Theis was 16 when he wrote the story and it was first published in OSFAN (the journal of the Ozark Science Fiction Society) #7. He remained upset that a piece of juvenilia became an object of derision amongst the Sci-Fi community and he never tried to improve upon his very shaky start. He died in 2002. Reading the story with a straight face is a popular challenge at conventions.
Science Fiction is a genre that is full of examples of abysmal writing (and even worse films) but the Eye of Argon really is atrocious. Perhaps it is a little unfair to mock a piece of juvenilia but then again it was published, albeit in an obscure fanzine.
Here is the first part of the Eye of Argon... Enjoy!
THE EYE OF ARGON
By Jim Theis
The weather beaten trail wound ahead into the dust racked
climes of the baren land which dominates large portions of the
Norgolian empire. Age worn hoof prints smothered by the sifting
sands of time shone dully against the dust splattered crust of
earth. The tireless sun cast its parching rays of incandescense
from overhead, half way through its daily revolution. Small
rodents scampered about, occupying themselves in the daily
accomplishments of their dismal lives. Dust sprayed over three
heaving mounts in blinding clouds, while they bore the burdonsome
cargoes of their struggling overseers.
"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.
"Damn you, barbarian" Shrieked the soldier as he observed
his comrade in death.
A gleaming scimitar smote a heavy blow against the
renegade's spiked helmet, bringing a heavy cloud over the
Ecordian's misting brain. Shaking off the effects of the
pounding blow to his head, Grignr brought down his scarlet
streaked edge against the soldier's crudely forged hauberk,
clanging harmlessly to the left side of his opponent. The
soldier's stead whinnied as he directed the horse back from the
driving blade of the barbarian. Grignr leashed his mount forward
as the hoarsely piercing battle cry of his wilderness bred race
resounded from his grinding lungs. A twirling blade bounced
harmlessly from the mighty thief's buckler as his rolling right
arm cleft upward, sending a foot of blinding steel ripping
through the Simarian's exposed gullet. A gasping gurgle from the
soldier's writhing mouth as he tumbled to the golden sand at his
feet, and wormed agonizingly in his death bed.
Grignr's emerald green orbs glared lustfully at the
wallowing soldier struggling before his chestnut swirled mount.
His scowling voice reverberated over the dying form in a tone of
mocking mirth. "You city bred dogs should learn not to
antagonize your better." Reining his weary mount ahead, grignr
resumed his journey to the Noregolian city of Gorzam, hoping to
discover wine, women, and adventure to boil the wild blood
coarsing through his savage veins.
The trek to Gorzom was forced upon Grignr when the soldiers
of Crin were leashed upon him by a faithless concubine he had
wooed. His scandalous activities throughout the Simarian city
had unleashed throngs of havoc and uproar among it's refined
patricians, leading them to tack a heavy reward over his head.
He had barely managed to escape through the back entrance of the
inn he had been guzzling in, as a squad of soldiers tounced upon
him. After spilling a spout of blood from the leader of the
mercenaries as he dismembered one of the officer's arms, he
retreated to his mount to make his way towards Gorzom, rumoured
to contain hoards of plunder, and many young wenches for any man
who has the backbone to wrest them away.
You can find the Eye of Argon in its full glory here