How Good is a Bad Book?

It’s time for a random-thought rambly mess of a post. Let’s get it over with.

Ever heard the term “So bad it’s good”? Ever see a cash-in adaptation of a toy into a movie that was horrendous? Ever read a book that tried to mimic the style of success and fail miserably?

These media failures, whether they be books, games, tv shows, movies, or songs, are nearly unavoidable, especially if you have kids or have ever been one.

Some people might complain about the lack of quality in these books. Some might rail against the horrible productions that clitter our theaters, bookshelves, bargain bins, and game shops. I’m happy that they exist.

Let’s talk about games for a moment. I used to make those. I’ll get back to writing soon, I promise.

Back when I was a kid, maybe a decade ago, I was given my first game console: The Game Boy Advance. With one game and one game only: LEGO Star Wars II. That game, which I played for countless hours before getting Super Mario World, was awful.

There was no real challenge to the gameplay. Some levels lagged. The isometric view was not well done. Some of the humor of the originals was there, in that the characters only spoke in symbols, but the console releases crushed the GBA version in that as well.  It just wasn’t a good game. But I enjoyed it.

At some point, we have to think about what it is that makes a good game. A game can be technically horrible, but still be enjoyable thanks to the market that it panders to. Or, it can be such a bad game that people pull it up to laugh at it.

The interesting thing is that all developers want to make a quality game. Yet some games are given hardly any budget because little kids will eat up anything with a toy brand on it. That’s okay.

It’s okay to be a stupid cash-in, if the target audience enjoys it. It’s okay to be “So bad it’s good”, as long as people enjoy it for some reason.

Goat Simulator (PC) was purposefully made to be bad, so people would enjoy that part of it.

Now, back to books.

Fifty Shades of Grey. Never read it. Never watched the movie. I have heard hilariously horrible things about the origin of the story, and the way that it is written. Some might describe it as a blight on literature. Yet, I am so happy that it exists.

Because if it didn’t exist, I would never have heard Gilbert Gottfried read some select lines from it. There are tears of merriment that were shed over that Youtube video, and I’m happy that I saw it. (Google that thing, mind the profanity and OBVIOUS sexual content.)

Bottom line: No reason to be uppity about the trash that is produced in literature, or any other artistic medium. If someone somewhere enjoys the writing, then it is good writing to them. If nobody anywhere enjoys the writing, it will not make it.

We live in a subjective world, with objective quality. Think about it, and write something that someone somewhere can enjoy.

Enjoy your books, and enjoy your guilty pleasures as well.

See you around,

-Kyle Adams

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