It was a dark and stormy night…

The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest is an annual competition for the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels. SJSU has just announced this year’s winners and I wanted to share two of my favorites:

“The Insect Keeper General, sitting astride his giant hovering aphid, surveyed the battlefield which reeked with the stench of decay and resonated with the low drone of the tattered and dying mutant swarms as their legs kicked forlornly at the sky before turning to his master and saying, ‘My Lord, your flies are undone.'”
— Andrew Vincent

“The ancient Peruvian Airlines DC-3 lumbered slowly over the snow-capped peaks far below as Gunderson turned to Ricketts and marveled at how their avian import business “Incahoots” had led them once again to the far reaches of South America in search of the elusive gray-spotted owl.” — Miltiades Mandros

The original torrid prose that started this competition stands alone in literary circles:

“It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents–except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.”

�–Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)

If I would have but known, I would have submitted something. Perhaps…

The hair flew in Prudence Truebottom’s eyes as the wind kicked up, blowing the curtains in a ghostly waltz, tipping the paintings ever-so-slightly akilter, forcing the clouds outside even thinner, and ensuring that however she turned herself, she’d have to face the reality that Alex, her beloved Alex, wasn’t coming back and that Daddy was right yet again: hot air ballooning without a control valve is a sport for fools, not adventurers.”

How about it? Post your best entry and let’s see what we get…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *