Microsoft employee wins bad fiction award

As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire, highly functional yet pleasingly formed, perched prominently on top of the intake manifold, aching for experienced hands, the small knurled caps of the oil dampeners begging to be inspected and adjusted as described in chapter seven of the shop manual.

Thus wrote Dan McKay, a 43-year-old quantitative analyst for Microsoft Great Plains, en route to winning the 23rd Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.

The competition — an international literary parody contest — commemorates the Victorian novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873). Entrants are challenged to submit bad opening sentences to imaginary novels. Although best known for The Last Days of Pompeii, Bulwer-Lytton opened his novel Paul Clifford (1830) with the immortal words later adopted by Snoopy in the Peanuts comic strip: “It was a dark and stormy night…”

Well, it must make a nice change from writing guff about Windows ‘solutions’.