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Horrible / Literature

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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" ( link)

There are some books you pick up and read, then put down and never pick up again. These books, once you've read them, may make you want to hurl them against the nearest wall, or tear out every last page so that no one else can ever pick them up again.


Important Notes:

  1. 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.
  2. This page is not for horrible individual chapters of otherwise-good books. For those, see DethroningMoment.Literature.

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

    open/close all folders 

  • Denise Brown Ellis published two children's fantasy novels, both allegedly cowritten with her husband Larry Ellis.note  The below descriptions alone will make you glad she/they didn't publish any more (despite the "About the Author" section on Amazon claiming "[t]he couple has several books ready for publishing for children, teens and adults" and both books that did get published being advertised as the first in their respective series):
    • In 2010, she/they 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, misuse of the word "sarcastically" and lots of grammatical errors.
    • ANTIGUA: The Land of Fairies Wizards and Heroesnote  is just as bad. It's most notable for featuring at least as many exclamation marks as it does full stops. At one point, a character actually takes a train from Britain to England. The excerpt available on Amazon is So Bad, It's Good, but the novelty wears thin before long. It purports to be a teen novel, but reads like a book written for preschoolers. Denise blatantly advertised her/their book in review sections and insulted people who tried to give her advice. And there's a genuine, unironic 4-star review that was blatantly written by Denise, Larry (if he exists) or somebody close to her/them.note 
  • Dario Ford has published two books on Amazon, Skywalker and 'NDRANGHETA. They are poorly-written and barely-edited works that desperately try to emulate Terry Pratchett and Tom Clancy respectively, without any of the intelligence, charm, or style. His books probably would have gone unnoticed — had he not tried to claim that Pratchett and Clancy co-wrote these books.note  In the As you might guess, neither of them wrote a single word of either of Ford's books, and Ford's attempts to capitalize on their Author Existence Failure with half-assed stories is a disgusting joke.
  • Michael Pearl is a controversial Independent Baptist pastor who, alongside his wife Debi, advocates the "Pearl method", a bizarre and horrific philosophy on family dynamics that can basically be summed up as "any family where the mother is anything more than the father's slave and accomplice in tormenting the children is Satanic". They primarily spread their beliefs through vanity-published guidebooks.
    • To Train Up A Child, published in 1994, is a parent's guide based on the "Pearl Method" but more commonly called a "child abuse manual". Among other things, it says beating your kids is not only okay, but mandated by God; it recommends pulling a newborn's hair if they bite while breastfeeding; it lists the best methods and implements for hitting your kids without leaving bruises; it suggests that you trap your child and then punish them for falling for it; and claims that if you don't do these things, you don't really love your kids. Most of it also comes with highly dubious Biblical justification. These methods have been proven to kill children, which is unsurprising given that the intent is to violently discourage normal child behavior, and makes the Christian aspects highly ironic given that the parents of those children ended up violating a Commandment. The Pearls (perhaps unsurprisingly) have called medical professionals and child protection services "the Gestapo" for their natural reaction to their methodology. It's no wonder Rational Wiki finds their stance on child discipline even more extreme than Mein Kampf's — which says a lot. Rachel Oates dissects this book in two parts, and in the latter video she is clearly on the verge of tears.
    • Crafted to Be His Help Meet and its Spear Counterpart Created to Need a Help Meet are about marriage, and blatantly advocate Domestic Abuse. The Pearls preach total obedience in women toward their husbands, even if they're abusive, and that anything that goes wrong in a marriage is the woman's fault for not being obedient enough. The book totally fails to show any compassion for its readers, regularly resorting to such immature tactics as name-calling and fear-mongering. It's also indicative of subconscious homophobia in that the Pearls never consider the possibility of a person being created for a relationship outside one with the opposite sex. Libby Anne sporks the first book here, and Aletha does the second here.
  • While Robert Stanek has written some passable-to-good nonfiction books, his "bestselling fantasy novels" are more famous for their low quality and the ludicrously unethical tactics he used to promote them, including the use of Sock Puppets to pose as fans:
    • His main series, the Ruin Mist Chronicles, is full of typos, clichés, stilted dialogue, bad Purple Prose, Flat Characters who are uninteresting at best and unlikable at worst, and writing so awkward that it makes the bland plot downright incomprehensible.
    • The "children's versions" of Ruin Mist are no better. Instead of actually rewriting the books into something kid-friendly, Stanek just split each of them in two and called it a day. Of course, he doesn't tell you this.
    • The Dark Path is supposedly a retelling of the Ruin Mist Chronicles from a different point of view. In reality, it's mostly content that was copy-pasted from the original series. The order of the scenes has been changed a bit, which just makes the plot even more confusing than it already was. Dark Path also contains several errors that were absent from Ruin Mist, which suggests that it was just an early draft of the latter published for a quick buck. Dark Path also got split in half and released as two separate books. Again, Stanek won't tell you that.
