Below are the 10 winners of this year's Bulwer-Lytton Contest, aka the "Dark and Stormy Night Contest" run by the English Department of San Jose State University, wherein one writes only the first line of a bad novel:
10. "As a scientist, Throckmorton knew that if he were ever to break wind in the echo chamber, he would never hear the end of it."
9. "Just beyond the Narrows, the river widens."
8. "With a curvaceous figure that Venus would have envied, a tanned, unblemished oval face framed with lustrous thick brown hair, deep azure-blue eyes fringed with long black lashes, perfect teeth that vied for competition, and a small straight nose, Marilee had a beauty that defied description."
7. "Andre, a simple peasant, had only one thing on his mind as he crept along the East wall: 'Andre creep... Andre creep... Andre creep.'"
6. "Stanislaus Smedley, a man always on the cutting edge of narcissism, was about to give his body and soul to a back alley sex-change surgeon to become the woman he loved."
5. "Although Sarah had an abnormal fear of mice, it did not keep her from seeking out a living at a local pet store."
4. "Stanley looked quite bored and somewhat detached, but then penguins often do."
3. "Like an over-ripe beefsteak tomato rimmed with cottage cheese, the corpulent remains of Santa Claus lay dead on the hotel floor."
2. "Mike Hardware was the kind of private eye who didn't know the meaning of the word 'fear'; a man who could laugh in the face of danger and spit in the eye of death -- in short, a moron with suicidal tendencies."
AND THE WINNER IS.....
1. "The sun oozed over the horizon, shoved aside darkness, crept along the greensward, and, with sickly fingers, pushed through the castle window, revealing the pillaged princess, hand at throat, crown asunder, gaping in frenzied horror at the sated, sodden amphibian lying beside her, disbelieving the magnitude of the frog's deception, screaming madly, 'You lied!"