The Edward Bulwar Lytton prize
is awarded every year to the author of the worst possible opening
line of a book. This has been so successful that Penguin now publishes
five books' worth of entries.
Some recent winners:
- "As a scientist, Throckmorton knew that if he were ever to break wind in the sound chamber he would
never hear the end of it."
- "Just beyond the Narrows the river widens."
- "With a curvaceous figure that Venus would have envied, a tanned, unblemished oval face
framed with lustrous thick brown hair, deep azure-blue eyes fringed with long black lashes, perfect teeth that vied
for competition, and a small straight nose, Marilee had a beauty that defied description."
- "Andre, a simple peasant, had only one thing on his mind as he crept along the east wall:
'Andre creep...Andre creep...Andre creep.'"
- "Stanislaus Smedley, a man always on the cutting edge of narcissism, was about to give his
body and soul to a back-alley sex-change surgeon-to become the woman he loved."
- "Although Sarah had an abnormal fear of mice, it did not keep her from seeking out a living
at a local pet store."
- "Stanley looked quite bored and somewhat detached, but then penguins often do."
- "Like an overripe beefsteak tomato rimmed with cottage cheese, the corpulent remains of Santa
Claus lay dead on the hotel floor."
- "Mike Hardware was the kind of private eye who didn't know the meaning of the word 'fear,'
a man who could laugh in the face of danger and spit in the eye of deathin short, a moron with suicidal tendencies."
And the worst line of all:
- "The sun oozed over the horizon, shoved aside darkness, crept along the greensward, and, with sickly
fingers, pushed through the castle window, revealing the pillaged princess, hand at throat, crown asunder, gaping
in frenzied horror at the sated, sodden amphibian lying beside her, disbelieving the magnitude of the frog's deception,
screaming madly, 'You lied!'"
Submitted by reader J.H.