I want to visit the Department of English & Comparative Literature at San Jose State University for the sole purpose of meeting Scott Rice, Ph.D. in person. Dr. Rice is obviously held in high esteem on the academic front, since he’s the Department Chair. His research interests cover the range of satire, grammar, British & European novels and commercialism in education.
Even more important, Scott Rice is the originator of the the world-famous Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, an annual competition for would-be writers that challenges them to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels.
The contest is named after a minor Victorian novelist, Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, whose novel Paul Clifford began with the (now-infamous) sentence:
Inspirational words, aren't they!
"It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents--except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness."
~ Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)
In any case, you can find a whole lyttony (Scott Rice's pun, not mine) of the gems that were presented for consideration this year at the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest site, including the prose of Jim Guigli, this year's winner. Don’t miss the wonderful listings and examples from past winners and runner-up entries. They’re well worth the trip.
Just reading them serves as inspiration for me to try my hand in 2007. Then maybe I’ll get to make my trip to SJSU, and shake the hand of the man who made this all possible.See my progress at: Department of English & Comparative Literature on 43places.com.