  • Nancy Stouffer is a writer who gained infamy in 2000 for claiming that her 1984 books The Legend of Rah and the Muggles and Larry Potter and his Best Friend Lilly provided the inspiration for J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. Aside from some similarities in the names, the only things she could point to were flimsy comparisons like both books containing "characters in tights" or "wooden doors". She filed a Frivolous Lawsuit on this basis, which she lost comprehensively and which drew interest in her works — and a realization of how bad they were. A small-time publisher tried to cash in on the scandal and did a small printing run, only to quickly go bankrupt.
    • The Legend of Rah and the Muggles has so many blunders that a full list of them would at least double the size of this page, so here are a few handy plot breakdowns should you wish to subject yourself to them. Its main problem is that it can't seem to decide what it wants to be — it's equal parts dark apocalyptic drama, sickeningly sweet fantasy, children's Ghost Story, and fable about where stars come from (which mostly gets tacked on at the end). Very briefly: The protagonists are twins who, as infants, are sent away from a post-apocalyptic wasteland by their mother (who is never brought up again) and end up in the land of the eponymous Muggles. One of the twins is Always Second Best and becomes the antagonist, while his brother Rah is the nominal hero but doesn't care about his brother at all. The Muggles are grotesque, almost infantile creatures mutated by radiation. They live in a nuclear winter — until the twins bring the sun back. Somehow. They also have a "lemonade lake" and a character who keeps changing ages. The plot isn't about Rah redeeming his brother so much as trying to defeat him — which is easy, because he does things like get horrendously sick by keeping his hideout in a ridiculously irradiated tree. It reads as if nothing was planned out in advance, and everything ends up being ridiculous.
    • Larry Potter and His Best Friend Lilly has no real story other than "Larry Potter has a lot of friends", which is well below the standards of children's literature. The illustrations are even worse than Stouffer's other book, with the two protagonists looking nothing like human beings at all.
  • Gloria Tesch was a teenage writer who rose to infamy thanks to her self-published Maradonia Saga:
    • The books themselves are styled as a "trilogy", but there are five of themnote , and Tesch aimed for six (or eight, nine, or ten — she couldn't make up her mind). The first two entries were 700-page Doorstoppers, while the third "only" had about 400 pages; she then split up the first two books, and thus we get five. Tesch also revised the first book in the process, and it's a significant step forward, but it's still terrible — in fact, so much so that it lost a lot of the unintentional hilarity that arguably made it somewhat bearable.
    • All the books are riddled with awful formatting, loads of Mary Sues, callous sociopathic protagonists, and a confusing story that plagiarizes from other far more credible works. Among the "exciting" plot elements are a talking grasshopper, an antagonist with a "Club of Evil" that sings "Mother Earth songs" and has a water park, and random use of the salsa dance.
    • Tesch's Stage Dad bankrolled her (with the help of Vanity Publishing) and backed her up with an army of lawyers and Sock Puppets to promote the books (and silence their critics). Tesch was billed as "the world's youngest novelist", even though several others younger than her, writing long before her, had published much better books, through traditional publishers. Her dad even funded a film adaptation, which is also So Bad It's Horrible and appears to have bankrupted him.
    • Reviews: Impish Idea has a Spork of the entire series here.
    • As of 2020, Tesch seems to consider the work an Old Shame. Everything points to the series' cancellation — there hasn't been a Maradonia release since the film, the websites are down, the ebooks are no longer available for purchase, and the only physical copies on Amazon are used. She went on to write The Secret of Moon Lake, under the pseudonym Sofia Nova, and promoted it as her debut novel, effectively disowning Maradonia. Unfortunately, Moon Lake is not much better — the guy who sporked Maradonia thinks it's awful, and the Terrible Book Club talks about it here. The book does have positive reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, but those are most likely AstroTurf.
  • Nigel Tomm is an "absurdist artist" who has acquired many detractors for his narcissistic and pretentious attitude. His works, in multiple media, aren't much better:
    • The Blah Story is the second-longest novel, contains the longest English sentence, and the second-longest coined English word. That sounds like it might be So Bad, It's Good, but the book replaces every other word with "blah blah blah", leading to sentences 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..." The length alone should scare you — when you consider that Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time has 4,012,859 words, and it's made up of 15 Doorstoppers, and then see that The Blah Story has over 11 million words, you know you'll be in for a bad time.note 
    • Scarlett Johansson Asked Artie Lange: "Are You Too Fat To Fish Some Natalie Portman?" He Answered: I Must Have Sex With Adriana Lima, Robin Quivers & Eva Longoria Parker As They're My Life Calendar, is just as bad. It's a lot like The Blah Story in that it replaces actual words with phrases like "tra la la", "taram pam pam", and "ha ha ha" so that the sentences (and thus the book) make no sense.

