Dark & Stormy: The 2006 Bulwer-Lytton Winners

The 2006 winners of the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest have been announced.

The winner is good (as such things are measured in this situation), but I have to say my favorite is one of the pun entries:

“Herr Professor Doktor Weiss’ reputation was made when he conclusively proved the fraudulency of the Mayan codex that claimed to show that that ancient people knew the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter to an exactitude unknown until modern times, in his article, “Bye, Bye, Mesoamerican Pi.””

Brilliant! :smiley:

Stupid hampsters…would someone please report this thread so it can be deleted? Thanks.


The other one’s been closed…you want this one deleted? Is discussion of the Bulwers verboten on the SDMB?

Some of my favorites:

“I know what you’re thinking, punk,” hissed Wordy Harry to his new editor, “you’re thinking, ‘Did he use six superfluous adjectives or only five?’ - and to tell the truth, I forgot myself in all this excitement; but being as this is English, the most powerful language in the world, whose subtle nuances will blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel loquacious?’ - well do you, punk?”- Stewart Vasperu, Scotland. (I’d love to see a movie with Clint Eastwood as an angry writer)

Todd languished there, neck deep in the pumpkin-hued Amargosa Desert sand like a long forgotten cupcake in an Easy Bake Oven gone hellishly amok, and it finally made sense . . . “ooohhhh, DEATH Valley.”- Jeffrey Barnes, Atlanta

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, Canada

Detective Otto Slugbert liked to compare himself to a legendary chess master, but his arch-enemy Bert Boswell often sneered that at best he resembled a merely average player of Mille Bornes® or Tri-Ominoes®.- Mary Hickey, Kirkersville, Ohio

It was within the great stony nostril of a statue of Landrick the Elfin Vicelord that Frodo’s great uncle, Jasper Baggins, happened to stumble upon the enchanted Bag of Holding, not to be confused with the Hag of Bolding, who was quite fond of leeks, most especially in a savory Hobbit knuckle stew.- Camille Barigar, Twin Falls, Idaho

While Hector and the heroes of Troy trembled behind the ramparts as cowboys below the walls raced up and down the beach, six-guns blazing and cries of “yee-hah!” filling the air, other cowboys across the sea were laboring gamely but in vain to throw a palisade around Wichita, Kansas, thereby adding veracity to the old homily of history that it is easier to cow a fortified city than to fortify a cow city.- Christopher Backeburg, South Africa

As I watched the sun rise through the wisps of smog like an angry Scandinavian sumo wrestler clad in a gold lamé muumuu, riding an arthritically slow escalator through the smoke of his own cheap panatela to the linens and beddings floor at J C Penneys, I realized that upon the orb’s overtopping the horizon, simple geophysics would deal that metaphor a quick and far less painful death than it deserved.- Dennis Grace, Austin, Texas ([Comic Book Guy]Best simile ever.[/CBG])

Those who commit crime made the little rodent angry and sad so he decided to dedicate his life to fighting them by making himself a little costume and becoming a super crime fighter, but, because he was so small and wouldn’t be noticed, he nonetheless was able to carry the fight to the miscreants by letting the air out of their automobile tires during the commission of a crime, thereby earning himself the honorific of Deflator Mouse.-Brian Gregory, Bremorton, Wash.

His mistake, Shut-eye McBlamaway reflected, was not in standing up to a gang of desperadoes and rustlers on the high country, but in standing up to a gang of desperadoes and rustlers who had just left the set of a Sergio Leone shoot, and were thus equipped with those guns that never run out of ammunition.- Samuel Goldstein, Los Angeles (I love the name “Shut-eye McBlamaway.”)

The goose waddled slowly, heavily, across the road, exactly the way my mother-in-law would if she were a goose.- Mary Montiel, Wichita, Kansas

Twas brillig, and the toves were not just slithy, they were stinking drunk.- Richard A. Polunsky, Houston

The day was like any other, except that this was a Wednesday so it was really only like 1/7th of the other days.- Randy Wilson, New Albany, IN

Enough quoting for now. Go read the rest yourself. I leave you with some wisdom:

“Grasshopper, the three secrets of life are as follows: first, keep your eyes and ears open; second: don’t tell everything you know.”- Andy Otes, French Forest, Australia

I think they wanted the other one deleted, since they accidentially posted twice.

Doesn’t really matter which one was closed…just that one was. :wink:

This fails as a Bulwer on two fronts. First, it’s a ripoff of something existing. Second, it’s way too pithy to be truly Bad Writing. It’s just unpretentious hack work.

I think the Bulwers should have not just a loose guideline about being too long, but too short. Maybe at least one subordinate clause should be required?

Well, so is the “Wordy Harry” thing, but that one is very funny.

Some Northern California submissions:

It was a day, like any other day, in that Linus got up, faced the sunrise, used his inhaler, applied that special cream between his toes, wrote a quick note and put it in a bottle, and wished he’d been stranded on the island with something other than 40 cases each of inhalers, decorative bottles, and special toe cream.

Chris Harget
Campbell, CA

If Gilbert had known then what he knew now, he would have seen that the dilemma facing him–to do a good deed for the wrong reason or to do a bad deed for the right reason–had long ago been shown to be two sides of the same coin by the philosopher known as Theragora of Crete even though he was not from Crete at all, but from Malta, which of course was not called Malta when Theragora was there.

Hubert Kennedy
Concord, CA

A single sparkling tear fell from Little Mary’s cheek onto the sidewalk, then slid into the storm drain, there to join in its course the mighty waters of the Los Angeles River and, eventually, Long Beach Harbor, with its state-of-the-art container-freight processing facilities.

Bill Mac Iver
Berkeley, CA
I have got to enter this thing…

How many of those who assume Bulwer-Lytton was a bad writer, have actually read Bulwer-Lytton? If you like H.P. Lovecraft, check out Bulwer-Lytton’s horror novella The Haunted and the Haunters, which gets more and more gripping as it goes along.

Bulwer-Lytton’s writing style is actually typical of Victorian-era prose. Is it Bulwer-Lytton or Dickens?

A personal favorite, for not only using “tintinnabulous” but concluding in a truly painful fashion, is:

“Christmas Eve fell upon the piazza, and the pealing, the tintinnabulous pealing, (perhaps not a pealing but an incessant tinkling, albeit an appealing incessant tinkling) of the street performers reached my ears, masking the shot, which would have rung out had not the tintinnabulations raised such an incessant tinkling that the sound died as dead as the musician who fell like Christmas Eve at my feet - his bell having been rung.”

Huh. I’ve read that story (and it is a good one) probably half a dozen times in different anthologies, and never realized it was written by the fellow famous for “It was a dark and stormy night.” Thanks for noting that – I’d probably never have known!

Well, the whole thing with the “tintinnabulous” opening is inspired by Poe’s The Bells, isn’t it?