This is for bookelfe/skygiants. Of course. (Yes, I'm out of order.)

I’m sticking with books here. A lot of manga and anime operates on different narrative rules, so the bizarreness makes wacky internal sense. I do have to mention, though, the complete works of Kaori Yuki if you have any interest in things like random flying Heavenly whales, apocalypse by army of flying zombie angel embryos, and people getting turned into masses of writhing tentacles and kept in the bathtub.

Even so, it was very, very difficult to narrow this down to five. There are bizarre premises (“I will break every bone in my body because then they’ll grow back stronger and I WILL BE INVINCIBLE”), the sheer weight of ridiculousness in a single book (the bone-breaking book also featured the near-death of the hero’s milk-allergic brother when the hero’s cheating girlfriend ate pizza, then kissed the brother), the sudden intrusion of absurdity into a previously non-bizarre book (two-thirds sensitive exploration of sketchy power dynamics, one third EVIL BALL OF MASKED S&M SMALL PRESS POETS), and unwanted intrusions by the author’s peculiar id (of course the most desirable whores have hooves.) Not to mention Terry Goodkind's infamous evil chicken. How to choose?

I have so many contenders that I was forced to name winners in categories.

Most Stupid Protagonist

Runner-Up: Oscar, the hero of Myke Cole’s Control Point. When faced with the difficult decision of who he should get help from— a) his best friend, b) a friendly acquaintance, or c) the sociopathic supervillain who is currently locked up after going on a mass slaughter rampage but who promises to help him out if he’ll only release her from the magical wards laid on her to stop her from slaughtering everyone in sight— guess who he picks?

Winner: Summer in Mary Brown’s Master of Many Treasures, for failing to get rid of a traveling companion whom she easily could get rid of, after he repeatedly and deliberately endangers her and all the rest of her companions, including trying to kill a friend of hers in a random fit of temper. Also for ignoring all advice by people who clearly have her best interest in mind, and taking all advice by people holding up HI I AM EVIL signs, and for failing to learn from very consistent consequences, like falling into quicksand full of rotting corpses because she couldn’t bear to take her best friend’s advice that the left-hand path led to the Swamp of Rotting Corpses. Also for believing that a good excuse for stalking her dragon ex-boyfriend is explaining that she actually fell in love with him when she thought he was a flying pig.

This doesn’t have anything to do with her intelligence, but I just want to mention that during the course of the book, she lays an egg.


Once Is Tragedy, One Million Times Is Hilarity

Crazy-Beautiful, by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Gee, if I'd known spilling my orange juice was this effective, I'd have spilled it in Dad's direction every day when I was younger. Then maybe he'd have made time to do things with me like, I don't know, play catch in the yard. Not that I'm complaining or playing the neglected child card. I'll never do that. I know what I've done. I know who's responsible for everything in my life, past, present, and future. Still, a little catch would have been fun, when I still had hands.



And what of me and my hands? Or, I should say, lack of hands.



I finish loading the dryer, hookload by hookload, use my hook to set the dial at seventy minutes, use my hook to depress the button.

Most Ridiculous Plot Twists

Runners-Up:

All books by Sheri Tepper. Future ones too. Every Sheri Tepper book in which infanticide is presented as the solution to the problems of the world. Also the one where the heroine turns out to be a de-aged squid-person. She might lay an egg too, I forget.

The indie gangster movie, name forgotten, in which the screenwriter’s poorly thought-through desire to add on one more surprise reveal meant that the entire action of the movie consisted of a drug lord hiring people to steal his own drugs.

The Isobelle Carmody books with the love quadrangle between two humans and two transformed dogs.

Dan Simmons’ The Rise of Endymion. The climactic revelation of the entire series is that quantum strings are made out of love.

Frank Herbert’s God-Emperor of Dune. It makes sense in context, but I still find it hilarious that the climax consists of the main character becoming a million worms.

Lord of Legends, by Susan Krinard. I still have no idea why the heroine’s housekeeper turned into a talking fox.

