fight from an epileptic seizure.
* EvilChancellor: Agafnd brings the trope to mind, although he and Agaphim are on the same side. Agafnd seems to be the more devious of the two.
* EvilOverlord: Agaphim
* {{Fainting}}: One of the shamen [sic] faints for no reason, Carthena passes out quite a few times, but Grignr--despite losing a bathtub's-worth of blood and not eating for days on end--never faints.
* FatBastard: Agaphim.
* FateWorseThanDeath: Agafnd persuades Agaphim that sentencing Grignr to a life of slave labor would be more of a punishment than being tortured to death.
-->'''Agaphim''': ''Take this uncouth heathen to the vault of misery, and be sure that his agonies are long and drawn out...''
* FieryRedhead: Grignr.
* {{Gorn}}: Grignr takes a quarter of a chapter to rip a rat in half, and no grody detail is spared.
* GroinAttack: the attack is quick, but the priest's reaction takes an entire two paragraphs.
-->"''Cocking her right foot backwards, she leashed it desperately outwards with the strength of a demon possessed, lodging her sandled foot squarely between the shaman's testicles.''"
* HeroesWantRedheads: May have been the author's intention; Grignr (himself a redhead) falls for Carthena, whose hair is apparently the color of orchids (more of a [[YouGottaHaveBlueHair bright pink]] than a red).
* HookerWithAHeartOfGold: Carthena turns out to be the prostitute who serviced Grignr at the start of the story.
* HumanSacrifice: Grignr rescues Carthena from this fate.
* IHaveYouNowMyPretty: Carthena in the hands of the head shaman.
* ImpossibleHourglassFigure: Carthena is described as both "slender" with a "trim build" and [[BuxomIsBetter endowed with a "bulging bosom"]] and "[[GagBoobs huge outcropping breasts]]".
* ImprovisedWeapon: Grignr stabs a guard with the sharpened pelvic bone of a rat.
* ALadyOnEachArm: Agaphim.
* LowFantasy
* MoralDissonance: Grignr and Carthena both exhibit this in spades.
* MundaneMadeAwesome:
** The following describes Grignr's wine being kicked over:
--> "''A flying foot caught the mug Grignr had taken hold of, sending its blood red contents sloshing over a flickering crescent; leashing tongues of bright orange flame to the foot trodden floor.''"
** He also spends six long sentences describing a guy falling over after being [[GroinAttack kicked in the crotch]].
* {{Neologism}}: Among others, "protruberating", "nerelady", and "scozstic".
* NobleSavage: Gringr claims to be one, although by this point in the story he's gone out of his way to steal a petty bauble.
--> '''Grignr''': My people are not tarnished by petty luxuries and baubles. They remain fierce and unconquerable in their native climes.
* NoEnding: The most widely-circulated copy of the story ends abruptly during Grignr's final battle. Some people continue to believe that this is how the original version actually ended.
* OverdrawnAtTheBloodBank: At the end of the story, a leech... thing sucks a ridiculous amount of Grignr's blood.
* ProducePelting: Agaphim is "often assaulted by hurtling stones and rotting fruits" when he leaves his palace.
* PurpleProse, SesquipedalianLoquaciousness, and DelusionsOfEloquence: Jim seems to have an aversion to common words. There's wenches and females, but never ''women'', and the sun was 'half way through its daily rotation, but it's never ''noon''. He always refers to mounts, but never ''horses'', though it's implied when one of the mounts whinnies. At least the ''title'' is concise and looks like a normal title, apart from sharing the name of a noble gas.
* ReligionOfEvil: The worshippers of Argon.
* RodentsOfUnusualSize
* RougeAnglesOfSatin: The original version had some atrocious spelling, although less faithful transcriptions sometimes correct these.
* SaidBookism: So very, very, very much.
* SignificantGreenEyedRedhead: Grignr.
* TheStoner: The illustration on Page 32 of the facsimile (presumably of Agaphim the evil prince) shows him smoking something that looks like a joint.
* {{Stripperiffic}}: Both male and female examples exist: Grignr wears a g-string (with folds), while Carthena wears [[DiamondsInTheBuff beads.]]
* TalkingIsAFreeAction
-->"Prepare to embrace your creators in the stygian haunts of hell, barbarian", gasped the first soldier.
* ThongOfShielding: Grignr wears a G-string. How it manages to have folds is anyone's guess.
** Apparently Theis has not been the only writer to confuse a G-string with a [[http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/94/AoM_loincloth_01.jpg loincloth, which has a wider waistband]] and can even have pockets.
* ThudAndBlunder: An example of the depths that this subgenre can sink to.
* TitleDrop: at the end of chapter 3½.
* UnexplainedRecovery: Counselor Agafnd dies ''twice''.
* TheUnpronounceable: ''You'' try pronouncing "Grignr", "Agafnd" or "Mrifk". This gets particularly amusing when already consonant-heavy words lose their few vowels through typos - the aforementioned Agafnd becomes "Agfnd" at one point. One gets the impression that the author has an irrational dislike of vowels.
