Author Topic: well, THAT was the worst book ever!  (Read 145585 times)

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jmarvellous

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1725 on: September 17, 2012, 07:20:53 PM »
I read an ebook recently that had plot holes the size of offshore oil rigs.

1. Everyone in the U.S. has a morality rating that determines whether they're worth anything. Yet no one knows how they're assigned or questions why morality is suddenly assessable or what it has to do with your right to food.
2. Protagonist has a really high score, supposedly, and she buys into the idea that she's actually superior (mainly intellectually and physically) to everyone around her, and that she should be part of the morality police. Which apparently involves tasks ranging from going undercover with no idea of what your mission is, eating better food, breaking up fights in the street, raiding homes for valuables, doing things with dead people and not knowing how to be friendly or interesting yet having men fall at your feet. Et cetera.
3. BUT there is never an explanation of what morals they supposedly value; the main character seems completely mean and anti-intellectual yet is supposedly really deep (one of those "show me, don't tell me!" issues) and super brilliant at English (and also combat).
4. There's supposedly a lot of vital fighting going on but the supposedly important people spend their time raiding farms and checking out abandoned farms, or going to really bad parties where they eat crummy food and pretend it's fancy.
5. People are being used for their reproductive organs and/or their meat and/or as fuel. None of the "moral" folks has a problem with that beyond the most minimal "Oh, really?" curiosity.
6. The whole thing is supposedly caused by war for oil and is supposed to be some kind of warning about oil dependence, but their day-to-day problems have nothing to do with that.
7. All sorts of people show up, say something portentous or do something wild but then nothing comes of it. And oh boy, the gratuitous icky stuff.

I think it's *supposed* to be showing us that the character grows up and sees what's really wrong with society, but ... she doesn't really grow up or do anything to save much. And she's still really, really, boring at the end. And the whole blood-for-oil thing is a backdrop rather than any sort of concern of the characters, or something they can do anything about.

Also, many characters' names are bad puns, and every character including the protagonist is flat as a pancake. And boy does she need an editor. (I can share the title via PM if that actually makes you curious, but for silly reasons I don't want to put it on here.)

PeterM

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1726 on: September 17, 2012, 10:44:54 PM »
I'm sure it needs hardly to be said that everyone who didn't like John turned out to be a blustering buffoon or worse.  Lucky for us, John stayed modest, humble, and sensitive to the end.  <sigh>

There are, sadly, a great many sci-fi books that the above description would fit. Many of them are extremely popular, especially if they openly mock certain political views. I don't know if I've ever encountered one as ridiculous as you've described, though. Honestly, I've enjoyed quite a few of these bad sci-fi books, because the good outweighed the bad, at least narrowly. This one I think I'll stay away from.

Pippen

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1727 on: September 18, 2012, 03:19:58 AM »
Resurrecting this thread because my latest book deserves an entry:

Temporary Duty

Summary:  First half of book introduces the Hero, John Peters, as a low-ranking hillbilly enlisted man in the Navy, detailed to a alien trader spaceship to set things up for the arrival of a detachment of Naval aviators.  These pilots are flying their own jets, modified for Outer Space by removing the existing engines and replacing with magic go-machines.

John turns out to have an amazing knack for the alien language and learns it fluently within a month, using complex imagery and 5 syllable words in the language.  No one else achieves this level of fluency in the next 2 years (except some of the aliens, with English).  John speaks English with terrible grammar, indicating his hillbilly origins, but speaks the alien language like an Oxford scholar.

In the first three quarters of the book, John stumbles into one situation or another (which he somehow always saves), and is yelled at all the time by his superiors, regardless of whether it makes sense.  The aliens, however, all grow to love him for his plain-spoken ways, and over the course of the book he makes a fortune (in alien money) with his savvy trade assistance.  And of course, in every completely new situation John encounters, he responds with either super-human sensitivity and insight, or ninja fighting ability (as appropriate).

The last quarter of the book details the following:
  • his overcoming a trio of assassins,
  • being kidnapped by competing space traders,
  • outwitting his captors, and thus gaining their grudging respect
  • being offered a nubile teen companion (whom he gently turns down because he has moral standards),
  • being offered two willing adult women, who are stunningly beautiful and inexplicably human,
  • escaping (with the women, who would otherwise have been killed for some reason),
  • in a spacecraft he has learned how to fly, and now owns because he stole it,
  • discovering he has impregnated both his companions who were, of course, instantly and permanently devoted to him,
  • building a mini-empire, of which he is undisputed leader (but a kind and fair one, naturally),
  • and eventually having tea with the US President as an equal Head of State

I'm sure it needs hardly to be said that everyone who didn't like John turned out to be a blustering buffoon or worse.  Lucky for us, John stayed modest, humble, and sensitive to the end.  <sigh>

 ???

Are you sure the main character wasn't named "Mary Sue I'mtheauthorsavatar"?

Now I just have to read it. It is getting great reviews on Amazon but what the heck is up with the cover? Is he mopping the floor of a spacedeck?

