The Worst Sci/Fan/Hor/Adv/Mys authors of all time-and the abysmal creations to avoid

We have the best of the books, now list the worst.
Basically of every category out there, name the author, his books genre (which can be any genre) and why we should burn not only his books, but maybe the author himself. It’s got to be that much of an aftonage to decent writing.

Piers Anthony has to be in the Top 5 of any “worst of” fantasy/SF authors. He started out with a certain amount of promise. His first few series were actually pretty good, and even won some major awards. Since then he’s been shitting out the same Xanth book every year for like three decades now.

I won’t even mention his paean to pedophilia by name.

Kevin J Anderson is horrible.

I read all his Seven Sun crap, and it got to the point where I would just start figuring which factions hadn’t interacted yet, and wait for the plot point to happen. Then it took a few hundred pages for anything to happen. Boring, slow. “Oooo ooo, we haven’t had the ice miner people meet… ummm… the tree people yet!”

Let’s not talk about his Dune crap.
Or his Star Wars crap.

I want to add a shout-out to Baen books also, because they publish some really, really bad crap, mixed in with their decent stuff.

L. Ron Hubbard. Battlefield Earth is so bad.

Piers Anthony actually comes up with interesting concepts, and then somewhere finds a way to screw it up. Or just run it into the ground.

L. Ron Hubbard. Okay, we may have a winner. But I’ll try anyway:

I’ve already mentioned my favorite hate on the fantasy thread: Terry Brooks and the Sword of Sha-na-na. He simply plagiarized Tolkien with a scene for scene, character for character rip-off. And Ballantine Books turned it into an event - it was like stabbing Tolkien in the back.

His Jedi Academy Trilogy completely broke me of Star Wars novels for all time. Haven’t touched one since.

Michael Crichton

Tom Clancy.
The wall going down reduced a great techno thriller writer to a Republican preacher.

Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins - Left Behind.

The forum ate my first reply. Take two.

Matthew Reilly

Seven Ancient Wonders.

Utterly execrable Dan Brown-a-like. A plot that feels as though it was written by a five year old at an ‘all the M&Ms you can eat’ party, leaden dialogue and terrible prose. I bought it because it looked like the least worst book in the airport bookshop and read it in a permanent state of cringing.

Graham McNeill

Ultramarines trilogy.

My guilty pleasure is Warhammer 40K warporn. I don’t expect a lot out of these books and so I’m rarely disappointed. Graham McNeill manages to disappoint almost every time however. The Ultramarines trilogy is probably his worst offence against genre fiction but there are few things he’s written that meet even the fairly low bar set by the other Black Library authors. He cuts and pastes the same action scenes throughout his work, his plots are contrived in the extreme, he can’t write characters at all and neither can he write descriptive text worth a damn. The Horus Heresy series that he contributed to throws his weaknesses into sharp relief, the first book written by Dan Abnett, introduces many of the main characters as strong and interesting personalities. McNeill takes the second book and waters the same characters down to single dimensions with paper thin motivations.

Michael Crichton

State of Fear.

He used to be pretty readable. I don’t expect to have the same introspection as Gibson or the boldness of Iain M. Banks but his stuff was always worth picking up and the books were generally better than the movie treatments. Certainly Jurassic Park was actually quite a decent quality slice of science fiction. State of Fear is not a good book. It’s not so much a novel as a thinly disguised essay on how the mass media distorts the popular perceptions of science - which is ironic coming from a guy who made his living writing about how science was about to doom us all. The characters lurch from one unlikely near-fatal experience to another all the while accompanied by a deus ex machina who is essentially the voice of Michael Crichton berating the rest of the cast for being gullible sheeple.

Terry Goodkind. Because he’s Terry Goodkind.

Mine here would be Timeline. What a fucking horrible, horrible book.

And while we’re on the subject of once relatively respected authors that went to shit…

Thomas Harris - Hannibal. What the fuck, Harris? What the fucking fuck?

Good one - that almost made me cry, although Hannibal Rising is even worse.

Yeah, for me those are worse than the authors who were never that good to begin with. You put them on your auto-buy list, and all of a sudden you’re saying “why am I reading this dreck?”

So for me, Thomas Perry goes on that list. His writing’s not actually awful, but it’s gone down from really solid to not worth bothering with. Same with the late Amber books.

there’s a really great book called Gun In Cheek which is about abysmal mystery novels. The author picked out several in various crime / mystery fiction and provides break downs of plot and excerpts. It’s really a great read.

I put forth for your consideration L. E. Modesitt, Jr. for is Recluce series. The Magic of Recluce was a good enough read that I went on to other books in the series. However, it turns out that he uses the same plot over and over again. I gave up on it so perhaps he stops doing it later books, but seriously it’s the exact same plot!

At the risk of raising the ire of his fans, Robert Jordan. I have not finished, and won’t ever finish his series. Of course, he never finished his series either. It might have been good with a strong editor to strip the sprawling mess into something that doesn’t meander all over the place. But that didn’t happen so what we got was huge bloated books where the plot didn’t advance, and much time was spent smoothing skirts.

First of all, Battlefield Earth, the book, is awesome.

I second Terry Goodkind. After enjoying the Legend of the Seeker TV show, I tried to check out the books it’s based on, but they’re just horribly bad.

By far the worst book I have ever read by a mainstream author. Complete disregard for character, dialogue, and story structure in the service of a poltical agenda (without regard to whether one agrees with it or not). It says a lot when the non-fictional afterword is more interesting than the novel.

Storm Constantine, author of Wraeththu. It’s about how ugly, ugly men turn into beautiful David Bowie-esque hermaphrodites with flowerdongs and kill off humanity. Later in the series women get their own species of magical hermaphrodites, but since 1 in every 1000 eggs created by the Wraeththu spontaneously generates into a female hermaphrodite, they aren’t really a separate species. Or something. Anyway, tons of bizarre sex rituals and sneering and wacky travels and descriptions of food.

Piers Anthony, author of Firefly. HEY GUYS DON’T LOCK UP PEDOPHILES IT MIGHT MAKE THEM HORNY 6 YEARS OLDS SAD ;_____________;

Janine Cross, Touched by Venom. Let’s rape baby dragons. And get powers from receiving oral sex from dragons, after having undergone TOTAL female circumcision. And lets do this in a land where men wipe dragon spit on their penises then walk around town naked and fully erect and everyone is afraid to laugh because they fear the power of the “venom cock.”

Shayla Black, author of Decadent. It’s a story about a pure, innocent woman who is deeply in love with her childhood best friend who has become a rockstar and only has sex as part of MMF threesomes. In order to be good enough for him, she decides she needs to learn to participate in threesomes, but she wants to keep her hymen intact for him. She she hooks up with an ex-special forces guy who’s first girlfriend killed herself after he broke her hymen. So he only has sex as part of MMF threesomes with his cousin, because he wants the other man to be someone he trusts and because he wants there to be someone else to blame. Oh yeah, and he won’t do vaginal sex anymore, which leads to a hilarious scene where she says he can totally j-j-jam it in her vagoo and he decides not to and she is all “what are you doing?” and he says the immortal line “Fucking your ass. Saving your life.”


Chancery Stone, author of DANNY. Chancery Stone is the best in the world at what she does, and what she does is write about straight men having gay, incestuous sex. We know they are straight because she keeps telling us they are straight. And anyone who writes gays having gay sex doesn’t understand women, goddamnit. The cover to the sequel is just a picture of an erect dog penis, for what it’s worth.