The New Zealand Herald
The annual Bulwer-Lytton fiction contest picks the deliberately awful and therefore amusing opening sentence to “the worst of all possible novels.” Here are some examples:
1. “Dorothy and Toto got kicked out of Kansas just before that group had several hits back in the day but at least Toto achieved some success with his band, while poor Dorothy, penniless and insane, lived under a bridge, prostituting herself and screaming about rainbows.”
2. “Once upon a time, in a far off magical kingdom, there lived a beautiful princess who was loved by everyone in the land, except, of course, by her servants, for whom she made every waking moment a living hell.”
3. “When she walked into my office on that bleak December day, she was like a breath of fresh air in a coal mine; she made my canary sing.”
4. “It was a dark and stormy night, explained Moscow weatherman Sergei Ivanovitch Nabokov, or Sergei Invanovich, fondly called Seryozha by some and Seryozhenka by his family, but don’t bother memorising that as Sergei won’t appear again until the end of this book, when his weather forecast is heard in the background as we learn that the main character, Alexei Dmitriovich Makarov, or Alexei Dmitriovich, also known as Alyosha, Alyoshka, or Alyoshenka ( or simply Alexei M.) has shockingly died.”
5. “When Sir John of York fought in the crusades, he killed many Saracens with great dispatch, and was likened unto a whirling dervish of steel and Christian might – minus the dizziness from constantly spinning in a circle, and the fact that he was on a horse that couldn’t do that.”
Did you know . . .
1. The 1960s was the heyday for the quicksand trope — almost 3 per cent of films showed characters sinking in clay, mud, or sand.
2. A couple who received a US$31.5 million ($45.7m) settlement after unreported hail damage repair on their car resulted in a collision safety failure, trapping them in an inferno that ended in fourthdegree burns. The body shop responsible glued the roof back on instead of welding to OEM specifications.
3. McDonald’s announced its own plant-based burger, which has been dubbed the “McPlant”, will be added to menus in 2021. Let’s say the name again, because it sounds like a joke: McPlant.