RebeccainGA

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1728 on: September 18, 2012, 01:08:56 PM »
Just bailed on a 'Free Fridays' book from BN - Meet the Annas. I'm a big fan of genre fiction, especially modern historical sort of thing (books set in the 20th century, but from areas/cultures/times I've never lived in). I am the daughter of a musician, and have been around the music business's periphery since I was a kid. This book is nominally set in the pre-Beatles, post-Jerry Lee Lewis era (1960-something) and sounded right up my alley.....

Until it became this long, boring "I loved her but she ignored me" diatribe about how producers do good things to music and bad things to musicians. UGH.

I started reading the Emberverse series instead. Loved the first one. Slogging through parts of book number two - not sure there'll be a read of book3 unless this British Isles plot line picks up.

Oh, and double points to the people downvoting Thomas Covenant - I read both trilogies in high school, and I suspect they are as bad now as they were then - and the last parts of the "On A Dark Horse" series by Piers Anthony. The first few were amazing - then they started in with the scrabble and the crazy stuff. Piers Anthony is nearing retirement, and he's writing with this guy (among others - he LOVES collaborations!) named J.R. Rain, who writes these Grimm meets Monk almost-TV show books about a female vampire named Samantha Moon. The Samantha Moon books are reasonable - definitely literary junk food, but you get what they advertise. The Anthony/Rain collaborations are sort of... Xanth meets Aladdin. Bizarre, hysterically funny in parts, but generally forgettable. A shame - I loved Xanth.

Ereine

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1729 on: September 18, 2012, 01:39:50 PM »
I didn't except much of this book as it was a category medical romance from 1970s but it was kind of amusingly bad. In 142 pages the heroine loses her beloved little brother, her voice, her boyfriend and her job (the last two because of the muteness). She also loses  friend to abusive killer and is framed and arrested for murder by the wife of one man who's in love with her (she also happens to be the ex-fiancee of a man the heroine loves), the woman decides to make her suicide look like the heroine killed her. Despite all the drama most of the book is angst over the man she loves and who may or may not love her back (of course he does, even though she can't talk, or maybe because of it).

Tashigi

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1730 on: September 18, 2012, 08:18:56 PM »
I submit for consideration the steampunk romance mystery e-book and series: Viridis.

The elements are amazing and well-selected but the creator forgets something in execution. It considers the grittiness of the London underworld, the injustice rife in strict social stratification, and economic power wielded by women through "improper" social roles and standing. It doesn't just consider mechanical advances but chemical advances too, including the field of pharmaceuticals.

And it all falls apart. I know that it is a romance series but I was already irked from the very start with how the romance starts. The female lead lets herself get swept up by her oh-so-wicked but supposedly endearing (but actually emotionally blackmailing, controlling and very jealous) former beau. There's a lot of "for your own good" nonsense peppered throughout the blasted book. But all she does is sit and stew about it before stupidly trying to reason with someone who has shown her quite explicitly that he is willing to ruin her life, her living, reputation and family without a single qualm. She does this twice.

The only reasonably sympathetic characters are the side characters, including a rather progressive police detective and controlling beau's rakish friend (who's guilty of his share of emotional blackmailing but unlike the main love lead, seems to see her as a real person).

Winterlight

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1731 on: September 19, 2012, 10:53:23 AM »
I'm sure it needs hardly to be said that everyone who didn't like John turned out to be a blustering buffoon or worse.  Lucky for us, John stayed modest, humble, and sensitive to the end.  <sigh>

This sounds amazingly like a Harry Potter fanfic I read a while back.
If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
Caroline Lake Ingalls

Petticoats

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1732 on: September 19, 2012, 11:09:47 AM »
Oh, and double points to the people downvoting Thomas Covenant - I read both trilogies in high school, and I suspect they are as bad now as they were then - and the last parts of the "On A Dark Horse" series by Piers Anthony. The first few were amazing - then they started in with the scrabble and the crazy stuff. <snip>

I read On a Pale Horse in high school. Like most sci-fi I read, it was pressed on me by a male friend. I did not read any more Piers Anthony afterward, since this book was pretty clearly geared only toward male readers (straight male readers, specifically). Except for one poor girl who dies in a car wreck, every single female seemed to be about sex. Not for her own pleasure, mind you--for the hero's and/or reader's. A young woman has to convey confidential info to the hero while they're being spied on? She climbs in his lap and pretends to sex him up. We meet the heroine, walking across a room: naked, for no reason. The heroine is tortured: again, naked. The hero meets Mother Nature: she's naked, and offers a demonstration of her sex magic. I found the overall premise of the book interesting, but was so alienated by the depictions of women that I never read any more of the series.

lilfox

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1733 on: September 19, 2012, 05:41:57 PM »
Resurrecting this thread because my latest book deserves an entry:

Temporary Duty

<synopsis>

 ???

Are you sure the main character wasn't named "Mary Sue I'mtheauthorsavatar"?

Now I just have to read it. It is getting great reviews on Amazon but what the heck is up with the cover? Is he mopping the floor of a spacedeck?

