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NOTE: The ebook version of this book available for download here is a pdf only. Due to the special formatting in the printed book, no standard ebook is possible.



"The Eye of Argon," by all rights, should have languished, a forgotten or ignored piece of amateur fantasy fiction published in a fanzine half a century ago. But it didn't. Somehow, it was detached from those ignoble beginnings, and gained an underground cult following at science fiction conventions. And then it grew. And the rituals involved in sharing the story grew. And now it has attained near-legendary status, sort of like the favored uncle you always seek out at family gatherings, but would be embarrassed if your real-world associates knew was related to you. Well, we're not embarrassed, though perhaps we should be.…


Original story by Jim Theis, with new contributions to the mythos by: Keith R.A. DeCandido, Genevieve Iseult Eldredge, Daniel M. Kimmel, Peter Prellwitz, Hildy Silverman, Ian Randal Strock, Michael A. Ventrella, and Jean Marie Ward, with Jody Lynn Nye (introduction), and Monica Marier (art).


Table of Contents:

Foreword: The Eye of Argon and Associated Earnest Musings – Jody Lynn Nye
Introduction: We Can All Be Grignr; or: How to Appreciate Very Bad Writing – Michael A. Ventrella
Publisher's Apology – Ian Randal Strock


The Eye of Argon – Jim Theis


Annotation – Ian Randal Strock


The Further Adventures of Grignr the Barbarian:
The Return of the Eye of Argon – Hildy Silverman
The Rat's Tail – Keith R.A. DeCandido
Grignr and the Drignr – Peter Prellwitz
Grignr in the Land of Er-Urz – Ian Randal Strock
God Quest – Genevieve Iseult Eldredge
Grignr's Swift Sword of Vengeance – Daniel M. Kimmel
Ouanna's Rock – Jean Marie Ward
Grignr and the Tomb of Really Bad Evil – Michael A. Ventrella


About the Authors




It has been reprinted time and again, most recently in 2022 in a handsome paperback edition published by Fantastic Books of Brooklyn, New York, under the title of The Eye of Argon and the Further Adventures of Grignr the Barbarian.… The Eye of Argon is an extraordinary work, which connoisseurs of fantasy fiction have almost unanimously agreed is the worst work of its genre ever written. I’ve recently re-read it and I can concur with that dark accolade—adding the proviso that I found it, once again, immensely entertaining in its strange way. I commend it to you now.… Ian Randal Strock, the publisher of the recent Fantastic Books edition, has provided interleaving pages that attempt to correct the multitude of grammatical and lexical errors of the story, telling us that “swlived” should actually have been “swiveled” and “ulations” is really “ululations,” but even he is defeated by such Theisian verbal novelties as “expunisively,” “scozscetic,” and “appiesed.”… Grignr is in fact an interesting character, a ruthless barbarian through and through in the authentic Conan manner, and in a weird way we care about him as he navigates one peril after another on his path to his rendezvous with the deadly Eye of Argon. It’s easy to laugh at the comedy of errors that Theis produced, back there in 1970, but underneath all the absurdities lies a real story, silly but strangely compelling.… It is possible to see that in the new edition by reading the various Argon pastiches that have been appended to it. One of them is the real thing, Hildy Silverman’s “The Return of the Eye of Argon,” which is a perfectly good little fantasy story that replicates Theis’s innumerable errors with remarkable accuracy, but which also deftly catches the music of his imagination. Another, “Oanna’s Rock” by Jean Marie Ward, is likewise a nicely plotted heroic fantasy, but unlike Hildy Silverman she was unable to make herself strew her tale with spelling errors and goofy grammatical absurdities, so it is essentially Theis played straight, somewhat of a different kettle of fish. —from Robert Silverberg’s Reflections column “I Didn’t Write It,” Asimov’s Science Fiction, January/February 2024


  • Author

    edited by Michael A. Ventrella

    original story by Jim Theis

  • Buy from Other Retailers

    Due to the amount of special formatting in this book, there is no standard ebook version of it available. However, there is a pdf version available on this page. Or, to purchase a physical copy, use these links.

    Trade Paperback (Amazon)

    Trade Paperback (Barnes & Noble)

  • ISBN

    Trade Paperback: 978-1-5154-4788-7

  • Length

    212 pages

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