Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest 2008

The results of the 2008 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest have been released! For those unaware, this contest is sponsored by the English Department of San José State University in San Jose, California and its purpose is to "to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels"; i.e. to write a horrible opening line of an imaginary novel. The contest is named after Victorian novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton, who opened his novel Paul Clifford with the words "It was a dark and stormy night." A line that has been used by authors (the less-creative ones) ever since.

Here are some interesting entries from the 2008 contest:

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

Runner-Up: Hmm . . ." thought Abigail as she gazed languidly from the veranda past the bright white patio to the cerulean sea beyond, where dolphins played and seagulls sang, where splashing surf sounded like the tintinnabulation of a thousand tiny bells, where great gray whales bellowed and the sunlight sparkled off the myriad of sequins on the flyfish's bow ties, "time to get my meds checked.

Andrew Bowers

Winner: Adventure

Leopold looked up at the arrow piercing the skin of the dirigible with a sort of wondrous dismay -- the wheezy shriek was just the sort of sound he always imagined a baby moose being beaten with a pair of accordions might make.

Winner: Fantasy Fiction

"Toads of glory, slugs of joy," sang Groin the dwarf as he trotted jovially down the path before a great dragon ate him because the author knew that this story was a train wreck after he typed the first few words.

Runner-Up: Historical Fiction

Our tale takes place one century before the reign of Alboin, the Lombard king who would one day conquer most of Italy and who would end up being murdered by his own wife (quite rightfully, I'd say, since Alboin made a drinking cup out of her daddy's skull and forced her to drink from it), when our little Sonnebert was seven years old.

Runner-Up: Romance

Like a mechanic who forgets to wipe his hands on a shop rag and then goes home, hugs his wife, and gets a grease stain on her favorite sweater - love touches you, and marks you forever.

Winner: Science Fiction

Timothy Hanson, Commander of the 43rd Space Regiment in the 52nd Battalion on board the USAOPAC (United Space Alliance Of Planets Attack Carrier) and second in command to Admiral L. R. Morris of the USAOP Space Command, awoke early for breakfast.

Runner-Up: Science Fiction

Lightning flashed from the blue-black sky of this alien world and shattered the engines of the spaceship, destroying Reninger's last chance of escaping and reminding him of the time his sister returned from New York with the tips of her hair dyed blue, except for the part about the lightning and the spaceship.

[Source: http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/scott.rice/blfc2008.htm]


Anonymous said…
he he... the winners of adventure and science fiction categories are particularly interesting.
Think Tank said…
omg1 these people have really put in all there creativity to this job...cool post ..i like bowers tintinnabulations best ;)