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"The children are suddenly surrounded by a couple of wildcats who prepare to slaughter the children until a man shows up on another bus with a rifle and shoots it at the wildcats. If none of this makes any sense, that's okay, since it's never referred to ever again."
Review of Goosebumps #09: Welcome to Camp Nightmare

It Makes Sense in Context of the book you're reading right now, right? WRONG!

  • The Danse Macabre in The Graveyard Book.
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  • In Around the World in 80 Days, Fogg, Passepartout, and Aouda land at America. This passage proceeds:
    Passepartout, in his joy on reaching at last the American continent, thought he would manifest it by executing a perilous vault in fine style; but, tumbling upon some worm-eaten planks, he fell through them. Put out of countenance by the manner in which he thus "set foot" upon the New World, he uttered a loud cry, which so frightened the innumerable cormorants and pelicans that are always perched upon these movable quays, that they flew noisily away.
  • There's that uncomfortable and unnerving "Vodka" chapter that comes the eff out of nowhere late in His Dark Materials. Will, a 12 or 13 year old boy, is traveling alone. He stops at the house of an old priest to ask for directions. The priest pushes him into accepting a drink of vodka, chats in an overly friendly manner, is very touchy-feely, tries to convince Will to stay a while and is just generally creepy. After few pages of this, Will insists on leaving and the man gives him a hug and lets him go. There is no mention of the incident or the old man ever again.
    • This was a jab at the Catholic Church, referencing their rampant sexual abuse of children.
  • In addition to a number of Wacky Wayside Tribe incidents, one can probably find a number of Big Lipped Alligator Moments in L. Frank Baum's Oz books. The first book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, has the China Country, where all the inhabitants are made out of china. Some of them, such as the singing china clown, have been broken and mended several times. They neither help nor hinder Dorothy and her friends, they are introduced out of nowhere and have nothing to do with the story, and they're never mentioned again in the book afterward (or in any of the later Oz books, for that matter). Things like this add to the unnerving dream-logic of the story. A surviving earlier draft doesn't include this adventure at all (and, tellingly, neither do Tales of the Magic Land), and it may have been added just to pad out the book.
    • In The Patchwork Girl of Oz, the protagonists come across a cabin on a deserted stretch of the Yellow Brick Road. A disembodied voice begrudgingly agrees to provide them with food and shelter for the night. The titular Patchwork Girl annoys the unseen host and winds up locked outside overnight, where she sees a large wolf come to the door several times. In the morning, the travelers who spent the night inside realize they still feel hungry and tired, as if they hadn't eaten or slept at all. None of this is elaborated on, they don't lose a day to actually rest or eat, and Ojo doesn't even complain about the experience (which makes it one of the few things he doesn't complain about).
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    • In The Tin Woodman of Oz, the Tin Woodman, the Scarecrow, and new character Woot the Wanderer are journeying to find the Munchkin girl from the Woodman's backstory, who they believe has been waiting around for him to come back and marry her. At the very start of their journey, they see a sign warning about the village of the Loons. It takes them out of their way and Woot (supposedly) dislikes taking unnecessary risks, but they decide to go anyway. The Loons turn out to be balloon people. The protagonists accidentally pop one of them, are captured and put on trial, and escape when Woot gets hold of a thorn and runs around popping random citizens as they flee in terror. Woot suggests taking permanent action against them (he for some reason considers them some huge threat against Oz, despite the fact that they were minding their own business before outsiders came in and started popping them), but the Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow rightly point out that they're secluded in their own little area and most people aren't likely to stumble upon them. It isn't unusual for a Wacky Wayside Tribe to get no further mention, but the characterization in the scene is just off. It's the only time Woot the Wander protests against "danger," and really, why would he ever become known by that title if he were so afraid? The team travels with more purpose from that point on- there's more hijinks, of course, but one scene flows logically to the next and the goal of finding Nimmie Amee is always the priority.
