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The Eye of Argon Paperback – April 17, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 76 pages
  • Publisher: Wildside Press (April 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809562618
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809562619
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,878,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

At the very least, the worst story ever to see the light of day.
BDan Fairchild
While Joyce challenges us to investigate our surroundings and origins more closely, The Eye of Argon has taught me not to investigate bad pulp fiction too closely.
Chris Creel
Chances are, anyone nearby you will die from laughter, if you don't choke on your own.
High Fantasy Reader

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Numps on January 20, 2007
Format: Paperback
Truly the worst-written piece of fiction ever, this is a story you just can't put down. Burdened with layer upon layer of bad description, stilted dialogue, and pointless drivel, as well as reeking of adolescent hormones, this really really wanted to be the next Conan the Barbarian.

It wasn't.

With spelling that changes with every sentence (much like Elizabethan texts, but at least spelling had not yet been standardized then) and punctuation that seems mostly random, this can a challenge to read. But read it you must...if you can see through laughter-induced tears.

In fairness to the author, he was very young and tried very hard when he wrote this (his use of a thesaurus could be considered legendary), and it shows. No one could deliberately write this as bad fiction and be so successful. For those who have encountered The "Eye of Argon" at conventions or on the web, this is a book to be treasured, and to be shared. Why not gift a copy to your favorite sci-fi or fantasy enthusiast?

For Mystery Science Theater 3000 fans, a wonderful "MSTing" of this by Adam Cadre was posted on the rec.arts.sf.written newsgroup in 1996. Once you have read the book, search for one of the many copies of that version on the web and laugh yourself silly all over again.
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Format: Paperback
"The Eye of Argon" is a legendary piece of fiction. It may look like just another lame "Conan the Barbarian" ripoff...

... but it isn't. This is the Holy Grail of wretched fantasy, the Excalibur of excrescent writing, the purest form of terrible writing that makes Edward Bulwer-Lytton look like Shakespeare. Jim Theis' legendary novella butchers the English language and wallows in the blood -- and I defy anyone to read this story in one sitting without experiencing fatal brain meltage.

It is the story of Grignr (how do you say that anyway?), a barbarian who hacks'n'slashes his way to the city of Gorzam, "hoping to discover wine, women, and adventure to boil the wild blood coarsing through his savage veins." Yeah, whatever. So he starts a fight over some random "wench" in Gorzam, and ends up sitting in prison while a bunch of priests try to rape and sacrifice a girl. Of course, he starts causing trouble like all hot-blooded barbarians do.

Well, that's sort of the story -- if you can call it a story, which is difficult to do because frankly Theis seems to have made it up as he went along. Admittedly he was only sixteen when he wrote "Eye of Argon," but let's face it -- there isn't a single solitary SENTENCE in this book that doesn't make me want to stab myself in the brain with a fork.

Not that that's always a BAD thing. In fact, "Eye of Argon" is gutsplittingly funny and is used as a sort of genre joke.

Most of this comes from the way that Jim Theis... well, he did to the English language what Carthena does to the evil priest. Just look at the very first scene of the book. We've got a "misting brain," "grinding lungs" and "writhing mouths," not to mention "Grignr's emerald green orbs glared lustfully at the wallowing soldier.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Catherine Raymond on September 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
There's no denying it; Jim Theis's little book probably includes some of the worst prose in history. It's ridden with cliche, the grammar and spelling are a horrible botch, and what is done to innocent similes has got to be read to be believed.

Yet for decades after it was written, mimeographed and photocopied versions of the manuscript circulated at science-fiction conventions, where it often featured in contests to see who could read the largest sections without breaking into helpless laughter.

For The Eye of Argon is incredibly funny. The 16-year-old that Theis was when he wrote it probably did not intend it to be funny, but it is, and should be appreciated as such. I just hope that the publisher of the current, nicely-bound edition wasn't foolish enough to try to have its editors eliminate the spelling and punctuation errors, for those add to the tale's charm.

If you doubt this; try this experiment. Google for "Eye of Argon". There are copies of the manuscript on line. Try to read it. Out loud. Preferably at a party, after a few beers. That's the best way to appreciate this strange little work.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By BDan Fairchild on October 22, 2007
Format: Paperback
That's right, this is the worst story ever written. At the very least, the worst story ever to see the light of day. The plot is confused and clichéd, the characters at most one-dimensional, the language mangled nearly beyond recognition. It has been described as having been written by a teenager with three thesauruses and no dictionary. Every part of it is cringeworthy.

Nevertheless, it is worth reading (though not, perhaps, worth paying $8 for... especially as it is available on the internet). The manner of reading is important, however, for reading this monstrosity alone is pointless. Instead, gather a good-sized group of friends together, and sit in a circle. Have one person start reading, making sure to pronounce everything as written. When the reader laughs (or makes a mistake), he or she passes the story to the next person, and so on. I have seen some people so overcome that they were unable to get through a single sentence, or even a single word.
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