And finally… drum roll… the winner!

Spider Robinson’s Starseed. The heroine is paralyzed via drugs, has multiple bad guys holding guns on her, and isabout to be killed. As her last request, she asks for a moment to meditate. When they grant it, she achieves enlightenment. This enables her to become telepathic, overcome the effects of the paralyzing drug, and slaughter the bad guys with kung fu.
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princessofgeeks: (Default)

From: [personal profile] princessofgeeks


I read Control Point because everyone everywhere was reccing it, and I thought it was lousy! What did people see in it???

I agree with your evaluation completely.

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kore: (Default)

From: [personal profile] kore


HOOKS FOR HANDS

(two-thirds sensitive exploration of sketchy power dynamics, one third EVIL BALL OF MASKED S&M SMALL PRESS POETS)

What, uh, book is this, out of sheer intellectual curiosity?
sputnikhearts: (Default)

From: [personal profile] sputnikhearts


This is AMAZING. Thank you. (Never read any of these, still laughing.)
laurashapiro: a woman sits at a kitchen table reading a book, cup of tea in hand. Table has a sliced apple and teapot. A cat looks on. (Default)

From: [personal profile] laurashapiro


You have read some weird shit, my friend.
muccamukk: Maxima looks on in horror as Jayna gleefully builds a tower of random food. (DC: Food!)

From: [personal profile] muccamukk


I've started the third book in the Dune series a couple times, and just couldn't get past the weird. Your high concept has gone over my head.

I'm trying to think of a good bit of stupid, but am drawing a blank, oh, wait, all of Captain America Reborn.
rhivolution: band tour shirt showing Captain Picard with a guitar. Text is 'Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra September 1991' (language geek: TANAGRA '91!)

From: [personal profile] rhivolution


Dan Simmons’ The Rise of Endymion. The climactic revelation of the entire series is that quantum strings are made out of love.

YES. I had really liked the high concept in these (tree spaceships!) until that point and then just Could Not. It was like OSC had taken over. I also found I liked child Aenea far better than the adult.

(This reminds me, I remembered the other day Dan Simmons' massive hate-on for non-literal use of the word decimated. I've read at least two or three of his books where he has a character get upset about it.)

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sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)

From: [personal profile] sholio


I don't know why I tried to read this post while I was eating. *chokes a bit* This is great.

HOOKS FOR HANDS!

I know exactly which book I'd nominate for single worst plot twist I've ever read, except I can't remember the title or author; it was a used bookstore acquisition and straight back to the used bookstore it went. But it was a typical mediocre '80s-type high fantasy, with two warring kingdoms and main characters on a quest, blah blah, that culminated in a battle in which a bunch of people died.

.... and then a unicorn came along and put its horn in the river and made it into MAGIC HEALING WATER that brought all the dead people back to life, and made everyone in both kingdoms suddenly want to stop fighting and reconcile. (I will at least say that the healing powers had been suggested earlier in the book, but ... just ... no.)
recessional: a small blue-paisley teapot with a blue mug (Default)

From: [personal profile] recessional


See now I want to write a character who just . . . matter of factly has hooks for both hands. So I can use phrases like "filled the laundry hookful by hookful" with absolutely no drama.

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movingfinger: (Default)

From: [personal profile] movingfinger


The thing with the poets is so bizarre, I wonder whether the author could have a... grudge, let us say... against some small-press poet.
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)

From: [personal profile] vass


The heroine is paralyzed via drugs, has multiple bad guys holding guns on her, and isabout to be killed. As her last request, she asks for a moment to meditate. When they grant it, she achieves enlightenment. This enables her to become telepathic, overcome the effects of the paralyzing drug, and slaughter the bad guys with kung fu.

And that is not even the most ridiculous part of that series.

It is kind of touching, Spider Robinson's faith that all of humanity's problems would be solved if everyone was suddenly telepathic with everyone else, all the time, with no way to turn it off. He owns his narrative kinks.