  • Several publishers try to make money by printing Wikipedia articles and then selling them — when you can just go online and get them for free. These books seem to be compiled almost entirely by machine, preserving any spelling errors and vandalism the original articles might have had, and doing other truly bizarre things:
    • Alphascript Publishing and Betascript Publishing claim to have published over 300,000 books — and they're all like this. Each book's cover claims it contains "High Quality Content by WIKIPEDIA Articles!" Each book is titled after one of the articles in it, when there are several more totally unrelated articles, which is why Giving Circles contains the article on the United Kingdom (and also on Giving Circles, but that makes up a single page of the 108-page book). Its covers are epic failures; for instance, Fieseler Fi 167 shows a C-130, and 1867 Canadian Election shows the United States flag. These books were only 40-50 pages long, and yet they sold them for up to $100. Although they were printed on demand, many of them were listed on Amazon as "temporarily out of stock". Thankfully, they stopped doing this in 2013.
    • Books LLC's Wikipedia Source series is as bad as Alphascript and Betascript, but with even weirder flaws. The articles are put together almost randomly, leading to incoherent descriptions and verbal diarrhea like "Gremlin Interactive Games: Loaded, Fragile Allegiance, Jungle Strike, Top Gear 3000, Harlequin, Body Harvest, Utopia: The Creation of a Nation". The presentation is given the barest minimum effort, with most covers just being made of plain words, like this. For copyright reasons, the original images are replaced with URLs pointing toward them. They also publish books with content from Fandom, the former Wikia.

    Standalone Examples 
  • 101 WACKY Computer Jokes by J.B. and J.C. Stamper is one of the worst joke books ever made, and that's saying something. Every single "joke" is a cheap, nonsensical pun based loosely around some computing term — for example, "What did the prisoner do when he got a computer? He ESCAPED!" (Get it? 'Cuz there's an ESCAPE key!) Its worst segment is the "Presidents of the Computed States of America", which is just the names of The Presidents of the U.S. turned into lame computer puns — but not all the presidents, just five of them. And all of them have their own page, with just the pun, not even an illustration. Seanbaby tore into this book in the third part of this Cracked article.
  • 500 Manga Creatures by Yishan Li might have been a decent clipart/how-to-draw book... if you like blatantly-plagiarized Pokémon and Digimon artwork. Just by looking at the cover, you can see what are clearly supposed to be Caterpie, Dragonair, Hoothoot, Oddish, Latias, Cherrymon, and Mummymon, as well as (for some reason) Artemis, the MS Girl version of Vigna Ghina, and a catgirl centaur stolen from a Deviantart gallery. Pretty much all of the reviews for it on Amazon point out how a good 90% of the artwork is blatantly ripped off from official Pokémon art.
  • Die Abenteuer des Stefón Rudel (The Adventures of Stefón Rudel) is pretty much the German equivalent of The Eye of Argon or My Immortal IN SPACE! Lackluster writing, a morass of Plot Holes, poor pacing, flat or creepy characters — by golly, it's all there! The protagonist is Stefan, a six-year-old self-insert of the author, who is forced to flee with his parents from Mars to "World-Earth" (there's a "Main Earth", but it's only mentioned once). In the space of only a few months, he's adopted by Jacqueline Kennedy and then later by Hans-Ulrich Rudel, moves from Occupied Germany to "Itörnetie Plato 18", changes his name to Stefón, enrolls in the "Mars Centauri", picks up a ridiculous number of military ranks — on Earth and in space, and falls in love with several girls. While remaining six years old. This German guy MSTed the book, commenting that it reads like it's written by a a child raised on old Flash Gordon comics, war films, wilderness magazines, and German adult humor. German YouTuber ReziMafia shares her opinions on the novel here. Or head to Amazon to see for yourself.
  • Alfie's Home (1993) is a vicious attack on homosexuals aimed inexplicably at toddlers. It's about a boy who's molested by his Creepy Uncle which, of course, makes you gay. However, he can be saved by reparative therapy (which had been discredited decades earlier and is in fact illegal in some jurisdictions). The boy's uncle, meanwhile, pulls a Karma Houdini. There are as many holes in the plot as there are in the logic. And the drawings defy all perspective and could have been made in MS Paint; they look like drunken Schoolhouse Rock! concept sketches.
  • America's Most Dangerous Nazi, according to A.J. Weberman, is libertarian Congressman Ron Paul. Even if you don't agree with Paul's politics, that's hardly fair. The book is a bias-ridden, hateful piece of nonfiction that borders on libel (and apparently the book's subjects agreed, hence all the lawsuits). It's a disservice to everyone, even Paul's actual detractors. There's no attempt at neutrality or objectivity; Weberman simply Strawmans Paul, his supporters, and indeed anyone who may have ever said anything nice about him (like journalist Glenn Greenwald), and then just throws cheap insults at them. Not even the covers (either of them) can resist Godwinning, thanks to liberal use of Photoshop.
  • The Baldur's Gate novelizations by Philip Athans are a prime example of how not to adapt a video game to book form. The story is little more than a seemingly unending series of fight scenes; the original games' intrigue, story, and themes are not even touched upon. Many characters are introduced only to be killed pages later. The protagonist is an unlikeable and uninteresting jerkass who does little beyond have sex with various women and fight; he shows none of the interesting traits of the games' player character. Characters from the games are completely misrepresented: Jaheria becomes a Damsel in Distress who exists to have sex with the protagonist; her husband Khalid becomes a cruel Domestic Abuser; and Imoen becomes a depressed victim of the protagonist's bullying, and also has a pointless lesbian sex scene. Oh, and everyone praises the protagonist for no reason. The fanbase reviles these books, which got nearly unanimous negative reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads. Wizards of the Coast officially declared the novels Canon Discontinuity, and even the writer of the final book, Drew Karpyshyn, lamented that there was little he could do to fix it after the mess made by the first two books.