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  • An example in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is the scene where Alice sees a giant (compared to her) dog, fears it will kill her, but manages to distract it and escape. The dog is the only animal in Wonderland that doesn't talk or exhibit other human characteristics, the tone of the scene clashes with the surrounding scenes, and it is never mentioned again. This isn't ridiculous or over-the-top like a typical BLAM example, but it reads almost like a page from a different fantasy book. Not surprisingly, the Disney movie and most (there is the Hallmark movie) other adaptations leave it out completely.
  • There is a particularly narmful scene in Of Mice and Men where Lennie hallucinates that he is being berated by a talking rabbit. And his Aunt Clara.
  • The Lost Symbol has a chapter where the hero is unconscious... literally. Not mentioned again, not used, nothing, whole chapter = sleeping hero.
  • The episode of the dinner of Trimalchio in Petronius' Satyricon. It also happens to be the only passage that survives intact.
    • Earlier in the work, there's a scene where the main characters get drunk, are (forcibly) involved in an orgy, pass out, and wake up with their faces covered in soot. They vow never to speak of the incident again. Several other scenes might also qualify - the fragmentary nature of the work makes it hard to tell what is and isn't relevant to the plot. Or even what the plot is.
  • Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast series has many random scenes, where characters are introduced and conduct pointless dialogues, or new locations are visited and lovingly described, and are then never mentioned again. Considering that he only finished two of the five planned books and only one additional one was made (by his wife), this might be a case of foreshadowing destroyed by Author Existence Failure.
  • A bizarre example from a nonfiction book can be seen in Black Like Me, the journal of a white man who changes his skin colour and observes the way he is treated as a Negro man, as he calls it. On a bus to Mississippi he encounters a black man named Christophe who sings Jazz, smiles at the white folk and snarls at the black folk, speaks perfect Latin, was training to become a priest, claims to be meeting his wife in another town and is planning on shooting several men and running away with his family. Straight out of nowhere, inexplicable, never mentioned again.
  • In the third chapter of Moby-Dick, Ishmael (the protagonist) is in a tavern, where there is a man named Bulkington, from Virginia. The way he's described makes him seem both magnetic and physically impulsive, and others in the bar are shouting his name. Then he's never mentioned again.
    • A commonly accepted theory is that Bulkington was intended to be a central character in a mutiny plot Melville originally planned but later dropped.
    • Also, Bulkington appears again in chapter 23, "The Lee Shore", steering the Pequod. And then there he's again never mentioned in the book once.
  • Oh course, this happens in Thomas Pynchon novels all the time, in fact, BLAM's may get more page space than the novel's "plot" itself, leading one to wonder whether it is, in fact, the plot of any Pynchon novel that is a BLAM to be compared against the self-consistent cohesion of the otherwise unrelated, ubiquitous absurdities.
  • As it goes on, Stephen King's The Dark Tower series starts to have more and more of these.
    • One that springs to mind is in the scene where Roland and Eddie meet Stephen King, who is a character in his own book. Now, that may sound Blammy but it all makes sense in the series' metafictional context. The BLAM here comes when Eddie comments that if King-the-character keeps smoking, he won't live long enough to complete their story. Roland then insists that smoking is good for you as long as you wait until you're an adult to start. Apparently it keeps away everything from insects to evil spirits that cause disease. It seems like it could maybe be a Chekhov's Gun, but it's never mentioned again. Fans of The Dark Tower were worried that King would die before he completed the series because he kept taking too long between books and he was a heavy smoker. Eddie is serving as a stand-in voice for the fans who want their story to be completed and Roland is a stand-in voice for King, who politely but firmly rebukes Eddie.
    • Mrs. Tassenbaum starts out as a Big-Lipped Alligator, coming out of nowhere with a long backstory. Then she finally meets Roland, and it becomes a Bizarro Episode when they eat fried chicken and have sex in a hotel room. There are more scenes like that, especially in the last three books.