(One day it'll happen to him, and he'll discover that Chinese people are not evil and alien, that AAVE isn't a sign of stupidity, that rap music can be really good, and that not every young, attractive, friendly, open-minded woman has a list of who she's going to have sex with and in what order. He may not survive the shock.)

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skygiants: an enthusiastic puppy glomps the head of Tamaki from Ouran (eat your head (with love!))

From: [personal profile] skygiants


This list is exactly what I was hoping for. *__* Including a wonderful feeling of schadenfreude about everything you mentioned that I've managed not to read, for which I thank you.
cahn: (Default)

From: [personal profile] cahn


All books by Sherri Tepper.

ahahahaha. Yes. I... think the infanticide one was my first Sherri Tepper, and I thought she was being satirical... Oh, teenage self, how naive you were!
intothespin: Drawing of a woman lying down reading by Kate Beaton (Default)

From: [personal profile] intothespin


I think the last Spider Robinson book I ever read was Time Pressure. Iirc, the climax of the book was time travel to save every single human ever born by taking a virtual imprint of their personalities at the moment of death so they could live as AIs. But it's been a while, so I may be remembering wrong.

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From: [identity profile] mrissa.livejournal.com


Spider Robinson's discovery of meditation may have been great for him personally--I don't know him, so I don't know. But it was hell on his writing.

I worry about Dan Simmons, another author I do not know personally. I mean, I'm a compulsively worried person. But.

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From: [identity profile] egelantier.livejournal.com


The climactic revelation of the entire series is that quantum strings are made out of love.

o hey, that's pretty much what went down in interstellar. universe is gravity, and gravity is love! OR SOMETHING.

i just love that you just had to mention that the heroine lays an egg :D

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


I could not possibly leave that out.

[Natural phenomenon LITERALLY is an abstract concept is never not stupid.]

From: [identity profile] fresne.livejournal.com


This is hilarious. Also, just when I thought I'd forgotten Terry Goodkind's evil chicken, the memory of it clucks from the page. Also, possibly an egg layer. Hmm....

From: [identity profile] evewithanapple.livejournal.com


Crazy-Beautiful might not be a good book, per se, but I am so glad that it exists. It has brought me uncounted hours of delight.

From: [identity profile] carbonel.livejournal.com


ObCopyeditor: The Spider Robinson novel is actually Starseed rather than Space Seed.

And I think the plot twist in the sequel, Starmind, outdoes that one. At the end of the book, the unused DNA in human bodies is activated to make all the human left on Earth (most of them) become immune to gravity. Really. I couldn't make this up. This is done so that the humans can float up into space and become (whether they want to or not) the new breed of telepathic space dwellers. I've never reread the book because I was so damned angry about all the cats and dogs and other domestic animals left behind. Not to mention the whole "we're not giving you a choice about this" issue.

All I can think of was that this was Spider Robinson's version of Childhood's End. And I have to think he considered it a happy ending.

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


Thanks, fixed! Also, WHAT. Though we are talking about the guy who once resolved a plot by having one of the characters just happening to have a suitcase nuke with him, which was exactly what was needed to fight off the incursion by an unexpected giant space cockroach. (To be fair, "tall tales" was the premise in that case (Callahan's.)

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From: [identity profile] asakiyume.livejournal.com

this enables her to become telepathic....


This was my problem (only semi-beknownst to me at the time) with my pursuit, age 15, of Transcendental Mediation. My best friend's parents were like *your* parents, only substitute the Maharishi for Baba What's-His-Name. So, it was very TM-y over at her house, and one thing I gathered was that if you took TM, and then took the siddhis course, you would learn to fly.

I SO wanted to fly. "Yeah," my friend said, matter-of-factly, "but you're not supposed to go into it to fly. That's just a by-product. You're supposed to go into it for the enlightenment."

Enlightenment is good and all, but flying! FLYING!

Anyway, very handy that the heroine's moment of meditation led to enlightenment and that enlightenment has such super by-products, and that furthermore she's still so present in the present that she cares to still save the day.