  • 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 a story about vampire-hunting and more 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 Book of the Ninja wins the award for most useless martial arts manual of all time. It's a supposed "ninja manual" that includes "deadly fighting secrets" and cautions the reader not to kill people with them. But within are the most laughable "fighting techniques" in history; the book should caution that they could get the reader killed. The photos have nothing to do with the moves they depict and look more like vague limb flailing. It's also horribly put together; the photos are practically xeroxed on the pages, and the About the Author page devolves into a tangent about ninjas. This video does a pretty good job of tearing it apart.
  • The Chronicles of Blood and Stone series by Robert Newcomb 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. Newcomb's follow-up trilogy The Destinies of Blood and Stone is the culmination of badness; the final book, Rise of the Blood Royal, includes a Cliché Storm so big that it makes Hurricane Katrina look like a breezy spring morning.
  • Collectables: Guitars: Makes, Models, Stars is, even as a bargain bin picture book, not really worth the paper it's printed on. The book itself is very minimal in terms of information and doesn't show any full pictures of the instruments. The more you see incorrect dates of obviously modern guitars supposedly being created in 1955, the more you realize that they just didn't care. Take a look at a review of it here.
  • Danganronpa Togami is a three-part Danganronpa Light Novel series which has the distinction of getting the franchise's perpetually Broken Base to agree on something — namely, that it's utter garbage. To describe the story is rather pointless, as whatever narrative there is gets filtered through a massive Random Events Plot that takes so many Shocking Swerves as to become incomprehensible. The books are full of plot holes and nonsensical developments, some of them plot-breaking (a good example is when two characters somehow drive to the Czech Republic from Hokkaido). There are Loads and Loads of Characters, but the characters from the main series being heavily Out of Character, and the original ones are extremely one-note and unlikable; the intended Tragic Villain goes way too far over the Moral Event Horizon to be sympathetic, and the protagonist is probably meant to be The Woobie but instead comes off as a sycophantic Author Avatar. The story is filled with tons of references to literature and obscure history, most of which interrupt the story and make it come off as intensely pretentious, especially when the story interrupts itself mid-climax to brag about how good the author is. Oh, and if you came in wanting to read about Byakuya Togami, you don't even get that, as he spends the vast majority of the story Out of Focus.
  • Das Reich Artam is an Alternate History set in a victorious Nazi Germany which even exists more than 100 years later. If you think this could be problematic to write, you'd be right — while he doesn't say so 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. 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.
  • Diary of a Lonely Demon, by Jon David, is a classic example of what happens when a Marty Stu meets misogyny. In a nutshell, the story revolves around one Jasper Davis, a wangsty self-insert who blames everything that's wrong with his life on evil women. Jasper then runs into Morgalla Smythe, a demon girl who apparently became a Christian thanks to her newfound boyfriend. All of a sudden, demons show up, and it's up to Jasper and Morgalla to stop them. It's 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. Many passages are just copied from other works, and the author suffers from an inability to take constructive criticism properly.
  • Dragon Ball Z: An Unauthorized Guide, by the mother-son team of Lois and Danny Gresh, is one of several "guidebooks" meant to describe Dragon Ball Z to people who wanted to learn about the then-hot show without watching the entire thing. Some were good, some were bad, but this one was absolutely worthless. It gives little more than the most basic trivia about the characters and episodes of the series, and it explains almost nothing of the show's mythos. Instead, it chooses to spend its time making incredibly lame "jokes" about Piccolo swearing in Japanese, or dispensing pointless trivia like "Arachibutyrophobia" being the technical term for the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth. Its section on roleplaying devolves into a pointless example session involving global warming and styrofoam. The section on the games mentions Import Gaming while neglecting to mention that most U.S. consoles can't play Japanese games without modding the console. It was clearly aimed at younger viewers who didn't know what they were getting into; anybody with a passing familiarity with the show knew better than to touch this. However, it's got a few high reviews from Amazon, most of which come from "A Customer", which should raise alarm bells. Here's a review from the writer of the much better Dragon Ball Culture books.
  • Dragons: Lexicon Triumvirate sounds cool in theory: it features dragons, cyborgs, firearms, and computers! Unfortunately, the author ruined it with poor writing. The plot is incoherent, the characters are one-dimensional, and the clunky prose is full of thesaurus abuse. The author tried to make the main character seem intelligent by having him recite, learn, and muse over scientific facts, but they're all at most high school physics things which wouldn't impress anyone in a sci-fi setting (and he sometimes doesn't even get that right). While the book has a 3-star rating on Amazon, its 5-star reviews are either joke reviews or from suspected Sock Puppet accounts.
