Talk:The Eye of Argon

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Former featured article candidate The Eye of Argon is a former featured article candidate. Please view the links under Article milestones below to see why the nomination failed. For older candidates, please check the archive.
June 24, 2004 Featured article candidate Not promoted
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Too many quotes and not enough text. The quotes should stay, however. But I'm sure there's more to say about it.

What the article would looove is a scan of the original or a mimeograph thereof. - David Gerard 20:46, Feb 18, 2004 (UTC)


i found a picture of a reprinted edition here but i'm not sure how to insert pictures, i'm a text person. anybody want to insert it?--Notenderwiggin 03:28, 25 February 2006 (UTC)


What's the chance of grabbing a copy for posterity's sake so it can't go away? --Phil 14:23, Feb 19, 2004 (UTC)

I suppose you could try to track down the author's heirs. However, I found about ten copies just Googling for info. It's not going away any time soon - David Gerard 14:24, Feb 19, 2004 (UTC)

"reader Michael Swanwick"[edit]

Is "reader Michael Swanwick" the same person as author Michael Swanwick ? -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 13:41, 21 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Almost certainly, though I might email Mr. Langford and check - David Gerard 14:01, 21 Jun 2004 (UTC)
The reference you need to quote is Ansible 193. HTH --Phil | Talk 14:07, Jun 21, 2004 (UTC)
That's a better reference link, yes. Added - David Gerard 14:26, 21 Jun 2004 (UTC)


The article says it was/is used as a basis for a game. A one-liner description of the game would be a useful addition. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 13:46, 21 Jun 2004 (UTC)

There's a link at the bottom of the article - feel free ;-) - David Gerard
I think you'll find that the second paragraph of the article serves as such. HTH HAND --Phil | Talk 14:07, Jun 21, 2004 (UTC)

Fauceted or faceted?[edit]

"A many fauceted scarlet emerald". Can somebody with access to the book check if this is a typo? It could go either way. --Woggly 08:17, 22 Jun 2004 (UTC)

The text is linked at the bottom of the article. The typo is the point of the quote - David Gerard 08:31, 22 Jun 2004 (UTC)
I thought "scarlet emerald" was the point of the quote. It's obviously a very pointy quote. --Woggly 09:13, 22 Jun 2004 (UTC)
I thought so too, until I found out there really was such a thing as a scarlet emerald - David Gerard 09:19, 22 Jun 2004 (UTC)
The question is whether the author knew this. --Woggly 09:54, 22 Jun 2004
I doubt it myself ;-) OTOH, there's no way to find out - David Gerard 09:58, 22 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Oh, and just for the record, it's not actually a book. No one ever published it, thank Mrifk. DS 16:38, 10 Oct 2004 (UTC)


Unfortunately some supposedly serious literary critics have apparently got hold of The Eye of Argon and held it up as a typical example of science fiction. It's as if Gene Wolfe, Avram Davidson, Brian Aldiss, Roger Zelazny and Ursula Le Guin never existed. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lee M 03:34, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Has anyone got a cite for that? I've heard this mentioned a few times but never heard anything at all about TEoA in the mainstream media. I think I first stumbled upon it on USENET. (talk) 19:39, 18 May 2008 (UTC)


Don Simpson's note needs to be transcribed with the misspelling "ommitted" in place, otherwise the sic is meaningless. Besides, it proves the age-old internet law that any sarcastic comment about someone else's spelling or grammar inevitably shoots itself in teh foot.

Muphry's law... AnonMoos (talk) 01:40, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

So was Theis hurt by the radio show or not?[edit]

Anyone got a cite for the radio show? I saw this [1] one that says Theis participated in readings - David Gerard 23:27, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

Found it myself! - David Gerard 23:49, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

copied from Talk:Jim Theis[edit]

Cause of His Death[edit]

If anyone can find this out--and believe me I really tried and couldn't find anything--please post whatever you can find. I put some unanswered questions up there in hopes that someone might find the answer. Thodin 05:15, 19 May 2005 (UTC)


This paragraph

Unknowns: What was the cause of his death? Did it have anything to do with his dislike of being criticized? At present there is no information on this.