Also, the thing about quantum/cosmic strings actually being made of love? Reminds me of kids' answers to questions in religious ed classes in our parish. They pretty quickly learn that the first answers you should always try are "Jesus" and "Love." Because isn't Jesus [or love] always the answer? Yep.

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com

Re: this enables her to become telepathic....


I SO wanted to fly. "Yeah," my friend said, matter-of-factly, "but you're not supposed to go into it to fly. That's just a by-product. You're supposed to go into it for the enlightenment."

We had that too! Enlightened people got unlimited powers, including telekinesis and flying, but were too enlightened to think that was cool or use them. The desire for powers proved that you were unworthy of them.

I TOTALLY wanted powers.

From: [identity profile] wordsofastory.livejournal.com


I was so hoping hook-hand guy would be in this post, and he was! I haven't even read that book, but I love it.

In the most recent episode of American Horror Story, a character lost his hands and was contemplating getting hook replacements, and I COULD NOT take the drama and angst seriously, because... his hands! Hooks!

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


It became infinitely more difficult for me to take all hooks for hands plotlines seriously due to this book.

From: [identity profile] rushthatspeaks.livejournal.com


The sad thing is, I have not read that particular Spider Robinson, but that sounds so much like him that I am completely unsurprised.

From: [identity profile] evalangui.livejournal.com


XD. It does make me wonder what editors even do.

I can see how telepathy could win the fight, but how does it overcome the drugs in her system??? Can she control her brain chemistry? Also, if she could have just mentally made (I'm assuming professor X telepathy here, as in, active) every bad gun hit himself on the head with their guns or something... what's the need for kung fu? I always thoughts those Jean Grey scenes in which she knocks everybody out with a look were amazing; much more impressive than kicking.

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


I'm not sure if this makes it more or less stupid, but she got the kung fu via telepathy with a buddy who knew kung fu and whom she allowed to possess her body for that purpose. I'm not sure if she was capable of making the bad guys bonk themselves over the head.

Yes. She could overcome physical paralysis due to ENLIGHTENMENT.

From: [identity profile] a2zmom.livejournal.com


You have made my day with these descriptions (or maybe warnings?)

From: [identity profile] osprey-archer.livejournal.com


HOOKS FOR HANDS. This book will never stop being hilarious to me and I've never even read it. Maybe I should remedy that!

From: [identity profile] cat-i-th-adage.livejournal.com


For most ridiculous plot twist, I humbly submit Stardoc, by S. L. Viehl.

Doctor is working at an overtaxed free clinic at a colony with a wide range of extra-terrestrial species. A horrible epidemic hits! People die! Misery! After a (very squicky) rape scene, doctor realises that the disease is actually sentient microbes (who were controlling the guy that raped her, in an attempt to infect her, can't remember their reasoning there). She concludes that the sentient microbes are creating lethal pneumonia merely as a by-product of their attempt to return to their original habitat. She facilitates this. Everyone is saved!

A week later, they sue her.

Apparently she had an overactive immune system or something? Her antibodies were murdering them. All I can say is, the law courts of that colony took minority cultures and racial diversity very seriously.

(Now I wonder if the writer lived in a country where frivolous lawsuits against medical personnel is common, and was working through some issues.)


From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


Wait, the microbes had lawyers? Were they microbe lawyers? How did they file their briefs (and how big were their briefs?) Or did they possess human lawyers and do it that way? And what in the world were they suing for?

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sovay: (Cho Hakkai: intelligence)

From: [personal profile] sovay


This enables her to become telepathic, overcome the effects of the paralyzing drug, and slaughter the bad guys with kung fu.

[livejournal.com profile] derspatchel, over my shoulder: "Spider Robinson, you have done something magical there. You have created something magic." [edit] "How long did they let her meditate for, anyway?"
Edited Date: 2015-01-19 04:36 am (UTC)

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


Show him the comments on DW, which get into more details.

"How long did they let her meditate for, anyway?"

One thousand years atop Mount Kailash Five minutes.
Edited Date: 2015-01-19 04:38 am (UTC)
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