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Monday, October 15

2007 Romance Winners of the Bullwer-Lytton Contest

Jane Austen has often been described as practically inventing the romance genre in literature. I take exception to this, as I think her novels are more than about romance: much, much more. Plus the genre is too prone to parody and ridicule, and easily dismissed as bodice ripper and chick lit books.

However, one cannot help but appreciate these tongue-in-cheek winners of the romance category from the 2007 Bullwer-Lytton Fiction Contest run by the San Jose State University English Department. Who is Bullwer-Lytton? Why, his most famous literary effort begins with: "It was a dark and stormy night ..."

Winner: Romance
As her quivering lips met his, and her eyelashes fluttered softly on his sweating cheek, Dr Robbins reflected, "I didn't realize she had upper dentures . . . in fact, her slippery plastic palate reminds me of going down a waterslide that hasn't been properly chlorinated, as evidenced by the distinct nitrous and sulfurous emanations, or could it be sinus trouble?"

Philip Bateman
Kenilworth, South Africa

There was a pregnant pause-- as pregnant as Judith had just told Darren she was (about seven and a half weeks along), which was why there was a pause in the first place.

Tracy Stapp
Santa Ana, CA

Dishonorable Mentions
She clung to the memory of their love like those tiny bits of used tissues he always left in his pockets, which mostly ended up in the dryer lint basket although enough of them welded themselves to her favorite navy blue, polar fleece pullover, rendering it as permanently flawed and unappealing as his name tattooed on her butt.

Pamela Patchet Hamilton
Beaconsfield, Quebec, Canada

He held her desperately in his arms and stroked her silken hair, and as he drew her full red lips to his, he ravenously smothered her with lots of smooches.

Bill Kerschbaum
Ann Arbor, MI

Ruthanne felt as though she was frozen in time, staring into Steve's eyes, deep turquoise pools of Tidy-Bowl blue, reflecting back the deep passionate love that Ruthanne felt in her heart because Steve certainly didn't feel anything, being in a coma as he was, so what Ruthanne had reflected back to herself was what she herself felt, bouncing off Steve's eyes, because there was absolutely zip going on behind those eyes.

Linda Morgan
Manassas, VA

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