Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Bad Fiction Award Winner

From their website:

The winner of 2007 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest is Jim Gleeson, a 47-year-old media technician from Madison, Wisconsin. Purportedly splitting his time between living in Madison and living in his own head, Gleeson claims to be working on a self-help book for slackers, "Self-Improvement Through Total Inactivity."

2007 is the silver anniversary of the Contest that began at San Jose State University in 1982, making Jim Gleeson the 25th grand prize winner.

An international literary parody contest, the competition honors the memory (if not the reputation) of Victorian novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873). The goal of the contest is childishly simple: entrants are challenged to submit bad opening sentences to imaginary novels. Although best known for "The Last Days of Pompeii" (1834), which has been made into a movie three times, originating the expression "the pen is mightier than the sword," and phrases like "the great unwashed" and "the almighty dollar," Bulwer-Lytton opened his novel Paul Clifford (1830) with the immortal words that the "Peanuts" beagle Snoopy plagiarized for years, "It was a dark and stormy night."

Most entries are submitted electronically through the Contest's Web site: http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/. There is also a collection of previous winners being published in August by The Friday Project. It will be available through Amazon.com.uk.

Here is the winning piece:

Gerald began--but was interrupted by a piercing whistle which cost him ten percent of his hearing permanently, as it did everyone else in a ten-mile radius of the eruption, not that it mattered much because for them "permanently" meant the next ten minutes or so until buried by searing lava or suffocated by choking ash--to pee.

Jim Gleeson
Madison, WI

Yeah, that's pretty bad. You can see the Runner's Up here.

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