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.
Sherwood Smith has a new book out! The Spy Princess

I'm reposting a handful of brief reviews I put up on Goodreads. Some are of books I first read ages ago, but I am always still up for discussion.

Shadow Ops: Control Point, by Myke Cole. Good premise, nice military details, generally promising first third. Everything after the first third slowly disintegrated under the weight of the hero's incessant flip-flopping between "the magic army is evil and I want no part of it and will loudly say so at every opportunity" and "I'm in the army now and I better make the best of it," not to mention his truly remarkable ability to make the worst and stupidest possible decision under any given circumstance. This Goodreads review dissects more plot issues. Good on Ace for accurately depicting Oscar's race on the cover, though.

When I was a kid, I read the entire available stock of Choose Your Own Adventure and Dungeons and Dragons books, in which YOU are the hero and can choose your own path, carefully marking the divergence points with fingers or scraps of paper. There were a bunch of these in the eighties, all different series. I also recall Wizards and Warriors. In a fit of nostalgia, I recently re-read a couple.

Mountain of Mirrors, by Rose Estes. A somewhat uninspired entry in the D&D Choose Your Own Adventure series, following an elf into the depths of a mountain-dungeon. Best part: Nigel the grumpy blink-cat, and the drawing of him crouched drenched and unhappy in a giant mushroom cap atop a raft made of giant mushroom stems.

Circus of Fear, by Rose Estes, was my favorite Choose Your Own Adventure, D&D version, and I believe the only one with a female lead.

YOU have heard of an evil plot, and must hide out in a magical circus! What makes this one stand out is both the unusual magical circus setting, and that it's further divided into three possible adventures: with the freak show (surprisingly non-offensive), with the acrobats, and with the animal tamers. The animal tamers is the best. They have blink dogs, gryphons, pegasi, and other magical beasts.

This book warmed the cockles of my magical beast-loving thirteen-year-old heart. Except for the parts where I got eaten by a living net.
In between finishing the very long online course, I read Shadow Ops: Control Point. Good premise, nice military details, good first third. Everything after the first third slowly disintegrated under the weight of the hero's incessant flip-flopping between "the magic army is evil and I want no part of it and will loudly say so at every opportunity" and "I'm in the army now and I better make the best of it," not to mention his truly remarkable ability to make the worst possible decision under any given circumstance.

Below the cut is a spoilery poll involving a particularly crucial decision. Basically, I'm curious if everyone else shares my thoughts on what the worst option is; the best is probably debatable.

Read more... )
In between finishing the very long online course, I read Shadow Ops: Control Point. Good premise, nice military details, good first third. Everything after the first third slowly disintegrated under the weight of the hero's incessant flip-flopping between "the magic army is evil and I want no part of it and will loudly say so at every opportunity" and "I'm in the army now and I better make the best of it," not to mention his truly remarkable ability to make the worst possible decision under any given circumstance.

Below the cut is a spoilery poll involving a particularly crucial decision. Basically, I'm curious if everyone else shares my thoughts on what the worst option is; the best is probably debatable.

Read more... )
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