Tag Archives: fiction

2008 Bulwer-Lytton winner

This is the 26th year of the Bulwer-Lytton contest, aimed at finding the best of the worst opening lines to imaginary novels. The winner is pretty good, but I enjoyed the “Spy Fiction” Winner and Runner-Up better. So I copied them below as well. I mean the Spy Novel winner is baaaaaad and the Runner-Up is just to punny to pass up.

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Ghost (Writer) in the machine

Philip Parker is the most prolific author in history, according to Amazon. The NY Times ran this article about Philip Parker and his amazing technicolor technical writing machines. Apparently, Parker unleashes his computers on the Internet, which look in every nook and cranny to glean all stats, numbers, data, etc. Then Parker peppers in a few introductions and transition pieces, hits another button to format, create charts and an index and…. bam! You have a collection of 200,000 “published” books (actually they’re sitting in a POD database waiting until someone buys one).

Most are dry niche-technical stuff. The kind of specialist info you might expect from a data miner like the one he is running. But he says that he’s looking to produce works in one area-of fiction… the romance novel.

“I’ve already set it up,” he said. “There are only so many body parts.”

Wow. Writing so formulaic that someone thinks a computer could do it? It will be interesting to see if it ever happens.