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Brighten your day with a randomly-chosen piece of terrible science fiction prose

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Fans of the science fiction newsletter Ansible already know the joys of "Thog's Master Class," a recurring column featuring bad SF prose from famous sources. Now you can get all the joys of Thog with just one click. Over at the Thog website, there's a little tool called the Thogomatic for pulling up a random Thog's Master Class column, each with several lovely bits of awfulness contained therein. Here's a great (random) sample:

Dept of Uncertain Albedo. 'Her shining hair absorbs all light.' (Joan D. Vinge, World's End, 1984) [BA]

Sheepish Metaphor Dept. 'The big destrier liked fire no more than Sandor Clegane had, but the horse was easier to cow.' (George R.R. Martin, A Clash of Kings, 1998) [DG]

Neat Tricks Dept. 'I left him scratching his head with the circuit board wrapped up in the spare shirt in my backpack.' (Brian Rideout, 'Pupate' in Neometropolis, June 2005) [DL]

Dept of Understatement. 'Lancinations of unendurable ecstasy ravened through his consciousness, starbursts of warring sensory impulses that slipped once more to coherent phenomena, an instant before his mind shattered to follow into final chaos.' (Karl Edward Wagner, 'The Dark Muse', 1975) [BA]

Miss Manners Dept. 'The dragon's drool splat upon the verdant ground, a hiss of steam spiraling up in its wake.' (Michele Hauf, Seraphim, 2004) [BMS]

Dept of Martial Arts Truisms. 'It is obviously impossible for an unarmed man to kill a bigger one with his bare hands.' (Margaret St. Clair, The Games of Neith, 1960) [BA]

How did this terrifying journey into awfulness begin? I'll let the Thog creators explain themselves:

Thog the Mighty, a not terribly bright barbarian hero, is the creation of John Grant (Paul Barnett) in his "Lone Wolf" fantasy novels. Thog first appeared in Grant's The Claws of Helgedad (1991) . . . When David Langford edited the daily newsletter of the 1993 UK Easter SF Convention (Helicon) with Paul Barnett's assistance, Thog somehow became an in-joky presence: here's an account of the whole newsletter experience. At the 1994 Eastercon (Sou'Wester) — where Thog the Mighty was actually on the guest list — the same team co-edited the newsletter. To enliven routine reports of programme changes, the editors had researched numerous quotations which appeared in most issues as Thog's Masterclass — indeed a whole late issue of the newsletter was devoted to surplus Thog material. The department first appeared in Ansible in August 1994.


I advise you to poke the Thogomatic button every time you feel down. Same goes for checking out Ansible, too.