Each year the English department at San Jose State University sponsors the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, a writing competition which pays homage to Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, the man responsible for one of the hackiest opening lines in literature: “It was a dark and stormy night.”
The idea is to create an awful opening line for a fake work of fiction.
This year’s overall winner was University of Wisconsin Oshkosh professor Sue Fondrie, who submitted the following: “Cheryl’s mind turned like the vanes of a wind-powered turbine, chopping her sparrow-like thoughts into bloody pieces that fell onto a growing pile of forgotten memories.”
Notably, it is the shortest winner in the contest’s 29 year history.
Click the link above to read all of the winning … and losing, groan-inducing entires.
Clara Heyworth, the marketing director at the radical publishing house Verso Books and one half of one of the most beloved couples in New York publishing, died earlier this morning as a result of injuries received after being hit by a car in Brooklyn early Sunday morning.
Awhile back I plugged one of my friends upcoming books that’s being published by Scholastic next year. I mentioned that they’d sent the manuscript out for review, with letter of recommendation.
Inside the front cover of this manuscript is a signed letter urging our store staff to read it, signed by a large chunk of the Scholastic publicity staff.
When it came to Alamosa Books, we all chuckled about it (how sweet…) and then put it aside in favor of more pressing issues. I can only say, I wish I’d taken their advice sooner.
I’m eagerly awaiting the next stage!
This is a book that everyone will read and read again. Teachers, if you have reluctant readers, put this in their hands and just watch how quickly they gobble it up. Parents, if you want a good read aloud for younger readers, take this one home. But be prepared for pleas to keep going. Fantasy lovers, if you crave a good adventure, it just doesn’t get any better!
Click the link above to read the rest of this amazing review…
Then wait patiently with me for next April to come around.
P.S. You can find out more about this amazing writer and her amazing books here.
Gollancz, the SF and Fantasy imprint of the Orion Publishing Group, announces the launch of the world’s largest digital SFF library, the SF Gateway, which will make thousands of out-of-print titles by classic genre authors available as eBooks.
Building on the remarkable success of Gollancz’s Masterworks series, the SF Gateway will launch this Autumn with more than a thousand titles by close to a hundred authors.
It will build to 3,000 titles by the end of 2012, and 5,000 or more by 2014.
Amazon is effectively the adults’ table, and we self-publishers have been allowed to join. (And yes, I’m using the word allowed, because Amazon is a privately owned business who can sell what they want, not a democracy.) But the stunning success of a very few has imbued some of us with a rebellious over-confidence that seems to make us think we can put our elbows on the table, make faces in our food and throw peas at the other guests, and that we can do it ad infinitum without ever being asked to leave.
But that just isn’t the case. If self-publishers don’t buck up and start acting professionally, if we waste these opportunities that have been handed to us on a plate, if we insist on taking advantage of the situation without keeping up our end of the bargain – producing quality content – then we’re going to get sent back to the kid’s table.
And I can assure you, there are no opportunities there.
TO START WITH, shouldn’t it be called the “better-seller list”? I suppose that doesn’t quite sing, but how can you have more than one best seller at a time?
However you refer to it, the list is a disaster for literary and general culture. This isn’t to say that good books don’t become best sellers. John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is a superb combination of memoir, journalism, crime reporting, and cultural history, as well as one of the most popular nonfiction works of the past twenty years. Stephen King is an astonishing storyteller, as are, in their differing ways, J. K. Rowling and Elmore Leonard. Come bedtime on a workday, few of us are ready for an assault on the Mount Everests of literature, philosophy, and history. A Maisie Dobbs mystery by Jacqueline Winspear will do quite nicely, thank you.
No, my dislike of the list is directed entirely at the thing itself. I think it’s bad for readers, bad for publishing, and bad for culture. Above all, despite appearances, the best-seller list isn’t populist; it’s elitist. If there are a dozen slots, six are filled by the same old establishment names. For every James Patterson novel on the list, that’s one fewer novel by someone else. This is a tight little clubby world.