It’s Bulwer-Lytton Time!

It’s time for the annual terrible fiction contest! Sponsored by my now local San Jose State University, the Bulwer-Lytton contest is described as:

An international literary parody contest, the competition honors the memory (if not the reputation) of Victorian novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873). The goal of the contest is childishly simple: entrants are challenged to submit bad opening sentences to imaginary novels. Although best known for “The Last Days of Pompeii” (1834), which has been made into a movie three times, originating the expression “the pen is mightier than the sword,” and phrases like “the great unwashed” and “the almighty dollar,” Bulwer-Lytton opened his novel Paul Clifford (1830) with the immortal words that the “Peanuts” beagle Snoopy plagiarized for years, “It was a dark and stormy night.”

Here’s your 2008 grand prize winner:

Theirs was a New York love, a checkered taxi ride burning rubber, and like the city their passion was open 24/7, steam rising from their bodies like slick streets exhaling warm, moist, white breath through manhole covers stamped “Forged by DeLaney Bros., Piscataway, N.J.”

Garrison Spik
Washington, D.C.

A few faves:

Winner of Spy Fiction:

Special agent Mark Park’s strong chin and firm mouth showed that he was a man to be reckoned with, while his twinkling blue eyes revealed surprising depths of kindness and humor, the scar on his cheek a past filled with violence and danger, and his left ear a fondness for M and Ms, but only the red ones.

John R. Cooper
Portland, Oregon

Winner: Romance

Bill swore the affair had ended, but Louise knew he was lying, after discovering Tupperware containers under the seat of his car, which were not the off-brand containers that she bought to save money, but authentic, burpable, lidded Tupperware; and she knew he would see that woman again, because unlike the flimsy, fake containers that should always be recycled responsibly, real Tupperware must be returned to its rightful owner.

Jeanne Villa
Novato, CA

And for KC…

Nell Gwynn, a descendant of the famous English actress and friend of King Charles II, decided she would help French aristocrats, who were being decimated by the guillotine during the French Revolution, cross to safety in England by hiding them under her voluminous skirts and putting off French customs inspectors by confronting them with a face and arms covered with angry red pimples, earning for her the sobriquet of Scarlet Pimple Nell.

Alec Kitroeff
Psychico, Greece

Some funny, funny stuff. Go to the site and read ’em and weep. Enjoy!

3 thoughts on “It’s Bulwer-Lytton Time!”

  1. Thanks! At first I was confused because, as we all know, Nell Gwynne did not live during the French Revolution. I reread it to realize that the sentence said a descendant of the original witty, pretty Nell. Missed that the first time ’round. Then they hit me with that last line and it all came together. Very funny!

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