- File Size: 247 KB
- Print Length: 76 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: FoxAcre Press (March 16, 2011)
- Publication Date: March 16, 2011
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B004T5VTSY
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #389,251 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
The Eye of Argon: Scholars' Ebook Edition Kindle Edition
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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.
... 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." So, he's sexually attracted to the guy he just killed?
And it's like that ALL THROUGH THE BOOK. Random adjectives are slapped around (a girl has a "lithe, opaque nose"), verbs are slaughtered (Carthena "husked" a remark), adverbs are beaten senseless (how do you ask something "bustily?") and the dialogue may cause your eyeballs to bleed. Who could write a line like, "You make love well, wench"?
But let's be honest here -- this book would be a disaster even if Theis weren't that bad a writer -- the "plot" is incoherent and apparently made-up as it goes along, with absurd plot twists (killing people with a RAT PELVIS?) and long infodumps of boring blabber. What's more: it doesn't even have an end.
Even if they tried their hardest, most people couldn't write a story as hilariously, mind-blowingly horrible as "The Eye of Argon." Warning: if you read it, you might end up worming agonizingly as you utter a gasping gurgle.