The Adventures of Archie Reynolds. Preteen boy goes about his everyday life, dealing with bullies, playing some harmless pranks with a girl, and getting into danger dealing with criminals. That sounds pretty fun, doesn't it? The problem is in the execution. The kids act very weird for kids that age. A girl cracks an egg over Archie's head and calls him an "egghead". (And she's 12?) The boys act like Girls Have Cooties or something, despite the fact that real boys and girls that age tend to be discovering each other. There's a lot of godawful repetitive writing. Sometimes the writing tells you something happens, then tells you why it happened, which even books written for younger kids don't do. All sorts of improbable things happen. It's hilarious.
One of the oldest surviving examples is Felicia Hemans' Casabianca, which is surely the single most parodied poem of all time. The best-known parody (which is also quite an accurate synopsis) being Spike Milligan's Casabazonka:
The boy stood on the burning deck Whence all but he had fled — Twit.
English As She Is Spoke is a famously So Bad, It's Goodphrase book from the 19th century. It's what happens when you get a guy who knows nothing of English relying on two different language-to-language dictionaries to translate. Babelfish, before the Internet.
This is the basis of The Eye of Argon's fame. This Conan the Barbarian style fantasy story is so horrendously written that it causes hysterical fits of laughter as your brain inevitably fails to reconcile the senseless drivel that constitutes this verbal abomination. Many gaming conventions hold "Eye of Argon" parties where players take turn reading it aloud, trying to see who can read it the longest while keeping a straight face.
Fifty Shades of Grey is Twilight without vampires, with even less plot and even worse writing but it's hilarious with all the Narmtastic idealized sex scenes. Bonus points if you're Hungarian, as the Hungarian translation is filled not only with mistranslations, but things "translated" that didn't need translation. Kings of Leon, for example, became "Oroszlánkirály" (Lion King). This led to Memetic Mutation under the name Tótiszism (from the translator's name, András Tótisz). This is worse than the Hungarian Slayers dub's Verselő Lina ("translation" of Lina Inverse), but at least, this is hilarious compared to the other "plain bad".
The Star WarsExpanded Universe novel The Glove of Darth Vader and its sequels are packed with Narm, AnviliciousGreen Aesops, and Written Sound Effects (in a novel!); inevitably, many readers enjoy them for it. That the writers in an interview defended the series by pointing to its popularity among students, a demographic notably fond of Snark Bait, suggests that they're in on the joke even if they originally weren't. These books were probably aimed at children, given the number of pictures and the painfully simplistic plots. 10 years later, though, they qualify for this trope.
Knight Moves, supposedly a romance, but in fact awful erotica. A woman accidentally ends up in the men's room of a Medieval Times-type restaurant, which somehow sends her to the Middle Ages. There, she screws her way through most of England before returning to Philadelphia for a hideously racist Your Momma rap contest with a street gang who speak nothing even resembling street speak. And if that's not enough, the sex scenes veer from IKEA Erotica to Purple Prose and back, violently. One of the more work-safe excerpts:
"And 'tis time for us to partake of Pleasure's fruit again, milady. My codpiece has desired your lady-softness all day long.".
Hilariously, the hero of the "Knight Moves" is named Lord Verdigris. Verdigris is the green stuff that forms on copper, brass or bronze when its been exposed to the air or seawater for too long (think Statue of Liberty).
There is a suggestion out there that Jamaica Layne is not a "her" but a "him", given the specifics of the writing. One might also speculate about the identities (or, as the case may be, identity) of the anonymice who pop up to defend her (or his) works without substantive rebuttals to the criticisms made by the review.
Latawnya, the Naughty Horse, Learns to Say "No" to Drugs. Just plain hilarious. Very poorly written story of a horse who encounters other horses engaging in "drinking games" and "smoking games". The writing is not only bad, but repetitive. The illustrations are downright surreal - you just have to see the horse with a beer bottle in its mouth. Plus, this is probably the only children's book ever in which a horse actually ODs from marijuana! (Complete with illustration!)
The "about the author" is also hilarious, but probably shouldn't be.
Llandor, a fantasy novel by Louise Laurance. Features technology-is-evil rants by the main characters, Meat-Eating Is Evil rants by the main characters, a Face-Heel Turn by a technology-loving meat-eater (he came from our world and just couldn't give them up, the bastard), weird morals ("fat people should expect and accept being be bullied"). Thought hippie elves were created by Paolini? Wrong. Add a plot ripped from Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, and you've got an entertaining novel.
Magnus by Matthew Dickens: Purple Prose galore, but quite entertaining with its comic-book concepts and awesome fight scenes.
The Maradonia Saga, a self-published book by teenage author Gloria Tesch, is in the running for the worst piece of fantasy literature to ever be offered for sale. Poor editing, terrible formatting, inexcusable grammar and punctuation errors, nonsensical characters and plot, plagiarism from the Bible, all of these things would ordinarily doom a book to So Bad, It's Horrible status. But not in this case. Oh no, somehow it manages to go all the way around the scale again to hilarious! Be warned, though: trying to read this book will melt your brain. Please use protection and amusingcommentary to preserve your sanity. We don't want to be responsible for any mental damage.
