Less Ambitious Novels

I saw the hashtag #lessambitiousnovels pop up on Twitter yesterday from my friend Eric James Stone, posting items like The Spy who liked me as a Friend or Chitty Bang and couldn’t help but jump in. That led an hour of me and my family coming up with goofy less ambitious novel titles while making dinner.

These are the ones we came up with:

Red Badge of Participation

Journey to the Center of my Living Room

For Whom the Phone Rings

Apocolypse When I Get Around To It

Lady Chatterly’s Optometrist

Guy I know in Normal Land

Minimum Bob

I am not a Serial Jay Walker

The Forever Police Action

Middle Aged Yeller

Squirrel Hunter International

John Carter of Fresno

Harry Potter and the Order of the Kleenex

A Tale of Two Suburbs

Loitering at 1600

Gatsby is pretty cool I guess


The Secret Garden Center

Horton Hears a Hobo

Throne of the Crescent Wrench

A Smart Car Named Desire

And my absolute favorites that I had to retweet from other people were:

Battlefield: Glendale

Interview with the Janitor

Slap-fight Club

Some Guy in an Aluminum Foil Mask

But what I didn’t realize was at the same time that hundreds of these were going up on Twitter in the space of an hour, every one I tweeted also created a new post on Facebook, where people went even more nuts. I had several hundred of these on my Facebook page this morning.

The Monster Hunters omnibus hardcover coming this month
An interview with me on the Otherwhere Gazette

33 thoughts on “Less Ambitious Novels”

  1. I rather liked Dragonhop, Slightly Extended Daylight Period, Dusty Dozen and The Peckish Games myself.

  2. Personally I’d tweak the “Red Badge of Participation” to the “Pink Badge of Participation” as red really is too ambitious a color. Otherwise I’d go with “A Game of Folding Chairs” or “Ship of Optical Illusion and Stage Trickery” or “I am Some Random Guy”

  3. I’m surprised you didn’t come up with ‘Soft Magic’.

    Spellstoppedforquestioning comes to mind as well. =)

  4. Can’t wait to check them out. I’m a little afraid someone else has already done these but here are a few off the top of my head:

    Les Inconfortables
    The Count of Monte Crisco
    Frankenstein’s Monster Truck
    Arguments and reconciliation (War and Peace)
    Soft and Cuddly Magic
    Harry potter and the order of phoenix with a side of fries
    Only Mostly Dead Six
    Low Expectations
    Ender’s board game
    Starship super troopers
    The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe malfunction
    To cook a mockingbird
    The Rumor (The secret)
    The grapes of angst
    The hitchhikers guide to the neighborhood
    Breaking Wind (Twilight)
    The Idiodyssey of homer (iliad and odyssey)
    Pilgrim’s progress report
    The next to last Mohican
    The Quarterback of Notre Dame
    Uncle tom’s condo
    Phantom of the Orchestra
    The call of nature (call of the wild)
    The league of Ordinary Gentlemen

    1. Still too ambitious in some cases.
      CoMC – The City Councilman of Disciple’s Hill
      Frank Stone, or The Guy Who Invented Modern Education
      Harry Potter and the Chicken Combo number 4
      Ferryboat Security Guards
      The Cat, the Stage Magician, and the Disappearing Cabinet Trick
      The Guy Who Didn’t Really Stand Out at the School Choir Recital

  5. Larry, I read your tweet / FB post and spent a good 20 minutes racking my brain on Twitter as well. I LOL’d quite literally at the Red Badge of Participation because sadly, that’s how our society seems to work these days.