* UnusualChapterNumbers: There are a two fractional chapters: Chapters 3½ and 7½. The former is the first chapter to break away from Grignr's POV to check in on Carthena and the cultists, while the latter is a brief flashback to the epileptic shaman's awakening, so at least there's some reason behind it if even if it's not a particular good idea.
* UnusualEuphemism: "Mrifk". In addition, while "slut" is a real word, using it as an insult against men is [[CurseOfTheAncients somewhat antiquated]], and that version ''still'' doesn't quite work in context as it meant "slovenly person", which isn't really any of the insultees' salient characteristic.
* VampiricDraining: The blob at the end sucks blood like a leech.
* VomitIndiscretionShot:
-->The vile stench of the Shaman's hot fetid breath over came the nauseated female with a deep soul searing sickness, causing her to wrench her head backwards and regurgitate a slimy, orangewhite stream of swelling gore over the richly woven purple robe of the enthused acolyte.
* WantonCrueltyToTheCommonComma
* YeOldeButcheredeEnglishe: "Sayeth the king" would be correct, except that it's the wrong tense. Carthena starts out talking this way, and Grignr does too shortly thereafter, when up till that point he only talked in vulgarities.
* YouKeepUsingThatWord: Many instances: Gringr is constantly described as wearing a g-string, with ''folds''; Carthena speaks "bustily", at another point her nose is both "lithe" and "opaque".
* YouTalkTooMuch: Grignr doesn't say this to Carthena, but he thinks it--even though she doesn't seem to be any more talkative than he is.

!!Creator/AdamCadre's ''Mystery Science Theater 3000'' fan-{{MSTing}} presentation has examples of:

* FateWorseThanDeath: The straight lines from the original story are not left un-riffed. It happens so frequently it's lampshaded.
-->'''Carthena''': The prince would surely have submitted them to the most ghastly of tortures--
-->'''Crow''': Insert joke about having to read THE EYE OF ARGON here.
* HeroicBSOD: The abrupt, non-existent ending leaves Crow utterly broken, and the others are forced to leave him behind in the theater. [[http://keithpalmer.ca/mst3k/favourites/book-ads.txt Fortunately]], he recovers.
* {{MST}}: [[http://www.bmsc.washington.edu/people/merritt/books/Eye_of_Argon.html One of the classics]], written by Creator/AdamCadre in 1996.
-->'''Story''': "The paunchy noble's sagging round face flushed suddenly pale,"\\
'''Crow''': "It flushed pale? Did it blanch red after that?"\\
'''Story''': "then pastily lit up to a lustrous cherry red radiance."\\
'''Crow''': "Hold me."
* RunningGag:
--> '''Story''': "[some bit of PurpleProse, such as 'crimson droplets of escaping life fluid']"\\
'''Crow''': "You mean [the normal word, such as 'blood']?"\\
'''Mike''': "Let's not jump to conclusions."
** And anytime the word "slut" is used:
---> '''Crow''': "A slut? Where?"
** And the first few times Grignr's name is mentioned, Tom remarks on the absurdity of his name ([[Series/WheelOfFortune "I'd like to buy a vowel!"]]). [[OverusedRunningGag Then the others persuade him he's getting tiresome, and he stops]].
** And, also:
---> '''Story''': "[Something about a mount]"\\
'''Mike''': Vesuvius! [a different mountain each time]
** And ''also''...
--->'''Story''': "...[adjective] gore..."
--->'''Mike''': "Albert's cousin from [American state]."
** And ''also'' also...
---> '''Story''': Groped/groping...\\
'''Tom''': --a 17-year-old Senate page.
** There are also repeated references to Clarence Thomas, Bob Dornan and Bob Packwood.
** And more also...
---> '''Mike''': [[NeverSayThatAgain Never say [word used in previous extract] again]].
** And [[OverlyLongGag more]] ''[[OverlyLongGag also]]''...
---> '''Story''': [Grignr displaying some character trait, e.g. logic, wisdom, deep psychological insight]
---> '''Mike''': [[FamousFamousFictional When I think of [character trait], I think of three names: [two noted names in the field of said trait], Grignr.]]
** "You tell me, you're the writer!" after any gratuitous questions in the text of the story.
** Whenever some loud unpleasant sound is mentioned, it is [[TakeThat compared or attributed to]] Music/AlanisMorissette.
** After the titular "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scarlet_emerald#Red_beryl scarlet emerald]]" is introduced, mention of something's red color often leads to a remark that it "looks just like an emerald".
* ShoutOut: To TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering: "Tor Giant?"
* TarotTroubles: Tom Servo is reading Crow's future with a pack of Tarot cards he found somewhere. Poor Crow gets [[RasputinianDeath nine Deaths]] and a [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=2656 Tor Giant]].