Monday, December 30, 2019

Drawn Out and Delightful

Thanks to recent holiday disruptions, we are a bit tardy in bringing you the winners of the 2019 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, “a whimsical literary competition that challenges entrants to compose opening sentences to the worst of all possible novels.” We trust your enjoyment of the results will in no way be lessened by that delay.

There are 12 categories of victors, the most pertinent to this blog’s readers being Crime/Detective. Top honors go to Jeremy Das of Loughborough, England, for the following above-the-call-of-duty tale:
Realising that his symptoms indicated a virtually undetectable, fast-acting neurotoxin, CIA coroner Quinn Abner frantically wrote up the details, lay on the floor and, as a professional courtesy, did his best to draw a chalk outline of himself.
There are also half a dozen Dishonorable Mention recipients in that same category, our favorite three being these:
Olivia followed her breasts into my office where I was studying the dead flies on the window sill and dropped a large brown envelope on my desk, which rearranged the dust as it came to rest next to my right elbow, causing me to lose interest in the flies as I watched her walk away, watched carefully while wondering if the motion of her hips could bring a dead man back to life, which led to wondering what she could do to a man who was still alive. — Will Dennehy, Cambridge, Maryland

Detective Wilhelm Schmidt’s raspy voice poured through the telephone receiver like a dump truck of gravel unburdening its load—much like the trucks that worked around the clock at Rohrer’s Quarry off of 1-81, transporting payloads of lime, sandstone, crushed rock, and gypsum—though with Detective Schmidt’s heavy German accent, excavation on its own would not suffice, and a second, albeit entirely different industry would need to be invoked to really paint a crystal clear picture of his voice. — Cody Hanna, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Prisoner #4420991 selected two large snow cones for his pre-execution last meal, much to everyone’s surprise, but #4420991 knew that death by lethal injection would come as sweet relief when balanced against the snow cone headache he expected to have. — Greg Homer, Diamond Springs, California
As you’ll recall, this competition—now in it 37th year—is named in honor of Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton, who in 1830 began a novel with the phrase “It was a dark and stormy night.” So naturally, there’s a Dark & Stormy category. 2019’s honoree in that field is Andrew Lundberg of Los Angeles, California, for this entry:
It was a dark and stormy night, and since this was Miami in July and everyone had left their convertible tops down, the rain fell in Cadillacs.
However, we’re quite fond of this Dishonorable Mention:
It was a Dark & Stormy Night; the rain fell in torrents outside the Breast Western—the country-themed strip club where the exotic dance duo of Stormy and Dark rattled the house (for it was a Tuesday), and fiercely agitated the lustful flames of the patrons who struggled in the darkness to rearrange their Wranglers. — Coby J. Scott, Hollywood, California
By the way, the Bulwer-Lytton contest’s 2019 Grand Prize winner is Maxwell Archer of Mount Pleasant, Ontario, Canada, for this gem:
Space Fleet Commander Brad Brad sat in silence, surrounded by a slowly dissipating cloud of smoke, maintaining the same forlorn frown that had been fixed upon his face since he’d accidentally destroyed the phenomenon known as time, thirteen inches ago.
Again, you can enjoy all of this year’s finalists here.

1 comment:

FurryBootsCityBoy said...

Great fun - thank you for a year end post that made me smile.