Worst Opening Lines from Imaginary Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels

Inspired by the recent article on IO9. It’s really hard to come up with both original and truly bad writing. FWIW, here’s my contribution:

“As we descended to the landing pad, I watched through the scope as the dregs of the spaceport city of Memphis IV ran screaming for their lives, having lost the bet that no unscheduled ships (such as mine) would make planetfall that night.”

You can’t beat this one from the link…

“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.”



Nothing like a few typewriter spasms* to start things off…a literary cliff.

(That’s what John Scalzi calls them.)

I recently submitted this:

Simon Gulliver Brightlight had two doctorates - one in advanced hyperbolic theoretically applied physics and the other in English, the latter having proven necessary to respond to the inevitable pleas of ‘Whoa, Doc, say that again in English!’.

Overhead, without any fuss, the stars were going out; then the planetarium’s power came on again.

John Scalzi wrote the intro to The Shadow War of the Night Dragons - Book One: The Dead City - which will be the worst fantasy novel ever written. Here’s the first sentence - it’s even funnier if you read it out loud:

Night had come to the city of Skalandarharia, the sort of night with such a quality of black to it that it was as if black coal had been wrapped in blackest velvet, bathed in the purple-black ink of the demon squid Drindel and flung down a black well that descended toward the deepest, blackest crevasses of Drindelthengen, the netherworld ruled by Drindel, in which the sinful were punished, the black of which was so legendarily black that when the dreaded Drindelthengenflagen, the ravenous blind black badger trolls of Drindelthengen, would feast upon the uselessly dilated eyes of damned, the abandoned would cry out in joy as the Drindelthengenflagenmorden, the feared Black Spoons of the Drindelthengenflagen, pressed against their optic nerves, giving them one last sensation of light before the most absolute blackness fell upon them, made yet even blacker by the injury sustained from a falling lump of ink-bathed, velvet-wrapped coal.

The Kh’lll’is’or^nozxh have a word for it: Jilb’h’'h’huin’gzxohlt.

The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Awards are one of my favorite things ever.

As Oedipus watched his mother gracefully glide across the great hall, he felt a stirring in his loins which he immediately regretted but then quickly dismissed, for he knew if these wanton desires for his mother were wrong then someone would have named the condition by now, thus proving once again that where his emotions were concerned there was only one description for Oedipus … complex.