does not belong in the actual article. The answers to the questions do. HTH HAND --Phil | Talk 08:00, May 19, 2005 (UTC)

Oh good, the article looked like no one was watching it and it's not true--talk page was empty. I hope someone finds out his cause of death Thodin 20:26, 19 May 2005 (UTC)
I don't have first-hand information, but have been told by others who were closer to him (we were out of touch at the time of his death) that it was due to heart disease. -- Davidkevin (talk) 08:06, 24 October 2008 (UTC)


The St Louis Public Library Obituary Index for 2002 shows a record for James F. Theis on 3/29; I don't know if this is the same person (likely it'll turn out to be a 97-year-old orc-killing swordsman or something), but it might clear up some details if someone were willing to look it up. (Ah, the random things we run across on the 'net.) User:TooLazyToMakeYetAnotherStupidAccountIHaveToKeepSigningIntoJustToTypeInAUselessComment


Although a terribly written story, it should be noted that The Eye does follow a typical Conan story arc and Theis's pacing is comparable to Howard's in many ways. Grignr like Conan is quite likeable and many fans of Conan usually enjoy the story [citation needed].

I agree with the first sentence of this, and the second may well be true; but these are OR, suitable for a book review, not here. JCScaliger 20:22, 24 September 2006 (UTC)


The Elder Scrolls series has a few references to "The Eye of Argonia." Does anyone know if this is a reference to the book? Ektypic 09:53, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

It's likely that Argonia itself wasn't named in reference to The Eye of Argon, but once its name was arrived at it probably didn't take long for someone to decide that it should have a famous Eye. 02:09, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Worst science fiction story[edit]

How can it be the "worst science fiction story ever written" when it's clearly fantasy? The two genres are related, but not that closely. Also, that's marked as a quote, but unattributed. If it's actually a quote, it should be attributed, and if it's not, then the quote marks should be removed. (Don't tell me "{{sofixit}}"—I don't know if it's a quote or not.) As for "popularly known as", well...I've heard it called the worst fantasy story ever, but I don't believe I've ever heard it called the worst science fiction story. Clearly, the lead should mention its notable reputation, but is there a better way to put this? Ideas and suggestions welcomed. Xtifr tälk 12:24, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

According to [2], it was first published in a SF fanzine, it gained notority at SF conventions, and was 'rediscovered' in the NY review of SF in 2005. The two genres overlap, and I agree with you personally that I would call the genre fantasy. However, I can see reason to call it SF as many sources do as well.-Andrew c 16:14, 16 April 2007 (UTC)


Under the 'versions of the text' section, the 2nd and 5th links are identical. Any reason for them being listed seperately? 04:33, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

OSFAN moved from article[edit]

I am moving the following here:

==OSFAN and the Jay T. Rikosh Award==

The circulating copy of this story contains the following attribution at the bottom:  "By Jim Theis, winner of the Jay T. Rikosh award for excellence."  

Apparently, such an award did exist, in the OSFAN magazine, and it was named after another 'artist' who contributed to the magazine.  In searching the internet, all references to the Jay T. Rikosh Award seem to be directly related to this story, except one.  The relevant section of that quotation from the British magazine [ Checkpoint 4], published June, 1971 by Peter Roberts, does mention the Rikosh award and OSFAN: 


"OSFAN 15 (duplicated: 32pp. A4).
Editors: Marsha Allen & Douglas Clark, 62181/2 Hancock Av, St. Louis, Mo. 63139, USA.
Available for: trade, LoC, contribution.


Normally I choose fanzines I enjoy for review in Checkpoint, but every once in a while something appears which is so ghodawful bad that I'm tempted to give it the full treatment in the hope that it might warn others off. The arrival of Osfan 15 was just such an occasion...


Now the Osfan Group have plenty of enthusiasm and obviously enjoy putting their club fanzine together; however the result is a mess visually. A curious system of mailing the thing flat with a couple of staples through the open side means that Osfan invariably arrives without a cover, something of a minor blessing I suppose, having seen some of their past efforts at cover design.


