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Old 3rd October 2010, 09:08 PM   #1
Wowbagger
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What was the WORST book you have ever read?

And, I would prefer to hear about books you actually finished reading, if that is possible. Books that you only started reading a little into, and then threw away don't count, unless that little bit was sufficiently traumatic to your life.

So, by my own rules, I guess I have to skip over a good portion of the really, horribly awful things I put into my eyes through, over the years.

However, there is one book that I can clearly, and distinctly, refer to as The Worst Book I Have Ever Finished Reading, in My Entire Life. Nobody even asked me to read it. I decided to read it, in its entirety, all on my own, as a personal challenge. And, I don't think it paid off, yet. I wanted to finish writing my scything review of it, this weekend, but other writing priorities snuck in. I will have to wait until next weekend before I can publish my literary vengeance! But, I am a patient man...

...A book this offensive, horrible, and nasty to everything I hold dear deserves to have the sort of disgustingly terrible review that I can savor writing every word over...

...And, that book, my friends, is And Another Thing..., which was apparently vomited out of some idiotic moron named Eoin Colfer. (First name pronounced like "Owen".)

(If you only vaguely recognize that name, perhaps this other, wonderfully blunderous work of his will refresh your memory: http://www.internationalskeptics.com...d.php?t=156337 .)

Before it ends, every single character is uniformly painted as an unlikeable jerk. It is juvenile. It is vulgar. It will either insult your intelligence, or assume you don’t have any to begin with. This is, in short, NOT really part of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. This is a literally mockbuster.

In my view, it is a sequel to Douglas Adams' work in much the same way that Titanic II is a sequel to James Cameron's Titanic movie. And, yet, for some reason, it was actually endorsed by Jane Belson, (Douglas Adams' own widow)!! It boggles the mind!!

To compare it to Vogon poetry would do the Vogons a favor, so I won't even bother going there.

I could write more specific details about why it is so gawd-awful, if you want. But, you are not going to like it. If, for some perverted reason, you wish for me to divulge what reprehensible acts Trillian decides to go for, or how Arthur Dent is rewritten as a tactless schmuck, or how Ford Prefect is transformed into a condescending jerk, or, perhaps, how Wowbagger's backstory was rewritten, so he can act more like a pussy; just let me know. I can probably copy and paste a few paragraphs from the draft of the review I am working on.


For now, you can make me feel better by describing some of the terrible books you've managed to survive ingesting, somehow.


ETA: And, for the record, my first name is NOT Bowerick!!
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By the way, my first name is NOT Bowerick!!!!

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Old 3rd October 2010, 09:45 PM   #2
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Not a single book, but a series. The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan started strong, dwindled to some sort of meandering nonsense around the 5th book (or 6th or 7th, I've tried to bleach my brain of the series), and continuing to the 12th book, all of which I read hoping the story would pick up again. Then the author died.

Fail.
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Old 3rd October 2010, 10:01 PM   #3
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I make it a point not to finish the worst books. Not enough hours in the day to waste on bad trash.

So literally threw John Steakley's Vampire$ in the garbage, about a chapter into it.

I'm embarassed to admit that, like shawmutt, I read at least six or seven volumes of The Wheel of Time before I was finally able to admit to myself how badly I'd been duped.
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Old 3rd October 2010, 10:08 PM   #4
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Finished: Priest Kings of Gor by John Norman.
My excuse being that I was only 11 years old, my older brother read them, and the previous books were better.