  • Empress Theresa by Norman Boutin rose to infamy thanks to the author's numerous Dear Negative Reader diatribes where he attacks his critics and insists that the book is the greatest in human history. Actually, the book is an incomprehensible mishmash of flat and uninteresting characters, a nonexistent story, plot holes big enough to drive a truck through, nonsensical story elements, bad pacing, bad grammar, lots of ogling the protagonist's body (despite claims that the book has no sexual content), and much, much more. To give you a sense of what you're in for:
    • Theresa tries to survive jumping out of a plane from over 40,000 feet by stuffing empty sealed Coke bottles under her clothes. Coke bottles she brought with her despite not even knowing that she would be on a plane. She lands in the ocean with a "belly flop" and dies (whether from the impact or hypothermia isn't clear) — but the doctors somehow revive her days later by turning the heat up.
    • Theresa's solution for her powers turning off all the wind on Earth is to constantly erect and demolish a giant pillar at the North Pole, thereby creating a constant global drizzle to help the crops — which most plants wouldn't be able to survive on, and which would make the North Pole even less hospitable than it was. And then she decides to eliminate winter entirely because she doesn't like it.
    • Theresa is described as a "good Catholic girl" whom all the characters praise as kind, smart, virtuous, and the most perfect girl in the world. Her actions paint her as petty, narcissistic, and stupid, and the problems she's tasked to solve are all the result of her own careless actions.
    • Down the Rabbit Hole's Fredrik Knudsen did an episode detailing how far Boutin went to defend and promote the book, and then devoted an entire livestream just to tearing the book itself apart. To further run the point home, KrimsonRogue has dedicated five videos worth of commentary, with even the shortest running just over an hour. He noted that over 400 pages, he could only spot two that didn't feature blatantly poor grammar or embarrassing writing.
  • Two of several Friday the 13th books released in a deal between New Line Cinema and publisher Black Flame:
    • Friday the 13th: Hell Lake is a Doorstopper with pacing problems that completely derails Jason's character. 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 which serves almost no purpose past escaping from Hell. He also has a gang of goons following him around at several different points. 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 down dozens with a hunting rifle. 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 to Camp Crystal Lake as "Lake Blood" instead of using the correct nickname "Camp Blood". Finally, if all of the above wasn't bad enough, have fun attempting to follow the extraordinarily confusing prose and figuring out just what the fuck is happening at any given moment.
    • Jason X: Death Moon often 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? 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.
  • From Goods to a Good Life: Intellectual Freedom and Global Justice by Madhavi Sunder, J.D. would barely even be a blip on the radar if not for and his multiple features on it, and it really isn't hard to see why. While its premise is somewhat admirable, arguing for greater acknowledgement of intellectual property, it's poorly written and researched, littered with bias and Cowboy BeBop at His Computer. The real insult, though, is that its author is a law professor. See how much she gets wrong:
    • She goes on about how The Lion King supposedly plagiarized from Kimba the White Lion, when she very clearly hasn't seen either film. She can't tell Kimba's Pauley Cracker (a parrot) from The Lion King's Zazu (a hornbill). She thinks they have the same "rocky terrain" as a setting, when Kimba mostly takes place in the jungle. She notes that both Claw and Scar are darker-skinned lions with a scar over their left eye — and misses the massive differences in their characters' personalities, as well as the fact that Claw is a much less prominent character than Scar. She notes that "Kimba" and "Simba" are similar, and fails to pick up on how "Simba" is Swahili for "lion".
    • She has a very clear pro-Bollywood bias; one chapter is devoted entirely to how Steven Spielberg allegedly stole the premise for ET The Extraterrestrial from a 1960s Bollywood movie called Alien. Throughout the book, she comes across as a xenophobic twit who hates Hollywood on principle and thinks it incapable of coming up with anything original.
    • Her use of sources is strikingly poor, especially for a lawyer writing about copyrights. Some claims are totally unsourced. Others come from things like poorly made YouTube videos. And some claims clearly come from uncredited sources, particularly the Lion King claims, which come from a 2004 book by Fred Patten. Imagine the Irony in a law professor accusing Disney of plagiarism having to plagiarize to support her claims.
  • The official strategy guide for Final Fantasy IX is universally hailed as the worst strategy guide of all time. Likely due to Executive Meddling from Squaresoft, the guide consists of extremely short sections with minimal detail that asks the reader to visit Square's PlayOnline website for the actual information. There's also a misprint during one of the Disc 2 boss fights, Lani, whose strategy is inexplicably replaced with the copy-pasted with one for the first mini-bosses in Disc 1 (but the website had the actual strategy to defeat her). This was in 2000, when most people didn't have access to the Internet, and those who did would be better off visiting GameFAQs anyway. When Prima did a 2015 omnibus re-release for the VII, VIII, and IX guides, it got a complete overhaul.
