Aug 18 2008 11:22pm

The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest 2008 Results

Winner: Fantasy Fiction

"Toads of glory, slugs of joy," sang Groin the dwarf as he trotted jovially down the path before a great dragon ate him because the author knew that this story was a train wreck after he typed the first few words.

Full list of winners here.

1. jessnevins
Poor Bulwer-Lytton. The man really doesn't deserve this mockery.
2. colin roald
"PEWPEW — Lasers! — PEWPEWPEW!" -- David Poore

From the much more concise and tasteful Lyttle Lytton contest,
Steven Padnick
3. padnick
Jess Nevins? Of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen annotations Jess Nevins?
4. jessnevins
Yes, that's me. And Victoriana. And Pulp Heroes.

My defense of Bulwer-Lytton, since the link didn't show up in my first post here:
Steven Padnick
5. padnick
You make excellent points, and no, Bulwer-Lytton was certainly no worse a writer than Cooper. In fact, I'd say the contest is named after him because he was a good writer and particularly because he had such skill with turns of phrase.

Like "the pen is mightier than the sword" and "the almighty dollar", "It was a dark and stormy night" is highly evocative and almost poetic, to the point it has transcended attribution and simply become part of the English language. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of time" and "Call me Ishmael" are famous opening lines, but both are attached to particular novels and writers. "It was a dark and stormy night" is famously the opening line, separate and apart from any particular book.

Thus, it is the sign of a bad novel if it starts with "It was dark and stormy night", because it shows a lack of creativity in the author (Unless that book was in fact written by Bulwer-Lytton. ... or I guess Madeleine L'Engle). The Bulwer-Lytton contest is really about finding a line that inspires even less confidence in the writer than a line unconsciously stolen from a novel written almost two hundred years ago.

Also, Jess (and Colin), I invite you to actually sign up for the community. I'd be interested to read any discussion you would want to start with the sci-fi, fantasy, and genre fiction community.
6. jessnevins
Honestly, I don't get the sense from anything the B-L Contest organizers have written that they think B-L was a good writer or that he's worth honoring for his accomplishments. I'll be happy to be wrong, though.

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