Interior layout is unbelievably scrappy and possibly even worse than the proverbial British crudzine. In addition Osfan is adorned with artwork that is stunningly nauseating; the grotesque deformations of the female body picture in every issue are enough to put anyone off his breakfast and yet they even have a J.T.Rikosh Award named after one of their 'artists'


I'm afraid I didn't have the intestinal strength or mental courage to read this issue, but at a guess it will contain several boring reports of parties where the writer will display his lecherous virility by listing all the women he touched, made, leered at, or fondled (probably including grandmothers and female pets for good measure). When I first read one of these, I thought the writer a rather nasty adolescent; now I'm no longer sure what to think.


I note that this issue contains a list of Doc Clark's 1970 film viewing, "How I rate the movies I saw last year". It consists of a list, in order, of 105 general films, the majority of which possess no merit whatsoever ... Amazing.


There we are then: keep clear of Osfan for the sake of your stomachs. I'm sorry I can't find one good thing to say about the fanzine, especially since the OSFA Group may be a nice bunch of people. It's just that Osfan, under Hank Luttrell's editorship, used to be a serious newszine rival to Locus. Nowadays it's hardly a rival to Ruffcut..." 


First, there is no need to quote that much from a source that isn't even discussing the topic of this article. Next, saying things like In searching the internet.. we are getting awfully close to original research. Finally, this discussion seems almost off topic for this article. If there is still a desire to include this information, I believe it could be summarized in a sentence or two. Please consider being much more concise. Thanks.-Andrew c [talk] 00:21, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

Worst SF story[edit]

The story is popularly known as "the worst science fiction story ever written".Citation needed
The statement might be true, but who is qualified to claim that it is so? -Rolypolyman

No one is claiming (in the article) that The Eye of Argon is the worst science fiction story ever written. The only claim made in the article is that many people think of it as such. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:01, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
Can anyone cite for this though? It seems uncontentious enough, but for NPOV's sake a citation should be there. --54x (talk) 06:47, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
We're talking about a living person's work, here, so we should make a decent effort to source disparaging statements. I've swapped the quote for a sourceable Dave Langford one. --McGeddon (talk) 10:23, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
No, Jim is quite dead. [insert long quotation from Monty Python Dead Parrot sketch here, as Jim might have himself] -- Davidkevin (talk) 08:13, 24 October 2008 (UTC)

A hoax?[edit]

I can't find any reliable information that The Eye of Argon actually exists. Everyone only seems to have the "transcribed" version and, even though in 2005 someone reported that an original copy of the magazine had been found, nothing came of it-- there are not even any scans of it on the internet. The "radio interview" was talked about on the internet but never broadcast.

As it stands, The Eye sounds like a hoax. The only evidence of its existance is a "transcription," and a "found magazine" and "unbroadcast interview." All of this evidence seems to be found on a few sites run by people who are "in on it."

Does anyone have any proof that The Eye of Argon was really written by Jim Theiss and submitted to "OSFAN" in 1970? (talk) 03:33, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

I lived with Jim Theis for several months in 1974-5, and used to own a copy of (but no longer possess) the original issue of OSFAn in which the story was first printed. It is not a hoax, nor was Jim, nor that he wrote it himself. -- Davidkevin (talk) 08:02, 24 October 2008 (UTC)
I don't think it's a hoax, and Langford is generally a very reliable source - but the lack of scans of the original on the net disturbs me, too. If it was passed around fandom so widely, why has nobody scanned it in? Why are we relying on a slightly dodgy transcription, if the piece is so famous? We really need somebody to scan it in...and I find it odd that nobody has done so. (talk) 16:16, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
I was one of Langford's sources. See comment one paragraph previously. -- Davidkevin (talk) 08:02, 24 October 2008 (UTC)
A scan is now available. See here. DeafMan (talk) 14:51, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Susan Stepney / New York Review of Science Fiction[edit]

I've cut "Susan Stepney claims to have the missing ending section, including information on how the lost ending was discovered. Quoting from that page: For the history of this great work, including the eventual discovery of the legendary lost ending, see New York Review of Science Fiction #195, November 2004, and #198, February 2005." from the "Lost ending" as an opaque aside on a personal website isn't a reliable source, and the February 2005 letter is quoted with context by the next paragraph anyway. The November 2004 issue might be worth following up, though. --McGeddon (talk) 10:37, 17 June 2013 (UTC)