  • In the children's classic The Wind in the Willows there's the infamous 'Piper at the Gates of Dawn' chapter, where the characters are transported into a mystical world where they meet the great god Pan. Many editions of the book omit this chapter, not because it's bad, just because it's so baffling in relation to the rest of the story. note 
    • 'Wayfarers All', which involves Rat being hypnotised to run away to sea, but the Mole holds his friend down until he's recovered from the brainwashing.
  • Older Than Print: Isidore's of Seville 'Historia de regibus Gothorum' at one point mentions council of Goths, at which they discovered that blades of their weapons temporally changed their collors into green, scarlet, yellow, or black. No consequences of this sudden event are mentioned whatsoever.
  • Older Than Feudalism: At the end of book 19 of Homer's The Iliad, as Achilles hitches up his horses to go into battle, he prays that they will bring him back safely like they didn't do for his fallen friend. In response, the horse Roan Beauty suddenly gains the power of speech, simply to tell him "yeah, alright, this time. But next battle, you're doomed, buddy." Aside from a moment of surprise, Achilles barely seems to notice his brand-new talking horse; Roan Beauty loses speech as suddenly as he gained it, and the incident is never, ever mentioned again.
    • Actually in the myths those horses always could talk, so Achilles' lack of surprise is understandable. However, the text itself never establishes this so readers not privy to this fact beforehand will find it a Mind Screw.
    • The Odyssey has a scene in Scheria where the poet Demodocus sings a comedic story about how Hephaestus trapped his wife Aphrodite and the latter's lover Ares in bed and then call the others gods to humiliate them. It has nothing to do with the story and never mentioned again. For many scholars this part may be a late interpolation.
  • Thomas Hardy's The Return of the Native features a glaring example in the middle of the climax. Basically, Eustacia, one of the book's heroines has just left home to meet someone and elope with him. The focus abruptly shifts to Susan Numsuch, who's just seen her through her window. Now, earlier in the book, Susan stabbed Eustacia in church with a hairpin because she suspected her of being a witch. That was already kind of a BLAM in and of itself, but it gets even worse. Seeing that her son has suddenly fallen ill, and Eustacia was the last person he was seen with, she concluded she must have cursed him. So she proceeds to construct an efigy of Eustacia out of honey and beeswax, dress it up to look like her, stab it repeatedly with pins and finally burn it in the fireplace while reciting the Lord's Prayer backwards. Not only does this come completley out of left field, and is never mentioned again, but it totally clashes with the tone of the book, which up until now only had very subtle Magic Realism elements, all of them purely metaphorical. Not only that, but Susan herself is never mentioned again after this, also making her a Karma Houdini.
  • In World Made by Hand there is a scene where Robert visits the New Faith congregation. While there, he meets an obese woman that has multiple seizures followed by prophecies. The general reaction readers appear to have to this scene is "what the hell?"
  • Deke McClelland's Macworld Photoshop 3 Bible (as the title implies, it's a how-to guide), which is full of humor much like the For Dummies books, pulls a BLAM off at the very end: in the middle of a step-by-step guide to making a graphical effect, step 29 is a snippet of a suspense story where a spy is sneaking through the dark. And halfway through, the Prime Minister pops up out of nowhere only to get shot. (So, a BLAM - both a figurative and a literal one, to boot - within a BLAM!) The author then goes back to Photoshop tips, but not before commenting that he dislikes Step 29, since it's troublesome and makes all others look dull in comparison.
  • DOS For Dummies included, among its many how-tos on MS-DOS, step-by-step instructions on how to change a nappy.
  • The entire two or three chapters featuring the hobbits' adventures with Tom Bombadil in The Lord of the Rings is a very lengthy BLAM chiefly about singing excruciatingly bad folk songs and talking about how awesome Goldberry is. Actual connections to the plot of the rest of the book amount to: (a) the One Ring doesn't work on Bombadil - which gets one mention at the Council of Elrond - and (b) leaving the Old Forest you might trip over a wight and wind up with a cool Numenoréan sword.
