February 2, 2012
The worst book ever …?
by Dennis Johnson
Is Moon People by Dale M. Courtney the worst book ever written? That’s what Gabe Habash says in a hilarious post at the Publishers Weekly blog, PWxyz.
Of course, not that long ago, Habash declared that the how-to book Microwave for One was the worst book ever written.
Before that, he said it was How to Avoid Huge Ships.
We disagreed that How to Avoid Huge Ships was the worst book ever written, but we were pretty sure it was the book that had gotten the funniest Amazon reviews ever. This time, however, we think Habash may be right — Moon People may indeed be the worst book ever written.
Take the first paragraph, available through Amazon’s “Look Inside the Book” function:
This story begins on a Beautiful sunny day in Daytona Beach Florida With a man by the name of David Braymer. A 45-year-old Single man that works at the local High school as a science teacher and astrology in the 12-grade level. Now he’s been here about 5 years and has become kind of partial to a young lady by the name of Cheral Baskel a local restaurant owner in Daytona Beach. At the moment Cheral’s preparing her restaurant for another Shuttle launch at the cape and everyone always gathers at her place because you can see the launch real good at her place. It’s also on the water and its real close to the cape and she really decks the place out.
And yes, if you haven’t guess already, this is a self-published book — excuse me a vanity press book — excuse me an INDEPENDENTLY PUBLISHED book. I’m not going any further with that.
But as Habash notes, while “the prose astounds,” it’s “the quarter-competent storytelling going on here that makes the reader’s brain itch, basically having the same effect as ‘If it wasn’t for my horse, I wouldn’t have spent that year in college.'” (See below.)
Meanwhile, Moon People is not really giving How to Avoid Huge Ships a run for its money in the getting-the-funniest-reviews-at-Amazon category, but there are some good ones.
Finally someone gets literater Write!
If you’ve seen my other reviews you know that I have read most of the so-called “great” “writers” from Herbert Melvile (“Moby Dick”) to Charlie Dickens (“Tales of the Two Cities”) to Michael Cricten (“Jurrasic Park”). Some were really good (hint: the one with dinosaurs) and some were not vary good (hint: most of the rest) but Today they all met their match in this Book, The Moon People!
Heres the problem with all these supposebly great authors — none of them writes the way Regular People talk and write on the Internet. But! now along comes a book that not only does that but also solves the other big problems with literater.
Problem #1 – They dont write like normal people (I said this already)
Problem #2 – They sometimes write futureistic science fiction that is set in the mid-eighties WHICH IS NOT THE FUTURE. (Looking at you Orwell)
Problem #3 – They often spend pages and pages of teh book without Getting to the Point and telling you what the Book is going to be about.
Then there’s …
I have to say that I’m disappointed. Thought this was an instructional manual. Now I’m $15.99 lighter and I still don’t know how to moon people.
Compounding the degree of accomplishment here, though, as compared with Huge Ships, is the fact that Moon People actually has a sequel, Moon People 2. Or, as one Amazon critic describes it …
Now moar moons, moar people’s
First of I’ll warn the reader’s that this book has four less page’s than the first Moon People book. So if your looking for the same number of page’s you can maybe take some from the frist Moon People and add it. Maybe two because then both Moon People’s will have 78 page’s. I used pag’es 37-38 but you might like other different page’s.
What’s more, there’s Moon People 3, which comes with this introduction from the author …
Thank you for reading my book Moon People 3. My goal in Moon People 3 was to make it as action pact from start to finish just like my first two Moon People books.
It goes on, the entire phenomenon nicely deconstructed by Habash. Perhaps most interesting about his exegesis, though, is the discussion of why in the world we are so fascinated with such drek in the first place, and why it elicits any response at all from us, let alone such great humor. Our recommendation is that, in order to understand that, you first watch the below — something else we now know about thanks to Gabe Habash, who writes the best columns ever written — and then tell us what you think is the worst book ever written.
Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House. Follow him at @mobylives