Unfinished: Hannibal Rising by Thomas Harris.
What most disappointed me about this one was I'd read 3 of the previous 4 books, and they were OK to pretty good. Certainly readable.
Yet this one was a complete, horribly written, shocker.
I made it to about 60 pages, mostly in disbelief, before giving up.
It might be more understandable if he was writing a book every year, but he's written 5 books in about 35 years.
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Old 3rd October 2010, 10:10 PM   #5
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This is an easy one for me. I have read a few of Matthew Reilly's books, and while they could make anyone's list of the worst book ever read, his brother, Stephen, makes him look like Steinbeck. I purchased the rancid piece of garbage "Ninety East Ridge", about a city built at the bottom of the Indian Ocean, and read the entire book for some unknown reason. Avoid at all costs.
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Old 3rd October 2010, 10:17 PM   #6
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The novelization of the film Beowulf. It made me angry. Beyond that, I choose not to relive it.
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Old 3rd October 2010, 10:21 PM   #7
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It was written by Matt Drudge. Never have I read so much self-congratulatory excrement in my life. If it were marginally more readable, it could have been, The Way Things Ought To Be....
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Old 3rd October 2010, 11:12 PM   #8
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Lockie Leonard, Human Torpedo by Tim Winton.
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Old 3rd October 2010, 11:29 PM   #9
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Rosehaven. I forget the author. It involves an arranged marriage in 12th century England, and the participants stop loathing each other when she wields the magic of oral sex. And just before the last chapter, they remember that they'd been meaning to go check out this "Rosehaven" place all along, so they go do that.
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Old 3rd October 2010, 11:52 PM   #10
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Anthem, by Rand. I don't know why, it was short, I was drinking. . .
It was like having someone hit you with a two-by-four over the head while describing their stupid theory to you at the time. And the two-by-four was labeled with their stupid theory while it was being used to bludgeon you.
The best part is that I read a "special" reprint that had Rand's intro in it, in which she, in the same manic typewriting episode, maintains that critics of her unfairly caricature her philosophy by assuming futures based on it which haven't actually happened. In the next paragraph she assures the reader that what she is presenting is the inevitible result of any social theory which is not her own.
And it sucks. The plot, the pacing, the writing, are all the whining of a 16 year-old who has just discovered that he knows just everything.
The Rush lyrics based on Rand's writings are infinitely better and more thoughtful than Rand.

It was an hour I will never recover.
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Old 3rd October 2010, 11:52 PM   #11
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In high school, one of the books for my AP English class was Seize the Day by Saul Bellow. Mr. Bellow's other books may be better, but this one book was so negative I was hard pressed to even do enough reading to pass my English class. The main character makes Thomas Covenant look like a devotee of the Secret.
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Old 4th October 2010, 12:04 AM   #12
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Koran, stopped on page 40 or so....
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Old 4th October 2010, 12:23 AM   #13
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Asimov's Forward the Foundation. He said in several 100,000 excessively chosen words what would have made a fascinating 25,000 word novelette 50 years earlier. But I did actually read the whole thing, and never will again.

Norm
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Old 4th October 2010, 12:51 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by DC View Post
Koran, stopped on page 40 or so....
From the OP:
Quote:
And, I would prefer to hear about books you actually finished reading, if that is possible. Books that you only started reading a little into, and then threw away don't count, unless that little bit was sufficiently traumatic to your life.
For me it's The Iron Tower. I borrowed it from a friend in a pile of other SF and fantasy, and put it down after 20 pages the first time because that was enough to tell me this was an unimaginative Lord of the Rings rip-off.

I later decided to finish it, since I was returning the pile of books and returning one unread just felt wrong. It's not that it's badly written, in fact, at times I enjoyed it and thought things like "Hey, this bit is good. Nice to have some realistic females in your LOTR. And you haven't plagiarized stoff for a whole chapter." But then he'd do things like have the heroes enter the mines of Moria, only he changed the names.

And I don't mean he used common fantasy elements a lot. I mean he took LOTR, put tracing paper on top, and drew his own version. There's only something like 25% of the book... sorry, trilogy, this one really was written and published as a trilogy... 25% of the work that makes any pretense at being original.
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Old 4th October 2010, 12:52 AM   #15
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Dianetics. Cover to cover. Made me want to open my skull and pour bleach directly on my brain. Makes the Bible seem divinely inspired by comparison.
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Old 4th October 2010, 01:27 AM   #16
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Possibly not the worst, but in the top five... A Rose for Armageddon by Hilbert Schenck.

