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My Bulwer-Lytton Favorite

As a few people have noted online, the results of the 2006 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest have been posted. For those of you unfamiliar with the contest, the point is to write a bad opening sentence to a novel.

There's always an overall winner, but they also choose winners in subcategories. My favorite was this winning entry in the Romance category, written by Dennis Barry of Dothan, AL:

Despite the vast differences it their ages, ethnicity, and religious upbringing, the sexual chemistry between Roberto and Heather was the most amazing he had ever experienced; and for the entirety of the Labor Day weekend they had sex like monkeys on espresso, not those monkeys in the zoo that fling their feces at you, but more like the monkeys in the wild that have those giant red butts, and access to an espresso machine.

I literally laughed out loud when I read this one. It's the image of monkeys having access to an espresso machine that does it for me.


don't forget the giant redf butts!
That doesn't amuse me as much. But the picture of a bunch of monkeys at the office, enjoying some coffee and conversation around the espresso machine...I laughed.
That is pretty amusing...
The espresso machine pulls it together beautifully. Though a part of me thinks the semi-colon is kind of cheating....
Ah, the problems of the Bulwer-Lytton contest. Those are pretty good jokes, but I don't read them as actual bad sentences. Terry Pratchett might open a story that way -- consider the actual opening to "Moving Pictures"

This is space. It's sometimes called the final frontier.

(Except that of course you can't have a final frontier, because there'd be nothing for it to be a frontier to, but as frontiers go, it's pretty penultimate.)
Which is the opening of a pretty funny novel.

For giving an all-to-clear impression of the actual badness to come, I have to say, I prefer this one from this year's Lyttle Lytton:

The evil Intergalactic Emperor surveyed the destruction he wrought. "Booyah!" he cried with glee. "I'm in ur base! I'm killing all ur mans!"

You may say it's cheating that it's more than one sentence. But you also must admit it's still half the length of Michael's pick.
*dies laughing*

December 2016

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