  • Ghost Hunting 2.0: Breaking New Ground by Chris Bores (better known as The Irate Gamer) is supposedly about new methods of ghost hunting that he developed, but is actually just another testament to his already famously massive ego. The book is plagued with spelling, grammar, and formatting errors, which Bores openly defends as intentional. Most of the "facts" presented are contradictory and have little to no evidence, sourcing, or reasoning other than his own word that the experts are wrong and he is right. The majority of the tools and texts he brings up, which he claims no one else uses, have been used before — and thoroughly debunked as useless by professional ghost hunters (including peanut butter baits and the Tibetan Book of the Dead, which is an extremely-poorly-translated Buddhist self-help guide). He spends half the book making references to things like Batman and Scooby-Doo. He repeatedly brags about how he was at one point the 55th most subscribed person on YouTube, conveniently leaving out the fact that it was for his video game review show. And by the end, he declares that he has created a new branch of psychology. The book has a 3-star rating on Amazon, as actual critiques are counterbalanced by a flood of 5-star reviews written by the author's own spambots and defensive Irate Gamer fans who admit to not having read it.
  • Hamster Huey and the Gooey Kablooie is a lazy Defictionalization of the Calvin and Hobbes bedtime story and a good reason why Bill Watterson never discussed the plot in the strip. The story itself is unimaginative, the illustrations are crude, and it was probably published for a quick buck — indeed, it's only eight pages long (and a good chunk of the last page is an order form), yet it costs over $20, which (plus shipping) equates to over three dollars per page. All of its positive Amazon reviews are from the author's hometown.
  • The Halo franchise has seen many books released over its long run, and while many of them vary in quality from great to mediocre, the one novel both fans and 343 Industries would like to forget about is Halo: Glasslands by Karen Traviss. Already infamous for her tendency to use her books as platforms to voice her own opinions on the franchises she writes for, this book can be best described as one long rant about how much the readers should hate Dr. Halsey. The plot is constantly screeched to a halt as the characters angst over how terrible Halsey and the SPARTAN-II program are, with some of them being massive Hypocrites in the process (the SPARTAN-III program, which involved turning children orphaned by the Human-Covenant war into glorified Cannon Fodder evidently being perfectly ethical.) What time that isn't spent ranting about Halsey is instead spent on the protagonists trying to incite civil war among the Sangheili faction most determined to maintain peaceful relations with mankind, making for a book rancid with Moral Myopia. Traviss's next two books for the series were somewhat better, but not enough to redeem her or her first entry in the eyes of the fandom.
  • Clifford Bowyer's deservedly-obscure Imperium Saga could rival The Eye of Argon for sheer bad writing, but it's worse for its characters tossing around the Idiot Ball every five seconds, to the point where it just isn't funny anymore. The first book in the series alone provides the following highlights:
  • Jokes for Minecrafters: Booby Traps, Bombs, Boo-Boos, and More, by Michele, Jordon, and Steven Hollow, is notorious for being one of the worst Minecraft books and joke books. All of the jokes (tongue twisters, riddles, limericks, and haikus included) are either unintentional Anti-Humor (e.g. "What do you call a Creeper with a bomb in his hands? Doesn't matter; he will be blown to smithereens!"), uncreative puns, or Minecraft trivia disguised as jokes. The punchlines are weak, lazy (e.g. repeated use of "He was destroyed!"), confusing (e.g. "What's funnier than a baby zombie pigman? A baby zombie pigman dressed up as Notch"), or not even relevant to Minecraft (such as the constant references to bombs, something Minecraft never explicitly references, which will make you wonder if the authors ever played Minecraft). There's even a chapter of Minecraft sayings that functions basically as Filler. The terribly-drawn illustrations do not add any sort of humor. In short, it's a failure of a book with a bunch of mundane statements passed off as "jokes" that even the smallest of kids would never find entertaining. Check a reader's commentary out here, or listen to the fine folks over at Soot House take the piss out of it here.
  • List of the Lost is Morrissey's only published novel, and the most critically reviled thing he's ever put his name on by an extremely wide margin. Its reputation is well-deserved. This book is an absolute disaster on every single level, from plot and characterization all the way down to basic sentence structure. Supposedly telling the story of a group of high school track stars in 1970's Boston who accidentally murder a homeless man, the book is really an excuse for Morrissey to go on rambling, insipid tirades against his favorite pet subjects, including Winston Churchill, The British Royal Family, the court system, the meat industry, and women in general. The plot and characterization are nonexistent, with every character talking the exact same way about the exact same subjects, and most of what passes for a plot ends up being completely inconsequential. It's not even a Random Events Plot; it's basically just a series of setups for Morrissey's rants. These monologues, which frequently extend for multiple pages at a time, make up the majority of the book's slim content; even though it's only 118 pages long, it's an excruciatingly dull and slow read. The whole thing is also written in the absolute worst, most masturbatory form of Purple Prose, to the point where it often becomes completely incoherent; even if you agree with Morrissey's views, it becomes difficult to decipher what the fuck he's on about. It's just so pompous, misanthropic, incompetently constructed, and overall unpleasant on every single level that it's almost impossible to wring even ironic enjoyment out of it. Seamas O'Reilly does a more thorough dissection of it than we're capable of here.
