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The Blah Story is Full of Blah

You can’t make this stuff up.

I stumbled across this last month while we were discussing the longest novels in literature. An “author” named Nigel Tomm “wrote” a “book” that consists of 23 volumes, 11,338,105 words, 61,745,771 characters (with spaces), and 17,868 pages.

The book’s name? The Blah Story. Here’s an excerpt:

Blah intimidated, they blah to blah blah, where blah and blah passed a blah blah. Blah little blah that blah blah one blah surprised to blah what blah their blah were blah.
‘I always blah a blah to blah a blah,’ he blah blah.
‘I like blah.’

Like I said, you can’t make this stuff up. The book, self-published, is even available on Amazon. The product description says:

Overwhelmingly creative, Nigel Tomm demolishes the barrier of words and meaning, giving vitality and expressive strength to the pattern of his most exclusive novel – The Blah Story. It is a new way of conceiving text that frees the imagination, allowing you to personalize each and every word by your own creativity. * Book statistics: Volume 1 contains 390,734 words; 2,010,877 characters (with spaces). *

In other words, you, the reader, are expected to do the job of the writer. This isn’t “overwhelmingly creative,” it’s overwhelmingly lazy and offensive to the reader. This is like a chef giving you a plate and telling you to pick the food out of the pantry and cook it yourself–and then saying, “Look how creative and avante garde I am!”

I would rather read Infinite Jest backwards than try and read one page of this. Wow. So I’ve given The Blah Story way too much of my time.

Am I off base here, or is this just totally ridiculous?

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36 Comments Post a comment
  1. What a waste of paper.

    Like

    April 19, 2011
  2. Gemma Sidney #

    That’s ridiculous!

    What’s even more ridiculous, is that someone, somewhere out there in blah-land, is going to like it.

    Like

    April 19, 2011
  3. Ben #

    On the plus side, you could pass some entertaining evenings playing Mad Libs…

    Like

    April 19, 2011
  4. Trees weep at the mere thought of this “book.”

    Like

    April 19, 2011
  5. Lazy has never been confused with art…unless you’re Bob Dylan.

    Like

    April 19, 2011
  6. What was it that P. T. Barnum said? Oh, yeah, “there’s a sucker born every minute.” That pretty much sums up The Blah Story for me.

    Like

    April 19, 2011
    • No doubt. I can’t imagine someone actually buying this. As Ben said above, it’s basically a glorified mad lib. But I’m sure at least someone bought it.

      Like

      April 19, 2011
  7. Patti #

    Wow! Who wrote the review of this book? The author? That’s totally ridiculous – talking about it as though it was actually a story kind of reminds me of people who were too embarrassed to say they couldn’t see The Emperor’s New Clothes…

    Like

    April 19, 2011
  8. It’s ridiculous. I took a class at Virginia Tech called Contemporary Fiction. We talked about stuff like this book and honestly, we read a few that were very similar. We read books like “Naked Lunch,” Kathy Acker’s “Blood Guts and High School,” “Texaco”…etc..Some were worse than others, but they were in the same category as the book you’re talking about. They supposedly shatter the literature norms and make the reader “really think,” but really they are exhausting and almost insulting to the reader since they spend so much time studying a book that is about nothing at all. Anyway, trust me when I say, I know the feeling of reading a book like this. I spent an entire semester doing it..

    Like

    April 19, 2011
    • Naked Lunch is on the list, so I’ll have to read it at some point. Sounds like an interesting one.

      Like

      April 19, 2011
  9. And the author is laughing all the way to the bank thanks to the people they have fooled.

    Like

    April 19, 2011
  10. Hahaha! That’s awful. Really. The description you posted from Amazon cracks me up.

    Like

    April 19, 2011
  11. writernubbin #

    Ridiculous! And who was the idiot publisher??

    Like

    April 19, 2011
    • Looks like it was published through Booksurge, basically self-published. Other authors who are self-published must cringe.

      Like

      April 19, 2011
  12. Whitney #

    I think these comments are missing an important point: the fact that this book is so obviously satirical and not meant to be taken literally as a true piece of literature.

    Like

    April 19, 2011
    • I don’t think this is “obviously satirical.” What is it being satirical of? And, if it is satirical, then it’s a lazy piece of satire and all the above still applies.