    • May not qualify because the sequence with Bombadil and the wight does explain why the cool Numenoréan sword had enchantments on it capable of unbinding the Witch King's undead flesh and making him vulnerable to an ordinary sword long enough to be killed.
    • There's a smaller one in Fellowship of the Ring when the party is struggling to climb blizzard-ridden Caradhras. Legolas announces that he's "going south to find the sun" and runs off across the top of the snow. He comes back a little bit later explaining that the sun is warm and happy down south and can't be bothered to thwart the blizzard.
      • Although it's clear in context that Legolas is not saying the Sun has actually wandered off somewhere, but only finding a laughing way to say that the storm is confined to the mountain, and the Fellowship doesn't have to go very far to get out of it.
    • Near the beginning of Fellowship of the Ring we get this bit with a fox. Not only it is never referenced again, but it doesn't really fit the tone of the book at all, feeling more like something out of The Hobbit.
    A fox passing through the wood on business of his own stopped several minutes and sniffed. ‘Hobbits!’ he thought. ‘Well, what next? I have heard of strange doings in this land, but I have seldom heard of a hobbit sleeping out of doors under a tree. Three of them! There’s something mighty queer behind this.’ He was quite right, but he never found out any more about it.
  • The Star Wars Expanded Universe book Darksaber features a particularly odd moment when Luke Skywalker and love interest Callista (an Old Republic Jedi preserved in stasis who has lost her connection to the Force) visit Hoth, where they are attacked by the wampa that had its arm cut off by Luke in The Empire Strikes Back. This wasn't explained at the time, but The Essential Guide to Alien Species eventually decided that wampas were semi-sapient.
  • In the middle of the original Gaston Leroux novel The Phantom of the Opera (well, at least in the original English translation,) a man on fire runs through an underground passage at one point, scaring the protagonists and then just as quickly runs right out of the scene and the novel and no one ever talks or thinks about it afterwards.
    • There are actually several bizarre encounters in the cellars of the opera house. They are all BLAM's to some extent, but their main purpose is probably to give the feeling that the protagonists are leaving the real world and are on the Phantom's turf now. Note that Christine's description of her first journey into the cellars, features some fairly strange and hellish imagery too. Some critics have seen the journey into the opera house cellars to be evoking The Divine Comedy, and Dante's descent through the Circles of Hell, so if this is the case, at least the BLAM's have some purpose to them.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw: Greg lampshades this with Fregley coming out of nowhere with icing on his face and saying "BOOGIE! BOOGIE! BOOGIE!"
  • The Philosophy Club scene in the novel version of Gregory Maguire's Wicked. It seems like it should be a metaphor for something, but no one knows what.
  • A lot of Louis de Bernières' Birds Without Wings could be said to be a patchwork of BLAMs. There is one scene where you see the sack of Smyrna from the point of view of one of the minor characters as he drowns, and the chapters about Mustafa Kemal Ataturk contribute to a feeling that the whole book is merely filler with a few relevant chapters pasted in. Even the character through whose eyes we see much of the Ottoman experience in World War I is not the character who then goes on to go mad and kill his girlfriend.
  • After an assassination in The Vietnam War novel War Dogs, the group's leader is returning from his watching post and is suddenly attacked by a tiger. After an extended river tiger fight, he regroups with his team and almost no time is spent discussing his fresh wounds.
  • The two-dimensional planet stop in A Wrinkle in Time. The heroes "tesser" to a weird place where the children feel squashed and can't see anything, one of the adults mentions something about the kids being unable to exist properly on a two-dimensional planet, and they warp away. It was probably supposed to be related to the four-dimensionalness of their teleporting method, but no actual explanation is given for why they went there, what the heck a "two-dimensional planet" even is in a three-dimensional universe and why the kids weren't crushed to death.