  • Mass Effect: Deception is 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 side story 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 absence of anything resembling consistency or continuity. 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. Publisher Del Rey openly apologized for the book (and promised to radically rewrite it, though it never happened).
  • The James Murphy translation of Mein Kampf took 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. It was submitted incomplete; 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.
  • Mermaid's Kiss and Siren's Song is a poorly-disguised Final Fantasy VII fanfic published on Amazon. All the characters are thinly-veiled Expies and one-dimensional, there's Rouge Angles of Satin everywhere, and... you know what? The reviews speak for themselves.
  • Mission Earth, a decalogy by L. Ron Hubbard weighing in at nearly 4,000 pages, 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 is nothing more than a thinly-veiled pamphlet for the Church of Scientology and keeps hitting the reader over the head with its messages against psychology and psychiatry. Here's a highly-detailed overview.
  • Mortal Kombat: Deception was a fine game, but its official strategy guide from BradyGames was almost unreadable. Where to begin?
    • Apparently, nobody proofread the damn thing. It's littered with typos on almost every page.
    • It describes only a few of the game's Fatalities and one or two of the suicide moves, apparently forgetting that the Fatalities are half the reason anybody plays Mortal Kombat.
    • The game tries to hid Ghostly Liu Kang, as he's a Secret Character, but he was even revealed in the game's previews, so there was no point. And the spoilering is quite clumsy; it describes his movelist and suggested strategy and only omits his name.
    • The Konquest section is clearly based on an early build; many items are nowhere near where the guide says they are, and it goes by a coordinate grid system that clearly changed in development. It also organizes this section by realm, which forces you to flip around the strategy guide every time you go back and forth between realms in the game.
    • The Krypt is one of the biggest aspects of the game, but it's not described at all in this guidebook. Even in the previous game's strategy guide, BradyGames acknowledged its existence; they just gidn't tell you anything about how to get it.
    • It includes a Kombat Kodex that was meant to be used online, but whatever they were planning to do with it never happened, so it's totally useless.
    • One "nifty" extra, is a fold-out at the end of the book with the character bios in it, but many of them are wrong; half of Kobra's is missing, while the second half of Noob/Smoke's is replaced with Havik's.
    • It spends a lot more time on fighting strategies than describing stage mechanics, which is pretty useless for a game like Mortal Kombat, where each individual player is likely to develop their own strategy but has to share the same playing field. One arena, the Courtyard, is described in the guide as having nothing to say about it.
  • "Nerd Porn Auteur" by Ernest Cline (known for Ready Player One) is a supposed poetry book, but to call it poetry would be a crime against language, for not a single line scans in any way. Every single line has a different number of syllables from the ones before or after it, and no attention is paid to the natural rhythm of speech, so it definitely isn't free verse either. The only way it could be passed off as poetry is by having nonstandard line breaks. If that weren't bad enough, the entire poem is just a "Nice Guy" complaining about girls sleeping with jocks instead of people like him; despite claiming to dislike the objectification of women, he does so himself without any self-awareness. And "nerd porn" is kind of redundant given that most porn is for nerds. It's included in the poetry collection The Importance of Being Ernest (not to be confused with Oscar Wilde's classic play), all of which fails at being poetry, resembling blog posts with random line breaks about subjects ranging from Airwolf to Nostradamus as your roommate to cunnilingus — but "Nerd Porn Auteur" stands out as the worst.
  • No Touching, by Aileen Deng, was commissioned by the Asexual Visibility and Education Network, who would kindly like to forget it ever existed. It was intended to promote awareness of asexuality and debunk common myths about it, but the writer is incredibly ignorant of the theme and can't convey correctly what little she gets right, giving us instead a cliché storm that makes you want to scream to the protagonist "Stop Being Stereotypical". What little enjoyable stuff this tome has is ruined by the unpolished writing and inconsistent characterization. Elizabeth the Gray's review goes into more detail.
  • Org's Odyssey by Duke Otterland 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 seven to one. See the reviews here.
  • The Overton Window by Glenn Beck is a thriller about how awesome people like Beck are fighting left-wing lunatics — except it wasn't written by Beck at all, but rather ghostwritten by Jack Henderson, who in 2005 wrote a very similar novel called Circumference of Darkness where the bad guys are right-wing lunatics. It has been called one of the worst works of literature ever written; the Los Angeles Times called it less a train wreck than "a lurching, low-speed derailment halfway out of the station", and the Washington Post is inclined to agree, as is Cracked. How terrible is the prose? Here's an excerpt:
    "these liberated chestnut curls framed a handsome face made twice as radiant by the mysteries surely waiting just behind those light green eyes."
  • 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. 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 as a character 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.
  • Pokémon and Harry Potter: A Fatal Attraction by Phil Arms is the worst of the many books designed to warn frightened parents about hot new franchises. Despite the name, most of the book is about Pokémon, with Harry Potter only getting a single chapter. Arms clearly knows nothing about either franchise and admits outright that he's never seen, read, or played anything from either one, apparently getting most of his information from Internet forums dedicated to criticizing them. He seems to think that you can kill, maim, and steal in a Pokémon game, and that Pokémon and Digimon are the same thing (a clear indication of someone who doesn't know what he's talking about). The average Amazon review is 1.8, and that's accounting for most of the five-star reviews being trolls.