Found my copy of it a few weeks back and couldn't remember what happened in it - it was a long time since I'd read it. So I re-read it. And realised why I'd never done so before.
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Old 4th October 2010, 01:34 AM   #17
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Most really awful books I stop reading and entirely forget about. But one book still sticks in my mind that I actually finished reading - because I had to for an English assignment in high school. The book was Doctor Wooreddy's Prescription For Enduring The Ending Of The World by Mudrooroo Nyoongah.

Most of this horrid book I have long since purged from my mind. I do recall that it concerns the last of the Tasmanian Aborigines, and how badly we whitefellas treated them.
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Old 4th October 2010, 01:37 AM   #18
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Naked Empire (Terry Goodkind), followed by the rest of Sword of Truth (I haven't read any past Naked Empire though, it's quite possible they get even worse), with Ender's Game (Orson Scott Card) following quite a bit further behind.

I'll be the first to criticize Wheel of Time but it's sheer genius compared to the stupefying drivel that is Sword of Truth. No hyperbole here, it's really, really BAD.
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Old 4th October 2010, 02:10 AM   #19
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A book whose title I can't remember it was so bad.

I'm a huge fan of the Robert B. Parker series of Spenser books. For those who aren't familiar with this series, Spenser is a wise-ass, tough, smart-mouth Boston PI. In a series of novels, Spenser meets a number of tough guys. But the series begins to peter out and it is clear that the series is really played out.

Then Spenser gathers all the tough guys from all the previous novels into one group to battle a gang of thugs. It was so contrived, the plotting so idiotic, the characters so overdone that it must surely serve as the ultimate example of how not to end a series.

And I read it all. Not once because I thought I must have misjudged, but twice. It was worse the second time. Hurl.

As a postscript, there were additional entries in the Spenser series that were simply pathetic. Parker (or, more likely, his publishing house) was evidently trying to push the franchise well beyond its sell-by date but none of them achieved the rancid level of the one I've described.

After this post, I'll see if I can find the specific book.

ETA: Can't find it in wiki and it's not worth the effort to find this piece of bilge.

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Old 4th October 2010, 02:11 AM   #20
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Another vote for Terry Goodkind - Wizard's First Rule is unbelievably awful, in a fascinating train-wreck fashion.
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Old 4th October 2010, 02:20 AM   #21
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Peig. Possibly the most awful book ever written in any language. Even worse than Rand's Atlas Shrugged. I've never managed to finish the later Sword of Truth books or any of the Gor books so they don't count. But they're not as bad as Peig.
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Old 4th October 2010, 02:26 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
This is an easy one for me. I have read a few of Matthew Reilly's books, and while they could make anyone's list of the worst book ever read, his brother, Stephen, makes him look like Steinbeck.
Holy crap. I was just going to drop by to nominate Matthew Reilly's The Temple as the worst book I've ever read. I thought that was pretty much the point of absolute suckitude.
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Old 4th October 2010, 02:38 AM   #23
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I have read many terrible books (some I've even enjoyed) but I remember, back when I was a youngster before my brain became calloused with cynicism, reading once a so-called classic that was so awful all that has remained is the scar that was seared into my brain to remind me for all eternity how awful it was: The Einstein Intersection by Samuel Delany
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Old 4th October 2010, 02:46 AM   #24
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Not sure if this really counts because I thoroughly enjoyed reading it but in some ways it really was the WORST book I have ever read.

It's a book about the wrestler Rikidozan called "I Am a Korean!" and it was published in North Korea as anti-Japanese and anti-US propaganda.

I have no idea how much of it is fabricated, probably a lot, but it is hilarious. The writer is convinced that Rikidozan's fights were real and even has a scene in which they try to bribe him to throw fights:

Quote:
"I, this Rikidozan, cannot do so. It is not to make money that I became a professional wrestler. Moreover, I cannot do so since most professional wrestlers are Americans. I will play the games regarding them as battles of life or death. I cannot make a concession on this point even if I am offered a mountain of gold..."
Seeing that Rikidozan was unshakeable on this point, Mr Oka squeezed his hand.
"Rikidozan, you're a dreadful man. I fully understand your feeling."
And one day when in Hawaii...

