Monday, August 13, 2012

It's Writing, Captain, But Not As We Know It

The annual running of the bad prose has come again, with the winners of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest announced today. (Yes, that page is apparently official, even though it looks like something that crawled out of 1996, and not before dying, either.)

In honor of the "dark and stormy night" feller, the judges of the Bulwer-Lytton contest every year choose the most lousy opening sentence they can from among a myriad entrants. This year's winner was:
As he told her that he loved her she gazed into his eyes, wondering, as she noted the infestation of eyelash mites, the tiny deodicids burrowing into his follicles to eat the greasy sebum therein, each female laying up to 25 eggs in a single follicle, causing inflammation, whether the eyes are truly the windows of the soul; and, if so, his soul needed regrouting.
And it was extruded by one Cathy Bryant of Manchester, England.

Since there are always more bad sentences, there are also category winners. Those of genre interest are:
  • Fantasy: "The brazen walls of the ancient city of Khoresand, situated where the mighty desert of Sind meets the endless Hyrkanean steppe, are guarded by day by the four valiant knights Sir Malin the Mighty, Sir Welkin the Wake, Sir Darien the Doughty, and Sir Yrien the Yare, all clad in armor of beaten gold, and at night the walls are guarded by Sir Arden the Ardent, Sir Fier the Fearless, Sir Cyril the Courageous, and Sir Damien the Dauntless, all clad in armor of burnished argent, but nothing much ever happens." from David Lippmann of Austin, TX 
  • Science Fiction: "As I gardened, gazing towards the autumnal sky, I longed to run my finger through the trail of mucus left by a single speckled slug – innocuously thrusting past my rhododendrons – and in feeling that warm slime, be swept back to planet Alderon, back into the tentacles of the alien who loved me." from Mary E. Patrick of Lake City, SC 
(via Publishers Weekly)

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