The annual Bullwer-Lytton contest winners were announced this year, and are available for your viewing…pleasure (?)

This contest was started 26 years ago by Scott Rice of San Jose State University to parody bad opening lines of novels. Bulwer-Lytton’s opening sentence to his 1830 novel was “It was a dark and stormy night.”

Some I liked:

He was a dark and stormy knight, and this excited Gwendolyn, but admittedly not as much as last night when he was Antonio Banderas in drag, or the night before that when he was a French Legionnaire who blindfolded her and fed her pommes frites from his kepi.


Vowing revenge on his English teacher for making him memorize Wordsworth’s “Intimations of Immortality,” Warren decided to pour sugar in her gas tank, but he inadvertently grabbed a sugar substitute so it was actually Splenda in the gas.

also, a nice science entry (sort of):

Creeping slowly over the hill, the sun seemed to catch the small village nestled in the valley by surprise, which is a bit unusual really, as you’d think that something with a diameter of 865,000 miles and a surface temperature of 5780 degrees Kelvin, and which is more normally seen from 93,000,000 miles away, wouldn’t be able to creep anywhere, let alone catch anything by surprise.

And, of course, something entomological:

When he concentrated, his thick black eyebrows furrowed, looking not unlike a pair of Hypercompe scribonia caterpillars on a collision course over the bridge of his nose, but unlike them, his eyebrows would never evolve into giant leopard moths, and would find better places to hover after nightfall than around her 40-watt backporch light.

Posted by Gwen Pearson

Writer. Nerd. Insect Evangelist. Have you heard the good news? BUGS!


  1. I liked this one:

    It was a dark and stormy night, except when the lightning flashed, because then it wasn’t dark; it sort of turned the windows into a giant disco ball for a moment, but eventually the thunder and lightning stopped and it settled down to a steady light rain, so then it really was dark, but it would probably be a stretch to call it stormy.

    It fits the original quite well.

  2. I like this one, which has no admirable quality other than brevity:

    She had the kind of body that made a man want to have sex with her.

    I think I read this book when I was a kid:

    Timothy Hanson, Commander of the 43rd Space Regiment in the 52nd Battalion on board the USAOPAC (United Space Alliance Of Planets Attack Carrier) and second in command to Admiral L. R. Morris of the USAOP Space Command, awoke early for breakfast.

    But for genius bad writing, it is really hard to top The Eye of Argon.

  3. I like the sciency one. It’s reminiscent of Douglas Adams.

  4. Leopold looked up at the arrow piercing the skin of the dirigible with a sort of wondrous dismay — the wheezy shriek was just the sort of sound he always imagined a baby moose being beaten with a pair of accordions might make.

    Having spent two hours in our local library on Friday, trying in vain to find some challenging fiction or at least a decent sci-fi novel, I ended up flicking through the pages of adventure novels. (It was that, westerns, romance, or granny crime.)

    I soon discovered that adventure novel intros are almost identical to the spoof above—all that one lacks is an exclamation mark.

    My own favourite first paragraph in the “so awesomely bad it’s good” stakes is from One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night:

    William Connor was standing outside a disused cattleshed on a bright Highland summer’s morning, ankle-deep in cowshit, liquidised mercenary raining splashily down about his head from the crisp blue sky above.

  5. […] Bug Girl, but since Bug Girl is busy and not blogging, I recommend that you look at this week old post on puns. Then send her a nasty note. If you like it, share it! These icons link to social bookmarking […]

  6. OT:

    Greg Laden told us to send you a nasty note, so I’m sending an E-flat major minor seventh twice removed and mixing it with an F blown on a trumpet by a second grade student in her third lesson at 4 AM.

  7. That hurt worse than the puns!

Comments are closed.