    • As the chapter itself points out, they very nearly were crushed to death. In the two-dimensional world, Meg's lungs couldn't breathe, her heart couldn't beat (though it tried), her brain couldn't form thoughts - even the sound of someone's voice was described as "words flattened out like printed words on paper". Had they not been traveling with the angels Mrs. Which, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Whatsit, they would have been flattened out of existence altogether! Charles Wallace did say, "Really, Mrs. Which, you might have killed us!"
  • Harry Potter's dreams and mental images can be downright WEIRD. Take, for instance, the dream Harry had in book 5 right before the attack on Arthur Weasley. In summary, Cho Chang tells Harry that Cedric had bought her tons of Chocolate Frogs, Hermione suggests giving her his Firebolt, he explains that it's currently locked in Umbridge's office, and he's trying to hang up Christmas ornaments shaped like Dobby's head. Yeah.
  • In The Help there is a scene in which a naked man attacks Minny and Celia at Celia's home in the country and tries to rape them. He immobilizes Minny, leaving Celia to fight him off by herself. Then he wanders away, never to be seen again. Presumably this scene was included to show that Celia is tougher than she looks and can fight for herself, but it's pretty jarring and really has no relevance to the rest of the story.
  • An example of this is to be found in the illustrations of C.S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The illustrations were done by Pauline Baynes, who in every single drawing of Aslan, depicts him as a lion walking on all fours. However, in the aforementioned book, there is one picture of Aslan and the White Witch discussing the terms of his surrender - which has Aslan standing on his hind-legs, his front paws clasped behind his back in a strikingly human-like pose. He is never described as doing this in the text, it's completely at odds with Lewis's emphasis on his leonine nature, and it's the only illustration in the entire seven-book series which portrays him taking such a stance.
    • Perhaps this human-like pose is an early hint as to Aslan's secret identity?
    • Prince Caspian has a section where the narrative has to give the girls something to do while the boys are off meeting Caspian. The result is Aslan taking them to party with Bacchus of all beings. The cosmology crossover is never remotely explained, and the incident is never mentioned again.
  • In Dealing With Dragons, when Cimorene is running away from her unwanted marriage, she follows a talking frog's advice on the way to go. Along the way, she passes a fancy pavilion where an unseen person invites her to come in and rest. Though Cimorene is tired and tempted, she remembers that she was specifically warned to stay away from the pavilion. She walks past it and...that's it. Nothing else comes of her not falling for it, there's no indicator of what would have happened, and the pavilion and woman in it are never brought up again.
  • The Bible:
    • The Book of Exodus has the much-debated "Zipporah at the inn" episode which is no longer than three verses. En route to Egypt, Moses and his family stay at an inn. The Lord tries(?) to kill him for unexplained reasons (right after He gave him the mission to free Israel). Moses' wife Zipporah takes a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of their son. Zipporah has one very confusing (at least to the modern reader) line of dialogue, calling Moses "a bridegroom of blood to me," which only adds to the weirdness. The standard interpretation of the passage is that God wants to kill Moses for neglecting the rite of circumcision of his son but it's not stated explicitly and the incident is never mentioned again.
    • In chapter 14 of the Gospel of Mark, during the arrest of Jesus, it's briefly mentioned that there was a man who ran off naked after someone grabbed his robe. It has no relevance to the story and is never mentioned again or in the other Gospels. Some scholars have claimed that this man was Mark himself, as in the author of the gospel.
  • In Chosen, Zoey has two guys run down with a truck just because they posed a threat to Heath. It is never mentioned again.
  • Near the end of the first part of Don Quixote, the characters are at an inn and spend two and a half chapters reading a story they found in a chest, which has no bearing on the main story. Early in the second part, it's outright said that it was a pointless digression, that broke up the flow of the narrative for no purpose.
  • In the Nancy Drew novel Mystery of the Brass Bound Trunk, Nancy is struck by lightning after getting caught in a freak-storm while on a picnic with her friends. It has no bearing on the rest of the story, it's over in less than a paragraph, and no one ever mentions it again afterwards.