  • Reaper's Creek by Greg Jackson, better known as Onision, is his third foray into literature. While his first two books were bad, this is much, much worse. In it, a boy named Daniel is abducted by aliens and given powers — first he can just sense dead bodies, but he gets so many more New Powers as the Plot Demands that he becomes more powerful than God and fights him. Almost every challenge he faces is resolved instantly, and anything resembling real difficulty comes off as artificial. Daniel is a borderline Sociopathic Hero who goes against his own moral code in the blink of an eye, such as when he kills a Serial Killer and his accomplices (including the one who was blackmailed into doing it). There's a graphic sex scene between Daniel and his girlfriend, when he's 12 and the girlfriend is 16. There are various grammar and spelling errors, and perhaps the most telling is one where Daniel is accidentally referred to as "Greg". It's so bad, Krimson Rogue did a two-hour rant on it and dubbed it worse than his known Berserk Button, Twilight.
  • Rise of the Zombies is free on Google Books, but even then you'll want your money back. The book is a pathetic two pages long, and they're the two stupidest pages ever: a father and son are out fishing, when zombie Blackbeard hauls himself onto the boat and eats them. In the space of a sentence, the zombies kill every single person on a nearby island. The president nukes the island, but the zombies somehow learn to fly planes and escape, and (again in just one sentence) kill all life on Earth. Out of nowhere, "Alien's from the planet Xenan" (sic) turn up and blow up Earth. It has to be seen to be believed. Another story by the same author has global warming cause Earth to lose its gravity.
  • The Robot by Paul E. Watson is a self-described "wildly improbable male teen fantasy" in which two awkward high school friends, Gabe and Dover, discover a Robot Girl named T.R.I.N.A. in the secret laboratory in Gabe's father's basement. They mistakenly activate the robot when trying to have sex with it, and it escapes. Then they set out on a quest to foil an assassination plot against Dr. Phil. The characters are all stereotypical Jerkasses, especially Gabe and Dover. The dialogue mainly consists of tired clichés and crass sex jokes. The subplot where Gabe tries to connect with his father falls flat because he's an extremely mean-spirited father (who after everything that happens still grounds Gabe at the end). Every chapter begins with an inspirational quote which has more or less nothing to do with what happens in said chapter. Ridiculously enough, the book is intended for 12-year-olds.
  • 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.
  • Save the Pearls: Revealing Eden, vanity-published by Victoria Foyt, claims to be "the next Hunger Games" with its premise of an apocalyptic world, and it comes with a potentially interesting twist — white people ("Pearls") are the disadvantaged minority and black people ("Coals") are the dominant majority. However, it's done in completely because this is an Excuse Plot for a whiny racist to fantasize about a world in which 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. The protagonist at one point has to use paint do disguise herself as a "Coal", leading to a promotional video featuring an actress in blackface. And the book as a whole is ham-handed and devoid of any real effort. The book is currently rated 1½ stars on Amazon (and just keeps on going down), with strong evidence that the handful of positive reviews were faked.
  • La Septima M (The Seventh M) is the first published book by Chilean author Francisca Solar, 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 female forensic investigator (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 with vaguely defined and inconsistent effects, a detective with No Sense of Humor whose investigative capacities are more of a Informed Ability, and an obnoxious photographer who was intended as Plucky Comic Relief but comes as The Scrappy instead. The location reeks of Chile is Naziland, every bad police procedural cliché is played straight, the "mystery" is practically ripped off an X-Files filler episode, some of the very tense situations happen in Hanna-Barbera cartoon style (including what may be the worst attempt at playing the Scooby-Dooby Doors for drama), Plot Holes abound, and the Idiot Ball is passed around 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. A sequel (named El Hada de las Cadenas, "The Faerie of Chains") was eventually written and published, but the editorial decided to release it as digital-only — which was its death-knell, as Chile is not a place where digital content is widely sought after.
  • Touched by Venom by Janine Cross, better known as The "Venom Cock" Book, would have barely been a blip if not for the Internet. The closest one can get to a plot summary is to say that Dragonriders of Pern, Gor, and Clan of the Cave Bear get thrown in a blender with extra helpings of pain, suffering, and sex with dragons. It 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. (And 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 fertility rites with the old dragons. And that just takes you halfway through the book; after that, the damage spreads to people other than Zarq. To Cross' credit, she never tries to pretend that it's anything other than a Crapsack World, and the sequels (while not good) are a significant improvement and explain many of the baffling plot points in Venom, but the book doesn't stand on its own.
  • Troll is a self-published "romance" novel by Emma Clark. The writing is incredibly creepy (sexual assault and blatant stalking, including breaking into someone's house, is treated as true love), the pacing is terrible (it takes until the second-to-last chapter for there to be any exposition on the characters or any semblance of a plot), the prose is awful, and there are just so many other problems. Jenny Nicholson rips it apart here.


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