This may be the worst book I have ever (tried to) read

I might read this Kilgore Trout book.

I got a free download for my Kindle of William Bebb’s novel, “Valley of Death, Zombie Trailer Park.” I don’t know who William Bebb is, but a quick search of wikipedia tells me that “William Bebb” was a whig who served as the 19th Govenor of Ohio and died in 1873.  Something tells me that ‘Zombie Trailerpark’ was not written by the same William Bebb.

A few posts ago, I opined that if one wanted to write a shitty book, one way to stack the odds in your favor on this quest of ‘shitty bookness’ is to write a zombie novel. And I think ‘Zombie Trailerpark’ could serve as exhibit A if one wanted to prove that proposition. Despite its 5 star rating on Amazon, Bebb’s book is pretty damn bad. 

I haven’t managed to read the whole thing. I have pretty low standards — it’s not all Gogol and Shakespeare on my bookshelf — but I enjoy my pulp and genre fiction (and even manage to read them without having to assume an ‘ironic post modern manner’ — I sometimes read shitty, lowbrow genre novels because I sometimes LIKE shitty, lowbrow genre novels). But “Valley of Death” failed to amuse.  After a few pages, I kept reading because I didn’t believe that a book could be so bad.  I wasn’t laughing WITH it or AT it — it was like watching a literary car crash — I was reading with disbelief. I think I got about 1/2 way through when I threw in the towel.

I previously thought that “The Cannibal Within” by Mark Mirabello had to be the worst book I ever failed to finish reading… and I might have read more of ‘The Cannibal Within’ if the Kindle edition I had of it had not had so many formatting problems that it was close to impossible to read simply because it was entertaining in a ‘John Waters Pink Flamingos meets Richard Shaver’ kind of way. And, despite the worship heaped at the altar of Lovecraft, his prose is pretty awful… which doesn’t stop me from enjoying it (on the contrary, the ridiculous piling on of adjectives can be delightful — and, no, I don’t make any claims for my own skill as a writer).

4 Comments on “This may be the worst book I have ever (tried to) read”

  1. Doomsdave says:

    I assume you're aware that Kilgore Trout was a fictional character by Vonnegut & this book was written by Phillip Jose Farmer as a tribute in effect. If read in that vein Venus on the Half Shell can be amusing. I hope I don't sound pedantic, but Vonnegut is a sickness with me.

  2. Stephan Poag says:

    Doomsdave: I love Vonnegut but assumed the cover of the trout book was a joke. I will have to hunt it down and give it a read.

  3. Doomsdave says:

    It's out there, but pricey usually. Glad I could help. Love your blog and artwork.

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