  • In Emperor Pickletine Rides The Bus, the last book in the Origami Yoda series, there's a chapter where a teacher is showing a group of kids a glyptodon note  in a museum, and one of the kids shouts, "TURTLE!". The teacher tries to correct him, but soon, all of the kids are saying "TURTLE!". She gives up, and shows them a mammoth instead. One of the kids shouts, "ELEPHANT!". And Tommy's comment on the story? "TURTLE!". It's weird, to say the least.
  • Some of the chapters in The Grapes of Wrath, like the one about a turtle nearly getting hit by a car and the car salesman chapter, could be cut without affecting the plot.
  • In Our Mother's House by Julian Gloag, Hubert experiences a hallucination connected with the onset of puberty. The matter never arises again.
  • In James and the Giant Peach, James enjoys time with father and mother. Until, they are killed by an escaped rhinoceros. It's never mentioned again.
  • The scene in The Colour of Magic where Rincewind and Twoflower's dragon disappears, and Rincewind somehow wills them to Roundworld, where they're on an aeroplane that's been hijacked and are named Dr Rjinswand and Jack Zweiblumen. When the Luggage appears to threaten the hijacker Rjinswand wishes he were somewhere else and they're back on the Disc, with the only evidence of this scene being that they're not in the same place they were in when the dragon disappeared (although still falling) and the Luggage now bears the "powerful travelling rune T.W.A." Even for a Random Events Plot, it's kind of disconnected from everything around it. The TV and comicbook adaptations both skip it entirely.
  • The BattleTech Expanded Universe novel Far Country departs from the Black and Grey Morality War Is Hell, human-only action the series is known for, and instead features a race of intelligent pre-industrial Bird People, the Tetatae, that were found by a wrecked jumpship after a Blind Jump. Word of God states that the story remains canonical, but they have no intention of returning or even mentioning them (the jumpship was regarded as lost in transit), feeling that aliens do not fit within the greater universe.
  • The encounter with the Sphinx in the Labyrinth of Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Funny? Yes. However, it is never referenced afterwords, and appears to come off as an Author Filibuster.
  • In the novel Howl's Moving Castle, Howl, Sophie, and Michael take a trip from the fantasy land of Ingary to 1980s Wales, where Howl is from. An entire chapter is focused on this trip, giving descriptions of computer games and cars. The revelation that our world exists in the story's universe and the journey itself come completely out of nowhere. Although later on in the book it is mentioned that Howl visits Wales, the inclusion of Wales had nothing to do with the story, since it could just as well have taken place within Ingary without affecting the plot. The two sequels, "Castle in the Air" and "House of Many Ways," are not affected by the journey.
  • Played with in The Barsoom Project. When the participants in the Fimbulwinter Game take an approach not anticipated by the Game Master, he activates a pre-designed Big-Lipped Alligator Moment to keep the players distracted while he thinks about how to deal with their unexpected course of action. In-Game, it's a BLAM, but out-of-Game it's entirely justified.
  • Invoked and weaponized in How to Survive a Horror Movie, a guide to defying Horror Tropes to avoid getting killed off. Engaging in a BLAM that runs counter to it being a horror movie, hypes a product so blatantly it's embarrassing, violates the film-rating's content standards, offers up incongruously-good dialogue (cribbed from better movies), or would blow the production's budget out of the water can serve as an emergency "ejection seat" that will get your imminent death-scene postponed or written out of the script.
  • Owing to Anna Karenina's Switching P.O.V., we spend at least a little time in just about every character's head. Somewhat more surprising are the couple of sequences we get from the perspective of one of the human character's dog!
  • Making Money has an In-Universe version: A tense courtroom scene is interrupted by the President of the Royal Mint of Ankh-Morpork — who happens to be a small bug-eyed dog named Mr. Fusspot — being slowly propelled from one side of the room to the other by the... oscillations of a large mechanical vibrator clutched in its mouth. The sheer surrealism of the moment convinces the protagonist to make a huge gamble in the court case, since if such a thing is possible, anything is.


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