Sideswipe: September 23: Feeling powerless

So bad its great

The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest is a challenge to write the worst opening paragraph to a novel possible. It’s named for the author of the 1830 novel Paul Clifford, which began with: “It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents.”

And over the years there have been many winners and dishonourable mentions …

“Dawn crept slowly over the sparkling emerald expanse of the country club golf course, trying in vain to remember where she had dropped her car keys.”

“Space Fleet Commander Brad Brad sat in silence, surrounded by a slowly dissipating cloud of smoke, maintaining the same forlorn frown that had been fixed upon his face since he’d accidentally destroyed the phenomenon known as time, thirteen inches ago.”

“She looked at a mirror, caught her reflection in someone’s eyes or is somehow knowing what this new person she just met is thinking about her. They think she is very pretty, in a relatable way. Strong and capable, but vulnerable and in need of a love interest by page 150. Professional, but also individual, where her personality shines bright through her strictly military uniform and styled hair which, I assure you, is some unusual colour. There’s also about a 50/50 chance she owns a cat.”

“The tears of loneliness rolled from her cheeks and fell upon the steaming pavement outside a second-rate shopping centre in Torrance, California, those tears evaporating in the heat and turning into molecularised water vapour that was gradually pulled into the upper atmosphere and slowly dispersed across the planet until, many years later, a few of the molecules descended upon Riomaggiore, Italy, where they were inhaled by her soul-mate, Giorgio Abatangelo, whom she would never, ever, meet.”

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Did you know …

1. The “M” character in the Austin Power movies was named Basil Exposition, as in he provides the background plot information (i.e. the exposition) needed for the viewer to understand what is happening in the present.
2. In the early 50s, before the national radar systems and satellites, the US surveyed the skies with Operation Skywatch: a million civilian volunteers in rickety towers with binoculars and a telephone, watching for Soviet bombers.
3. The Purkinje Effect … as the lights dim, our eyes get more sensitive towards the blue end of the spectrum. This is the reason why in movie theatres, chairs are usually red. In low light, red is the first colour the human eye loses sight of, hence enhancing our viewing experience.

New Zealand, you sound like a joke

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