The first 3 books in the Meg series by Steve Alten. Shallow characters and laughing at the laws of reality and probability abound. Jonas Taylor does many things when defeating sharks and villains that are so unlikely and insane that they are Crazy Awesome.
Dale Courtney's Moon People, a science fiction novel published via vanity press Xlibris, written in a way that makes one wonder whether the author has ever seen a novel. Just read the first four pages and imagine an entire novel written like this. Oh, and it has twosequels!
The notorious 1969 hoax novel and Troll Fic"Naked Came the Stranger", written by a team of journalists led by Mike McGrady, was deliberately written horribly to ridicule American culture. Once the public were aware that the poor quality of the hoax was intentional it quickly became popular, proving McGrady's theory - that American culture had sunken so low that anything sex-filled was seen as desirable - to be correct. After all, Sex Sells.
One Sexy Daddy is a pretty run-of-the-mill bodice ripper, though it gets mixed reviews from regular readers of trashy romance novels. What's so bad about this one that it's good is the cover; Lord have mercy, the cover! As some have pointed out, that cover alone probably sold a lot of copies, and most of the buyers weren't even child molesters; just people looking for a gag gift...
The Playboy Sheikh's Virgin Stable Girl, as this review concludes.
Kaliq dismounted with the same speed and grace as he would remove himself from the body of a woman he had just made love to.
The Shadow God. Oh dear, The Shadow God. Everyone who's run a Google search for 'Worst book ever' has probably heard of this one, as this review justifiably appears on the internet several times. In short, the thing is so overloaded with side-splitting Narm and gratingly godawful prose that you just can't help but love the author for his delusions of talent. Seriously, whose day isn't made brighter by lines like, "It infiltrated his lungs, filling them with a kind of innovativeness he had never felt before"? Read a sample and beware of aneurysms.
Shadow Zone: Revenge of the Computer Phantoms, a children's book that does everything wrong. It's a horror novel about a computer game coming to life and invading the real world. It gets many basic facts about computers and games wrong and portrays every aspect of computer nerd culture unrealistically. The plot was as stupid as you could possibly get. And yet, it can be enjoyed for its badness if you can get past the plot.
In recent years, there's been a surge of twenty and thirty-somethings rereading their old Sweet Valley High books and mining them for all the camp glory they're worth.
The Xanth series was good in the beginning but has degenerated into So Bad It's Good. It was always meant to be light fantasy, but it got cheesier and cheesier as time went on. Fans got more input; and the amount of species, hybrids, and puns in Xanth increased.
Then there's his Jason Striker books which have not aged well. It's Bloodsport with a middle-aged Judo protagonist and, as usual for Piers Anthony, teenage love interests.
The works of Harry Stephen Keeler are like this, with his nonsensical novels maintaining a cult following many decades later. A good retrospective on why his works are so infamous can be found here. The Flying Strangler-Baby is one of the best/worst things ever.
The "great" Scottish-Canadian poet James McIntyre, 1828-1906, best remembered for the timeless classic, "Ode on the Mammoth Cheese Weighing Over 7,000 Pounds." Sounds so Vogon. Maybe a truly epic piece of cheese just does that to peoples' brains.
The Reverend Lionel Fanthorpe, who wrote about 80% of Badger Books' sci-fi output under so many pseudonyms and with such a rush to churn out nonsense before the deadline that nowadays even he isn't sure which books were his. He was a master of deliberately writing So Bad, It's Good, since the Badger Books methodology made it difficult to write anything good good. He is associated with pages of blatant padding, plots based on barely disguised William Shakespeare or chess games, more blatant padding, still more padding, a vague relationship to the cover picture, back cover synopsis and title he had been given (they never seemed related to each other), and yet more padding. Padding in large amounts! Unimaginable quantities of padding! (And so on...)
Nick Lowe: There the heroes were, stranded deep in an enemy sector of space, surrounded by an entire enemy fleet with the guns trained on them, when the maestro realized all of a sudden he had only one page left to finish the book. Quick as a flash, the captain barks out: "It's no use, men. We'll have to use the Flaz Gaz Heat Ray." "Not – not the Flaz Gaz Heat Ray!" So they open up this cupboard, and there's this weapon that just blasts the entire fleet into interstellar dust. One almighty zap and the thousand remaining loose ends are quietly incinerated.
The total oeuvre of William Topaz McGonagall, perpetrator of the worst poetry in the English language - though his considerable popularity at the time suggests that both he and his contemporary audience were in on the joke.
Not only was he crap, he also had awful taste, such as his truly shoddy "tribute poem" to the Tay Bridge Disaster:
Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay! Alas! I am very sorry to say That ninety lives have been taken away On the last Sabbath day of 1879, Which will be remember’d for a very long time.
’Twas about seven o’clock at night, And the wind it blew with all its might, And the rain came pouring down, And the dark clouds seem’d to frown, And the Demon of the air seem’d to say— “I’ll blow down the Bridge of Tay.” ——