Quote:
At this moment six Yankees besieged Rikidozan. They were all of large and solid build.
"We want to drink some more and you buy some drink for us, will you, Your Honour Yellow Man Sir?" said the tallest man and put his hand on Rikidozan's shoulder.
"I've got no money and even if I had how should I buy your drinks for you strangers?" answered Rikidozan checking his rising anger...
...A punch landed on the face of Rikidozan before he knew.
"How can you behave in this indecent manner?" Rikidozan protested giving the tall fellow a fierce stare.
"You, an Asian, dare to stare at a white man. An American gentleman at that?"
It's pretty much all written like that which has to be one of the worst translations ever and probably wouldn't improve much with a better translation in terms of story.
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Old 4th October 2010, 02:47 AM   #25
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I am actually reading "And Another Thing" at the moment. It's not great, in the same way that treading on slugs while wearing socks is not great, but I don't think it's the worst I've ever read. That honour goes to "Battlefield Earth".
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Old 4th October 2010, 02:49 AM   #26
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A couple of years ago, a friend of mine, who I love dearly but has no taste in literature, bought me Atlantis Discovered, by Clive Cussler. It was quite a revelation to me; I hadn't realised beforehand that reading a book could be such an embarrassing experience. Little things like Cussler's habit of giving a full CV and personality profile of every character at the point they entered the story, his utter contempt for the slightest vestige of engineering plausibility - he had a flying car, the size of a normal saloon car, that, if I recall correctly, was able to fly from somewhere in the USA to Tierra del Fuego and back on one tank of petrol - and his ever-so-coy way of introducing himself into the story as a minor character, made me feel genuinely sorry for someone who could write so poorly and yet have millions of people see it. Eventually, I took the book with me on a holiday in a short-term let which I knew had a couple of shelves full of books that came with the house, and added it to the library before I came home. If my friend ever asks, I'll have to tell her I lost it. At least, though, I finished it, out of nothing more than misplaced loyalty.

Worst book I haven't finished was the third one in Stephen R. Donaldson's Gap series (and, by implication, the whole series). I reached an epiphany part way through the book when I realised that I wanted all the major characters to die, immediately if possible, and the story to come to an end, because not one of them had a single redeeming feature. As a reader, stopping reading the book was the best way to bring that about, so I did. I've never regretted the decision.

Dave
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Old 4th October 2010, 02:49 AM   #27
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The book that sticks in my mind as being really bad probably wasn't the worst book I ever read. It sticks with me because I wanted it to be good and it could have been so much better. It was Peter Kay's autobiography The Sound of Laughter. I really like his comedy, so I was expecting to really enjoy the book. It was such a disappointment to discover he is a really awful writer.
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Old 4th October 2010, 02:51 AM   #28
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I'm going to cheat slightly and nominate one I've not finished, my justification is I plan to go back and finish it when I get hold of a free copy

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown.

I read The Da Vinci Code and thought nothing could be worse, then I started this when I found a copy in a B&B I was staying in. I read the first chapter, and I think it actually represents a singularity of badness, it sucks so much.

I second Hannibal Rising, but disagree with Plumjam on Priest Kings of Gor, I liked it better than the others in the series, at least it wasn't just 200 pages glorifying rape.

Other honourable mentions are the Left Behind series and all Clive Cussler's works
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Old 4th October 2010, 03:23 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
Another vote for Terry Goodkind - Wizard's First Rule is unbelievably awful, in a fascinating train-wreck fashion.
WizardŽs First Rule wasnŽt all that bad - certainly not compared to the later ones.

IŽm not sure which one is the single worst book I ever read, but the later Sword of Truth ones (Faith of the Fallen is the last I managed to finish) are clear contenders, along with the one Got novel I ever read, and the Thomas Covenant books (I slogged through the first three because I thought heŽd have to improve sooner or later).
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Old 4th October 2010, 03:53 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Lucian View Post
The novelization of the film Beowulf. It made me angry. Beyond that, I choose not to relive it.
Was that the version done by that hack Seamus Heany??

