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It Was A Dark And Stormy Night [Paperback]

Scott Rice
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dec 7 1984 Bulwer-Lytton Contest
The fourth collection of hilarious selections taken from the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest for the best of bad fiction. The world-famous competition seeks to find the most atrocious opening sentence to a hypothetical lousy novel. Here are entries from the past three years, plus Rice's advice on how to write in the Bulwer-Lytton mode.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
The editorial review claims that this is the fourth collection; I believe that this is in error. This is the first, the original, copyright 1984, with entries from the first year of the contest.
The Bullwer-Lytton fiction contest (named for Edward George Bullwer-Lytton, who is responsible for the novel "Paul Clifford" (1830) which is famous for the opening line, "It was a dark and stormy night...", often spoofed, most famously by Snoopy in the "Peanuts" comic strip) has been an annual contest since 1983, the object of which is to write the worst possible opening sentence to a hypothetical novel. To be honest, this one isn't QUITE as funny as "Dark and Stormy; the Final Conflict", which is the only other collection that I've read yet, but it is still well worth reading if you have the particular warped sense of humor to enjoy parodies of overblown purple prose.
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It was a hot and dusty night (for you see, dear review reader, I live in a desert, where the nocturnal temperatures sometimes do not go below 90 degrees -- that is in the height of summer, as when I began this humorous tome I am reviewing) when I sat down to read the submissions of frustrated Victorian 'wannabees' who have more time on their hands than American Vice Presidents (present times excluded, of course) to dish out poorly conceived sentences modeled on that paragon of forgotten 19th Century literature, Bulwer-Lytton, whose flowery prose brings to mind the brain of soap opera producers who don't know when to stop; and neither did I, because this book was so darn funny, I almost wet myself -- therefore, I highly recommend it as a pleasant diversion better than Buffy the Vampire Slayer -- and that's saying a lot.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Too much of a good thing June 15 2001
Scott Rice, ed., It Was a Dark and Stormy Night: The Best of the Bulwer-Lytton Contest (Penguin, 1984)
It seems like a can't-miss idea, right? Publish the thousand or so best of the myriad entries the Bulwer-Lytton contest got in 1984. And, really, there's a lot of funny stuff here. But two hundred pages' worth does get old. Definitely a bathroon-read kind of book. It does divulge such brilliant bits as "a crowded elevator smells different to a midget," though, so it's worth your time. ** 1/2
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