July 3, 2009

The World's First and Only Hot Baboon Ride

The Bulwer Lytton literary parody contest recently announced its winners. The idea is that writers serve up opening lines for a story that will never be written. And the more spectacularly bad that opening line is, the better!

For example, Eric Rice won the detective category with this:
She walked into my office on legs as long as one of those long-legged birds that you see in Florida - the pink ones, not the white ones - except that she was standing on both of them, not just one of them, like those birds, the pink ones, and she wasn't wearing pink, but I knew right away that she was trouble, which those birds usually aren't.
Here’s another good detective opener from Glen Robins:
No man is an island, so they say, although the small crustaceans and the bird which sat impassively on Dirk Manhope's chest as he floated lazily in the pool would probably disagree.
Tony Alfieri gets to the point in his adventure story:
In a flurry of flame and fur, fangs and wicker, thus ended the world's first and only hot air baboon ride.
And in the same genre, here’s the award winner from Joe Wyatt:
How best to pluck the exquisite Toothpick of Ramses from between a pair of acrimonious vipers before the demonic Guards of Nicobar returned should have held Indy's full attention, but in the back of his mind he still wondered why all the others who had agreed to take part in his wife's holiday scavenger hunt had been assigned to find stuff like a Phillips screwdriver or blue masking tape.
My reaction to these, the best of the worst opening sentences, is that they can transcend the “so bad they’re good” world of ironic entertainment. I think they ARE good! Oh dear, this one by Matt Dennison (from the Romance) may force me to change my mind:
Without warning, their darting tongues entwined, like a couple of nightcrawlers fresh from the baitshop--their moist, twisting bodies finally snapping apart, not unlike an old man's muddy galosh being yanked away from his patent leather shoe.
Blech! Okay, let's close with Dan Blaufuss’s entry:
As Lieutenant Baker shrank his lips back to their normal size, he tried desperately to think of a situation in which his new-found power might be useful, as have I, your narrator.

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