Dan Browns Da Vinci Code for me. I read it in amazement. I couldn't believe that it could get any worse... and it did!

An honourable mention should go to the David Eddings Pawn of Prophecy series as well. Starts averagely ok and descends rapidly into drivel by book 3. Strangely, though, I feel a compulsion about once a year to read them again!
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Old 4th October 2010, 03:55 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post
I'm going to cheat slightly and nominate one I've not finished, my justification is I plan to go back and finish it when I get hold of a free copy

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown.

I read The Da Vinci Code and thought nothing could be worse, then I started this when I found a copy in a B&B I was staying in. I read the first chapter, and I think it actually represents a singularity of badness, it sucks so much.
Try The Lost Symbol. It's worse.
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Old 4th October 2010, 04:00 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by timhau View Post
Try The Lost Symbol. It's worse.
I started it but really doubt I will finish.
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Old 4th October 2010, 04:03 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Brainache View Post
I am actually reading "And Another Thing" at the moment. It's not great, in the same way that treading on slugs while wearing socks is not great, but I don't think it's the worst I've ever read. That honour goes to "Battlefield Earth".
Yeah, Battlefield Earth was bad though the 'Invasion Earth' series are worse.

Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
Worst book I haven't finished was the third one in Stephen R. Donaldson's Gap series (and, by implication, the whole series). I reached an epiphany part way through the book when I realised that I wanted all the major characters to die, immediately if possible, and the story to come to an end, because not one of them had a single redeeming feature. As a reader, stopping reading the book was the best way to bring that about, so I did. I've never regretted the decision.
I started the Gap books but couldn't finish one of them.

Originally Posted by Chaos View Post
Thomas Covenant books (I slogged through the first three because I thought heŽd have to improve sooner or later).
Well at least you learned that important lesson.
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Old 4th October 2010, 04:08 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Chaos View Post
WizardŽs First Rule wasnŽt all that bad - certainly not compared to the later ones.

IŽm not sure which one is the single worst book I ever read, but the later Sword of Truth ones (Faith of the Fallen is the last I managed to finish) are clear contenders, along with the one Got novel I ever read, and the Thomas Covenant books (I slogged through the first three because I thought heŽd have to improve sooner or later).
I stopped buying them after naked empire, but I've been borrowing them from the library out of morbid curiosity. I haven't read Confessor yet, but Phantom was actually halfway decent. Fewer polemics, but just as much bashing on the army raping and torturing everything in sight. It takes a certain knack to make the horrifying boring.
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Old 4th October 2010, 04:09 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Chaos View Post
WizardŽs First Rule wasnŽt all that bad - certainly not compared to the later ones.
Well, if you were silly enough to read beyond that I can't help you.
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Old 4th October 2010, 04:10 AM   #36
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I'm also going to give points to Battlefield Earth for being better than the movie. Sure it has the ridiculous character/race names and the silly Space Jews, but it at least offered a plausible explanation for why the villain gave the hero knowledge of advanced math and technology in order to run the backhoe.
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Old 4th October 2010, 04:19 AM   #37
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Anything by Matt Reilly, Ken Follett or Dan Brown.
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Old 4th October 2010, 04:38 AM   #38
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Eye of the Storm by James Forrest. Detective fiction. Defective fiction.
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Old 4th October 2010, 04:44 AM   #39
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I enjoyed Stephen Donaldson's Gap series, and the Thomas Covenant books, once I stopped waiting for him to cheer up. I also enjoyed the first few books of The Sword of Truth.

But the one author mentioned that makes me change my earlier mention is Cussler. I got Shock Wave for Christmas a few years back, and when I got around to reading it more than a year later ... Just when I thought it couldn't get worse it did, over and over and over again. It's the first time I've thrown away a book. It went straight to recycling.
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Old 4th October 2010, 05:06 AM   #40
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The Book of Mormon
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