      Like

      April 20, 2011
  13. You are 100% on target with your comments. The most amazingly insane concept I can imagine as an author.

    Like

    April 21, 2011
  14. thebaffledo0queen0ocomposing #

    I haven’t read the book, so I can’t say your criticisms are off base….but experimental/counter traditional literature often deserves more of a chance than a perfunctory look. There’s some really awful stuff (this book may be one such thing) and some of it actually blows your mind if you sit with it long enough (like Beckett for example).
    All in all, The Blah Story can’t possibly be worse than Gertude Stein’s “Tender Buttons” (which I think attempts to destroy the noun):
    “A cushion has that cover. Supposing you do not like to change, supposing it is very clean that there is no change in appearance, supposing that there is regularity and a costume is that any the worse than an oyster and an exchange. Come to season that is there any extreme use in feather and cotton. Is there not much more joy in a table and more chairs and very likely roundness and a place to put them. A circle of fine card board and a chance to see a tassel.”
    A bunch of “blahs” might make that more readable….

    Like

    April 24, 2011
  15. Ted Rusch #

    Actually The Blah Story is ghost written. Actual author: Pete Babcock. True story.

    Like

    April 25, 2011
    • True story, indeed! I wonder if Chad realizes this?

      Like

      April 28, 2011
  16. rossjensen #

    I will never understand why experimental “authors” choose to “critique” the conventions of the novel in works they insist on calling novels. Ironic much? In this case, at least the title doesn’t hide anything from the reader.

    Like

    May 1, 2011
  17. The Me Who Is Not You #

    Well, it’s unusual. Personally, I’d probably read the first chapter and then put it down.

    Like

    August 24, 2011
  18. Call it what you want, but I think it’s hilarious.

    Like

    August 26, 2011
  19. James #

    Nigel Tomm, the author.

    Nigel Thornberry, a cartoon character who is famous for using the word ‘blah’.

    I’m pretty sure it’s meant to be a joke.

    Like

    February 9, 2012
    • Why charge $20 for a joke?

      Like

      February 9, 2012
      • Adam #

        Because then you have $20 more than if you didn’t charge $20 for it.

        Like

        April 7, 2012
  20. James #

    This is genius! A true piece of art.

    Like

    March 15, 2012
  21. I went searching for the longest book series ever written to see how it would stack up against mine. Admittedly, I was quite intimidated and surprised to find a book series this long. After reading the first sentence from the excerpt on this review, I am convinced I no longer have anything to worry about.

    Like

    June 11, 2012
  22. Paul Olaru #

    The title says it’s just some bad shit, but it contains the longest sentence and word :))

    Like

    November 22, 2012
  23. Ted Vardjas #

    Guys just got to relax. This isn’t offensive at all. Sure it’s silly, but y’all shouldn’t get angry at the author or the book. It’s just something different.

    Like

    May 27, 2013
  24. Phoebe Smith #

    Someone wrote something different that exercises your own mind and you call that lazy? It isn’t it releases your imagination and you can turn it into your own story. How many people have read a book and wished it ended differently? I know I have many times. This book is giving you the chance to do that, you can change the story, you can make your own. He had his own idea for this book, other wise he wouldn’t of started writing it, maybe he didn’t want to restrict what the reader read, maybe he didn’t want it to be for specific people and maybe he didn’t want it to be read by closed minded people.

    Like

    June 27, 2014
    • Pwabus Spec #

      So you’re saying it’s a Choose Your Own Mystery for people who take themselves too seriously. Still not selling it.

      Like

      June 30, 2017
  25. My six year old boy was annoyed with his teacher who, as part of the class homework, asked the students to write a story using connectives but the story had to be on something other than animals.

    Unfortunately, he wanted to write about cheetah – his favorite animal – nothing else. So instead he wrote a two pages diatribe involving sentenses comrpising blah blah with connectives.

    When I saw his masterpiece I thought ‘what an act of childish rebellion’ and said to him that he was probably the only writer in the world that has done such a thing.

    How wrong I was!

    BTW – I never told him about the 23 volume blah books – did not want to spoil his pride.

    Like

    April 13, 2015

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