    The Screwtape Tweets
    Drive-Through at the End of the Universe
    The Sauntering Man
    James & the Peach Jolly Rancher

    Not as funny as yours, but still 😉

  6. I love peavybob’s list. Off topic, but how about a B-movie version of Horton Hears a Hobo with a Shotgun.

  7. Here’s a few more that occured to me after my last post:

    Around the Block in 80 days
    Atlas Hiccuped
    From the earth to the moonshine
    Twenty thousandths of a league under the sea
    Lost by Jules Verne (mysterious island)
    The Polaroid of Dorian Gray
    Pride and Pre-Judicial Activism
    The Usual Odors by Thomas Paine (Common Sense)
    Large Women
    The Redshirt’s badge of courage (posthumous)
    Whaling for Dummies (Moby Dick)

    Harry Potter:
    #1 and the sorcerer’s kidneystones
    #2 and the chamberpot of secrets
    #3 and the worst prison security in the world
    #4 and the spicy drink
    #5 and the order of flame broiled chicken (nice one PanthyrLee)
    #6 and the teacher with daddy issues
    #7 and the Deus ex machina

    Twilight Series: (or sparkling forest fairies)
    #1 Waaaay past your bedtime or while you sleep (twilight)
    #2 New Monsters or Naked Wolf Butts (New Moon)
    #3 Where the sun don’t shine (eclipse)
    #4 Breaking wind or the crack of dawn. (Breaking Dawn)

  8. I like “John Carter of Fresno” but I think “John Carter of Berkley” sounds cool.

    Carter: Mars… I’m on Mars.
    Student: Mars? Naw man, this is Berkley. Everyone is weird here!

  9. This is hilarious. I love it.

    20 Inches Under the Pond
    The Telltale Fart
    The Little Hole and the Swingy Thing
    Middle Management of the Round Metal Object
    Pleasure Island (arguable in its ambition depending on the genre)

  10. Hmmm:
    The Mote in Bob’s Eye
    The Man in the High Apartment
    At the Foothills of Mildness
    The Sorta Got The Munchies Games
    Conan the Slightly Rude
    Macon, GA is A Harsh Mistress
    The Riddle of the Crosswords
    And Machivelli’s “The City Manager”

    1. Some less than ambitious History text:
      -The Rise and Fall of the Roma Pizzaria
      -The Influence of Seaweed Upon History
      -The History of The L33t Speaking Peoples
      -At Dawn We Slept In
      -The Welsh Corgi of Nations
      -Das Capitol
      -Discourses on the First Decade of Titus Little

      1. How about:
        Residents: A History of the French Snit
        Streams of a Medium-sized County
        The Powder Saucer
        Across the Small Papio (if you live in Omaha, you know this creek)

        and for the literary types:
        Cocktail Fork Creek Small Collection

  11. How about we go Shakespearean
    Hank IV
    The Taming of the Poodle
    The Light Showers
    Two Guys of Mount Vernon
    The Vendor of Venice Beach
    A Bit To Do About Nothing
    A Mid Summer Afternoon’s Nap

  12. Stephen King’s “The Green Furlong”
    Cautious Old World
    Alas, Bastrop
    As I Lay With a Hangover
    Go Tell it on the Molehill
    The Liver of Lightness
    A Room with Free HBO
    One Walk under a Sparrows Nest
    Fahrenheit 350 for 20 Minutes or Until Crust is Golden Brown
    The Call Waiting of The Wild
    Something Nifty This Way Comes
    The World According to Romney
    Lymph Meridian
    The Pitcher in the Bermuda
    The Satellite is a Strange Wife
    The Lord of the Lap-Band

  13. And now some more
    -Jim Salem’s Lot
    -Thinner in 30 days
    -The Canary
    -The Thing UPS Left On the Doorstep
    -The Dream Quest of Unknown Kentucky
    -The Hunt for Red’s October Deals
    -The Cat Who Walked Into Walls
    -A World Lit Only by Lightbulbs

  14. The Charge of the Morbidly Obese Brigade
    Gunda Dim Sum
    The Finger Painted Man
    The Tropic of Candy Corn
    The World According To Carp
    To Deep Fry a Mockingbird with Fries
    The Blueberries of Wrath
    The Dogfather

    Spy Novels:
    Dr. Maybe
    The Hunt For Black Friday
    Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Garbage Man
    The Spy Who Mugged Me

  15. The Canterbury Knock-Knock Jokes
    Less Ambitious Expectations
    Something Mildly Upsetting Wanders into the Area

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