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The Eye of Argon is an infamous original fantasy story by Jim Theis. Why infamous? Well, take a look at this excerpt:
- "Prepare to embrace your creators in the stygian haunts of hell, barbarian", gasped the first soldier.
- "Only after you have kissed the fleeting stead of death, wretch!" returned Grignr.
- A sweeping blade of flashing steel riveted from the massive barbarians hide enameled shield as his rippling right arm thrust forth, sending a steel shod blade to the hilt into the soldiers vital organs. The disemboweled mercenary crumpled from his saddle and sank to the clouded sward, sprinkling the parched dust with crimson droplets of escaping life fluid.
- The enthused barbarian swilveled about, his shock of fiery red hair tossing robustly in the humid air currents as he faced the attack of the defeated soldier's fellow in arms.
- —Chapter 2 of The Eye of Argon
In 1970, a fresh-faced sixteen year old boy named Jim Theis sent a story in to OSFAN, the journal of the Ozlark SF Society. At the time, the Internet was not so common and the personal computer hadn't been invented yet, so this was pretty much the equivalent of fanfiction in those days.
At some point in the seventies, an author named Thomas N. Scortia got ahold of the story and mailed it to a Californian science fiction writer, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. She showed it to other fans and it was an immediate hit—author David Langford described Theis as "a malaprop genius, a McGonagall of prose with an eerie gift for choosing the wrong word and then misapplying it."
Readings at sci-fi conventions became common and soon it became a running joke amongst fans, despite the fact that it is (or tries very hard to be) pulpy fantasy.
Plot... If It Can Be Called That Edit
The main character, an Ecordian barbarian named Grignr, is captured by soldiers of the Norgolian empire and imprisoned before he rescues a prostitute (with "stringy orchid twines of hair swaying gracefully over the lithe opaque nose") from the clutches of a large group of priests who intend to sacrifice her to their god, Argon.
The titular Eye of Argon is a "scintillating, many fauceted scarlet emerald, a brilliant gem seeming to possess a life all of its own" that sits in the "single obling socket" of the "cycloptic face of the bloated diety."
Yes, it's all like that.