Wednesday, 26 July 2006

A stark and dormy night

It was a dreary Monday in September when Constable Lightspeed came across the rotting corpse that resembled one of those zombies from Michael Jackson's "Thriller," except that it was lying down and not performing the electric slide.

Derek Fisher, Ottawa
Winner: Detective fiction

How did the Bulwer-Lytton prize winners slip past me like a furtive raccoon on its way to raid the garbage bin ... No, I can't do it.

For those not familiar with the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, it celebrates the truly awful and contrived in ... er ... literature. All entries are composed for the competition, although I'm sure there are equally appalling openings in published works. Well, Edward Bulwer-Lytton's Paul Clifford (1830) for one:

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.

Read more about the contest and the eponymous author at http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/. You can find the winners and runners up on http://www.sjsu.edu/depts/english/2006.htm.

Be afraid.

Be very afraid.

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