Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Bulwer-Lytton Contest SF/F Winners

From File 770, these Bulwer-Lytton winners in SFF genre fiction.  

The winner in Science Fiction:

The professor had constantly warned his protégé about the time travel related risks of meeting a past version of yourself or killing your grandfather, but unfortunately he’d never mentioned the worst time machine risk of all — sticking your head out of the window.

My favorite:

She stood out like a fifth appendage on the prehensile glandular dorsal fin of a love-sick marmoset from the twin-mooned planet of Hades VII in the Alpha-Centauri star system, but I thought she looked damned cute anyway because of the sailor cap she wore so jauntily.

It’s hard to beat the phrase “prehensile glandular dorsal fin.”

The winner in Fantasy:

His steel sang as Dothrak, mighty thews febrile with barely-checked power, drew Aelthmor (the blade forged in eldritch shadows by the Zdrahali adepts) and declared, “All who have sworn allegiance to the False Duke will feel my wrath!” yet he was summarily admonished to silence, for it is at the Reference Desk of the Skokie Public Library that our story takes place.

Hah!

My favorite:

The wars between the Aarbollethi and the Deffalecci was now in its seventh haelon, and it is difficult to imagine they began when the Aarbollethian Ambassador to Deffalecci, when addressing the Deffaleccian Secretary of State, pronounced their nation’s common greeting, achdazar u zynthio as ashadar y thynzio, which, in the Deffaleccian tongue is an insulting reference to a hero from their classical mythology named Ashadarythyn, who was supposed to have murdered his Vareto and lain with his Amunna.

That’s pretty bad! Fourteen hard-to-pronounce words in that one paragraph. 

The grand prize winner is also provided at the link, and it’s hilarious, so if you have a minute, you should definitely click through and check it out.

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5 Comments Bulwer-Lytton Contest SF/F Winners

  1. Allan Shampine

    OMG! I live in Skokie and go to the Skokie Public Library on a regular basis! I had no idea I was in danger of being accosted by Dothrak and Aelthmor (although hopefully as a sword Aelthmor doesn’t say much – but being magic one cannot be sure).

    I note, however, that the author of the sentence lives in Minneapolis, which squashes my question of whether I know the author personally. Sad.

  2. Allan Shampine

    Indeed they are! Though they would take exception to the stereotype that reference librarians hush everyone. More likely, he would get a polite round of applause and then be asked if he needed assistance in locating a membership list for the False Duke’s court.

    In all seriousness, public libraries have become part of the social services networks through necessity. The customer-facing librarians have to become unflappable, as some pretty wild things can float through.

  3. Rachel

    Well, Allan, that takes “reference librarian” off my list of possible career choices, since “dealing with wild random things that people do” is right up there on my list of stuff that’s not for me.

    I really liked “The Shadow War of the Night Dragons Book One: The Dead City.”

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