WhiteBoardness - Wednesday, July 22, 1998
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Thu, 23 Jul 98 15:25:41 -0700
Subject: WhiteBoardness - Wednesday, July 22, 1998
Excerpted-from: WhiteBoard News for Wednesday, July 22, 1998
From: Joseph Harper <joeha@MICROSOFT.com>
San Francisco, California:
Striving to be the worst of the worst, Bob Perry mixed a little crime
melodrama with a few overdone food cliches.
Voila! Perry took top dishonors Tuesday in the 17th annual Bulwer-Lytton
Fiction Contest, which challenges entrants to compose bad opening sentences
to imaginary novels.
But let the corporate lawyer write for himself:
"The corpse exuded the irresistible aroma of a piquant, ancho chili glaze
enticingly enhanced with a hint of fresh cilantro as it lay before him,
coyly garnished by a garland of variegated radicchio and caramelized onions,
and impishly drizzled with glistening rivulets of vintage balsamic vinegar
and roasted garlic oil; yes, as he surveyed the body of the slain food
critic slumped on the floor of the cozy, but nearly empty bistro, a quick
inventory of his senses told corpulent Inspector Moreau that this was, in
all likelihood, an inside job."
What could be better... er, worse?
Perry, 46, was the runner-up in the contest's detective writing category in
last year's contest organized by San Jose State University's English
department. Since then, he's honed his horrid craft.
"I'm not sure - maybe I'm getting progressively worse over time," Perry
said. He got his idea for the grand-prize winner, which he entered again in
the detective category, by perusing local papers in his hometown of Milton,
For his winning entry, Perry will receive much local adulation and "a
pittance," contest organizers said. The reward, Perry said, is getting a
break from writing contract law.
"I look at it as a crossword puzzle or brain teaser. It's just a fun thing
The contest dishonors Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, a prolific 19th century
English novelist whose book "Paul Clifford" begins: "It was a dark and
This year's contest attracted entries from across the United States and 14
SAMPLES OF 'WINNERS' IN BAD WRITING CONTEST
Some of the winning entries announced Tuesday in the 17th annual
Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest honoring dishonorable writing:
ROMANCE: "My heart skipped a beat as the bearded walrus gently nudged me in
the small of my back with one smooth, curved tusk, expelling a warm breath
of air into my upturned face, its smell of peanuts reminding me of that
precious night on Coney Island; the night when I became a woman . .
. a woman and a convict." - Alison Kelly, Vero Beach, Fla.
WESTERN: "It was a majestic weapon, a masterpiece of form and function,
hand-crafted by master gunsmiths, accurate to a 100 yards, its bright silver
body and long barrel glistening in the sunlight, the hand-carved ivory inlay
warm against the palm, and mom got a good dollar for it after my brother
was shot in the back." - Terry Mayer, Oshawa, Ont.
SCIENCE FICTION: "While the technician finished his work, Elmodine Jaatrix
reflected upon how badly the evening was going: the ionizer on her Acme 2100
E-Z Klean dishwasher had burnt out, the window-bot had developed an attitude
and the Instafashion clothing dispenser would only produce athletic
supporters and Calvin Klein IX synthawool peasant blouses, and as she stared
at the gibbous moon slowly rising in front of her, she pondered morosely,
'If they can build cities in the rings of Saturn, why can't they make pants
for repairmen that don't droop?' " - Hwei Oh, Australia.
HISTORICAL FICTION: "Hemlock wasn't all that bad, Socrates decided
philosophically: no after taste, a smooth finish, and (of course) no
hangover in the morning." - T. O. Carroll, San Jose, Calif.
WhiteBoard News Service Bureau Chef
email@example.com (Joseph Harper)
© 1998 Peter Langston