For you folks 21 and over (as I’m probably legally required to say), I’ve got a drinking game for you. The first step is picking the hardest liquor you can handle; the next step is finding an online copy of The Eye of Argon by Jim Theis. Once you have both of these, take a shot for every typo, take two shots if there’s more than one adjective per noun in the sentences, and take three shots for every run on sentence you see. You’ll probably die before the first chapter ends, but at least you didn’t suffer reading this story sober.
The year was 1970, the golden age of Science Fiction was coming to a close as a new era was coming along, future iconic superheroes were created a mere few years before, and fantasy was still reigning for the last few decades. Sword-and-sandal was becoming increasingly more popular, but Dungeons & Dragons wasn’t around yet to contain the shitty adventure stories of basement dwelling nerds. Jim Theis was one of these nerds, who desperately needed to be a dungeon master rather than a writer. He created a heroic fantasy story following a barbarian named Conan Grignr. (How would you even pronounce this, Greeg-nir, Gri-nyir, Grigunur? Who cares?)
Totally not who Grignr is supposed to be.
Within the first few lines, you’re dropped into absolutely decrepit overwritten pretentiously horrible adjective hell. Also, it seems like Jim Theis has a rare disease that prevents him from using too many commas, or else he’ll die.
Don’t let me be misunderstood, I love sci-fi and fantasy, my bookshelf hardly has realistic fiction on there, I’ve tried playing D&D (but my friends weren’t nerdy enough), and half of my own writing is fantasy. But this writing just evokes the image of your stereotypical nerd: thick rimmed glasses held together by tape, a button up shirt with a pocket protector, slacks being worn way too high up, and a BMI that’s too high or too low.
Going off the topic of the writer, and on to the writing itself. Besides being jam-packed with adjectives, and being horribly misspelled, the dialogue is terribly awkward.
“‘Prepare to embrace your creators in the stygian haunts of hell, barbarian,’ gasped the first soldier.”-Chapter 1. Because in the midst of battle, whilst watching my friends die to a ginger giant with a scimitar, the first thing I want to do is elaborate my insults. A simple “go to hell” would work.
“Grignr’s emerald green orbs glared lustfully at the wallowing soldier struggling before his chestnut swirled mount.” Lustfully? He glared lustfully? Damn, Grignr, you’re kinky.
“The engrossed titan ignored the queries of the inquisitive female, pulling her towards him and crushing her sagging nipples to his yearning chest. Without struggle she gave in, winding her soft arms around the harshly bronzedhide of Grignr corded shoulder blades, as his calloused hands caressed her firm protruding busts.
“You make love well wench,” Admitted Grignr as he reached for the vessel of potent wine his charge had been quaffing. –Chapter 2 What the fuck, sagging nipples. How does that even happen, this girl must have finger-like nipples, yet her breasts are firm, this doesn’t compute. You start the chapter and you’re thrown into atrocious erotica.
“Your sirenity, resplendent in noble grandeur, we have brought this yokel before you (the soldier gestured toward Grignr) for the redress or your all knowing wisdon in judgement regarding his fate.” Woo, typos and the wrong way to write in an action.
The issues with this story are glaringly obvious; a lack of proofreading, it looks like a thesaurus vomited adjectives on the paper, the writer has no concept of how people speak (even in a fantasy world that uses Shakespearean English, conversation wouldn’t be that stiff,) these names aren’t even pronounceable,
I guess I should gloss over the plot: I’m not quite sure, reading through it, all I’m met with is the equivalent of the writer ejaculating on paper.
The story opens to Grignr throwing taunts and killing people, we’re never told why he’s fighting them, where he comes from, or just about any substance. After this battle he rolls into town, where he gets caught by soldiers while trying to get it on with a saggy-nippled strumpet (there’s no actual sex in this scene, yet there’s still such a rape vibe, similar to Connery’s Bond). He contemplates rebelling against his captors, but he complies and goes to a fat nobleman, where he is ordered to be killed for reasons, but is instead thrown in prison and assigned to slave labor for the rest of his life.
He is knocked out, then wakes up to a whole chapter devoted to the torture porn of him being attacked by a giant rat. Then he meditates and comes up with a plan to escape. The next chapter opens up with an even heavier rape vibe, and it makes me wonder many things about the author. At this point, I get utterly lost in the story; the plot-line is lost, just flat out lost. It’s so unreadable due to the mass amount of misspelled, misused words. Grignr is called a slut and taken out of the hole, and the plot is lost again.
Grignr by Thomas Telford (@goldenlorry on Twitter)
All in all, this was painful. Not because of how horribly written it is, but because of how underwhelming it is. The writer took a pile of shit, and tried to make the Tower of Babel, but failed, all that was left was a small pile of shit with a name.
Fantasy is a hit or miss genre, you either indulge in clichés or shitty writing, or you succeed and make a beautiful piece of work. This piece was so far beyond a miss, it’s like the author skipped the baseball game to stay at home and read his Conan the Barbarian comics.