@Traska - yes, it does totally read as "I was picked on while in the Navy, but my protagonist triumphs over all those idiots I had to report to!"  Also towards the end you will note that apparently he had it in for the IRS too.

@Pippen - yes, swabbing the deck of a spaceship, because the hero is, first and foremost*, a sailor.  (Except later when he becomes an independently wealthy head of state.)  Hope that wasn't too many spoilers for you.    :-\

To be fair, I did enjoy reading it until the halfway point.  Outside of requiring some major suspensions-of-disbelief and some foreshadowing that went nowhere, the author is a decent writer.  However, that last quarter of the book was just beyond cliche.  I think one of two things happened:  either he started out with that ending in mind the whole time and padded out the first 3/4 of the book to make it a bigger payoff, or he was 3/4 of the way into it, had no idea how to end it and just decided to go big or go home.

mrs_deb

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1734 on: September 19, 2012, 05:57:44 PM »
The Bride Price (Civil War Brides Series) by Tracey Jane Jackson.  It was free, and not even worth that much.

Just...don't.


Dark Annie

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1735 on: September 19, 2012, 09:11:17 PM »
Currently reading 'Pope Joan' by Donna Woolfolk Cross. My feelings about this book can be summed up in the Goodread Post I made on Sunday...:

Mary Jane Sue!
Does whatever a Mary Jane Sue does!
Can she speak in Ancient Greek?
Yes she can!
She's unique!
Lookout!
Here comes the Mary Jane Sue!


And then the post I made 100 pages later...

All right, all right, I get it.
Pope Joan is absolutely perfect in every way, more brilliant than everyone else in the novel, talented in every field from Greek to Theology to Medicine and has no discernible flaws except for being so much smarter than everyone else and being hot heated. Pope Joan or Pope Bella-Hermione? THERE'S NO GORRAM DIFFERENCE!


I have 140 pages to go and I just want to be done with it. Maybe I'm just jealous though- after all, she has just discovered the oral transmission of disease (in 800 AD) and developed a cure. I guess I'm just displaying tall poppy syndrome, but I really wish I was reading 'Hellstrom's Hive' at the moment instead of this garbage.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2012, 10:49:42 PM by Dark Annie »

Piratelvr1121

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1736 on: September 19, 2012, 09:44:41 PM »
Currently reading 'Pope Joan' by Donna Woolfolk Cross. My feelings about this book can be summed up in the Goodread Post I made on Sunday...:

Mary Jane!
Does whatever a Mary Jane does!
Can she speak in Ancient Greek?
Yes she can!
She's unique!
Lookout!
Here comes the Mary Jane!


And then the post I made 100 pages later...

All right, all right, I get it.
Pope Joan is absolutely perfect in every way, more brilliant than everyone else in the novel, talented in every field from Greek to Theology to Medicine and has no discernible flaws except for being so much smarter than everyone else and being hot heated. Pope Joan or Pope Bella-Hermione? THERE'S NO GORRAM DIFFERENCE!


I have 140 pages to go and I just want to be done with it. Maybe I'm just jealous though- after all, she has just discovered the oral transmission of disease (in 800 AD) and developed a cure. I guess I'm just displaying tall poppy syndrome, but I really wish I was reading 'Hellstrom's Hive' at the moment instead of this garbage.

Hmm, well in looking at her picture on the cover, she does look like Kristen Stewart.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

greencat

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1737 on: September 19, 2012, 10:17:11 PM »
Err, Mary Jane is weed.  Mary Sue is author insertion/wish fulfillment. 

One bad book for me:  Confederacy of Dunces.  I read the first 50 pages or so of it and put it down and never picked it up again.  My soon-to-be-ex had been raving about how great it was, but I didn't find it particularly engaging.  Actually, I don't even remember much of it now - I seem to have developed an ability to block out entertainment that I didn't enjoy.

Pippen

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1738 on: September 19, 2012, 10:25:39 PM »
Err, Mary Jane is weed.  Mary Sue is author insertion/wish fulfillment. 

One bad book for me:  Confederacy of Dunces.  I read the first 50 pages or so of it and put it down and never picked it up again.  My soon-to-be-ex had been raving about how great it was, but I didn't find it particularly engaging.  Actually, I don't even remember much of it now - I seem to have developed an ability to block out entertainment that I didn't enjoy.

I love that book! It is hilarious.

Dark Annie

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1739 on: September 19, 2012, 10:48:06 PM »
Err, Mary Jane is weed.  Mary Sue is author insertion/wish fulfillment. 

One bad book for me:  Confederacy of Dunces.  I read the first 50 pages or so of it and put it down and never picked it up again.  My soon-to-be-ex had been raving about how great it was, but I didn't find it particularly engaging.  Actually, I don't even remember much of it now - I seem to have developed an ability to block out entertainment that I didn't enjoy.

I love that book! It is hilarious.

Duly noted :) I'll fix it up. I have no idea why I wrote Mary Sue- I think I'm just a bit brain snapped with my final year essays!
« Last Edit: September 19, 2012, 10:50:50 PM by Dark Annie »