...all manner of mealbreads, ripest canteloons...
May 1, 2017 10:58 AM   Subscribe

The 2017 winners of the Lyttle Lytton Contest have been posted. (previously)

What is the Lyttle Lytton? From the organizer:

"The annual Bulwer‐Lytton Fiction Contest challenges entrants to pen the world’s most atrocious first line to a novel.  Winners (and runners‐up and honorable mentions) are generally very long... Bleah.  Brevity is the soul of wit, and this goes on and on and on.  This is more my speed:

Jennifer stood there, quietly ovulating (Adam Cadre)

The non-action of “stood”, the vagueness of “there”, the involuntary process of ovulation treated as an activity, the inappropriateness of measuring the volume of that non‐activity, the uncomfortably gynecological detail of mentioning it at all—​all combine to make a cringeworthy sentence.  And since it’s only five words long, its impact is instant; you don’t have readers slogging through clause after clause after clause.  So in 2001 I started a contest much like the Bulwer-Lytton, only with entrants limited to 25 words.  (This has since been changed to 200 characters.)"
posted by crazy with stars (26 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
W00t! I made the list again!
posted by Navelgazer at 10:59 AM on May 1, 2017 [8 favorites]


/would read Anagramancer book.
posted by Artw at 11:23 AM on May 1, 2017 [12 favorites]


"W00t! I made the list again!" cried Neera, pausing to expose a smile full of cultured pearls to the room before continuing, "and it's the good kind of list, too, like Buzzfeed, not the bad kind of list like Schindler's."
posted by logicpunk at 11:24 AM on May 1, 2017 [25 favorites]


Hello, I believed you summoned me.
posted by boo_radley at 11:24 AM on May 1, 2017 [5 favorites]


(BARD ONLY) AIM CORNET
posted by boo_radley at 11:28 AM on May 1, 2017 [4 favorites]


man, dealing with wordplay makes me feel like cortex with a fractal.
posted by boo_radley at 11:29 AM on May 1, 2017 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure whether the Lyttle Lyttons have shifted toward the churn of topical-keyword social-media chat-bots, or whether topical-keyword chatbots have spoiled my patience for what the Lyttle Lyttons have always been. . . but the laughs are hard to find this year. I'm not convinced the judge and I actually find the same things funny, despite prior evidence to the contrary.
posted by eotvos at 11:32 AM on May 1, 2017 [4 favorites]


I disagree with the overall winner because that does not sound like the beginning of a hilariously bad novel but a hilariously awesome one.
posted by quaking fajita at 11:35 AM on May 1, 2017 [8 favorites]


Like the Jews, I found this very funny. And a great example of how some humor can survive being explained! Also, I'm willing to bet $10 that we'll see a "Protagonist's namesake & Garfunkel" account on Metafilter within the next year.
posted by ejs at 11:52 AM on May 1, 2017 [4 favorites]


All of these work great when you add "And then the murders began."
posted by backseatpilot at 11:57 AM on May 1, 2017 [1 favorite]


(It was the one about G0bl1n)
posted by Navelgazer at 12:27 PM on May 1, 2017 [2 favorites]


Add? It's a great first sentence all on its own! A portending, grammatically sophisticated beginning.
posted by rhizome at 12:29 PM on May 1, 2017


Also, I'm willing to bet $10 that we'll see a "Protagonist's namesake & Garfunkel" account on Metafilter within the next year.

Well, that's a bet you could easily win and pocket a net $5 if someone took you up on it.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:59 PM on May 1, 2017 [5 favorites]


The sky above the port was the color of a TV tuned to a dead hen clan.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 1:03 PM on May 1, 2017 [1 favorite]


Every year I submit, and every year I've forgotten what my submission was. As such, the main reason why I always hope I win is because I'd like to know exactly what it was I found funny the [n] months ago that I submitted whatever my entry was. but because I have never won, those jokes are lost forever.

last year (I think) cadre put in a long digression about how "buick" is an inherently funny word, which got my hopes up when I ctrl-f'ed for my name. but, alas, no.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 1:06 PM on May 1, 2017 [1 favorite]


(It was the one about G0bl1n)

I was just thinking that one could easily be the first sentence of an unironically good novel! (But it is also a quality entry to this contest and congrats on your honorable mention!)
posted by capricorn at 1:22 PM on May 1, 2017 [1 favorite]


The author's notes for Rim are amazing.
posted by boo_radley at 1:38 PM on May 1, 2017


You Can't Tip a Buick: Every year I gchat my entry to at least one friend so months later I can check what the hell it was that I submitted.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:57 PM on May 1, 2017 [1 favorite]


the laughs are hard to find this year. I'm not convinced the judge and I actually find the same things funny, despite prior evidence to the contrary.

It looks like a case of Trump Ruins Everything (or P.C. Ruins Everything if you're inclined that way). I mean, there's always been an element of cultural observation embedded in some of the Lytton entries, but the main criterion used to be silly wording and the implication that the author's a little too in love with his own voice. This year, the judge's commentary kept circling back to subtle themes of racism, misogyny, etc., and many of the "found" entries were there because their use of language felt vaguely "problematic" rather than goofy. It's hard to keep up a sense of humor when you're under attack.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 2:30 PM on May 1, 2017 [4 favorites]


Well, that's a bet you could easily win and pocket a net $5 if someone took you up on it.

And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you meddling kids.
posted by ejs at 2:57 PM on May 1, 2017 [2 favorites]


The "mealbreads" one was pretty funny, though.
posted by Wolfdog at 3:32 PM on May 1, 2017


Um actually *pushes up glasses* you can hear the hum of the twin ion drives in space, if you are on the TIE fighter with them.
posted by ckape at 3:47 PM on May 1, 2017


Yeah that drives me nuts because there are people who have tried to tell me that the explosion sounds are inaccurate in space movies even when the shot is from the point of view of people INSIDE THE SPACESHIP THAT IS EXPLODING and I am like no dude you could hear that life does not actually become completely silent everywhere outside of low earth orbit no matter what the local conditions are
posted by kyrademon at 4:24 PM on May 1, 2017 [2 favorites]


The wolves bit was good.
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:45 PM on May 1, 2017


Her wit was sharp like a lawnmower blade—​it could cut you down to size (which she could adjust, like a lawnmower).

I (personally a verbose abuser of parentheses, myself, as close readers of my comments would know) have a soft spot for these. (The entries with parenthetical thoughts, not the entries about lawnmowers.)
posted by Room 641-A at 10:17 AM on May 2, 2017 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure whether the Lyttle Lyttons have shifted toward the churn of topical-keyword social-media chat-bots, or whether topical-keyword chatbots have spoiled my patience for what the Lyttle Lyttons have always been

Yeah, as I was scrolling the frequency of political/etc buzzwords seemed much higher than the last time I read through these. Lots of climate change and abortion and liberty, when I'm more inclined towards neutrally turgid prose.

Though this intrigues me: Is Jesus a bad boyfriend?
"I only wish He would understand me like you do,” Rebecca sighed, twirling her fingers not only through her auburn hair but also the horse’s."
posted by sazerac at 11:56 AM on May 2, 2017


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