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I drew my customized Kimber 1911 .45, with the Pachmayr grips and skeletonized trigger, and leveled it coolly at the African-Americans.
Normally I go straight from the winner to the runners-up, but this time around I want to throw in an honorable mention first, just because it offers another take on some of the same themes as this year's winner:
The experiment of multiculturalism has failed, noted Captain Perry as he removed the laser-bayonet from the brown mans chest.
Okay, back to the usual sequence. Here's this year's first runner-up:
The bastard mayor tossed the money to his criminals. Heh heh heh, everyone said.
Daniel Snyder (not the football one)
Last year I remarked upon the number of entries about moody vampires, and noted that I thought moody vampires had been supplanted in pop culture by dystopian teenagers fighting each other. Naturally, that meant a flood of entries this year about dystopian teenagers. The best of them was this one, this year's second runner-up, which also checks the "overly flat-footed YA novel" box:
Why do you love me?
The sky was gray, fitting for this grim dystopia.
Mom, I asked my
mom. Whats for
Speaking of tours de force, I know that a lot of Lyttle Lytton readers' only concern is that an entry be funny, but I place a high priority on plausibility: i.e., can I imagine an author writing this and seriously thinking that it's good? To be more specific — if I had written this when I was sixteen, would I have thought to myself, "Good job, nailed it!"? Here's a beautiful example of an entry for which the answer to that question is "oh heavens yes":
Though she may have wiped away the tears, they just couldnt stop flowing. Like a wound on a patient without enough platelets, it kept pouring out, rapidly filling in the paths she tried to remove.
Here's another entry that trades on a simile that doesn't quite work:
The cattle-rustlers whip sang through the air like a long thin snake.
As permitted by the rules, Lauren squeezed two entries into the character limit, and the other one not only made the list, but it also takes the Berman Prize for suggesting the book I would least like to read:
Do you have the time
rhyme for ages,
Here are a couple of entries that make the list for being amusingly overwritten:
With the brassy tocsin of his morning alarm clock, John Michaelsons weary eyes exploded open.
Night falls in East L.A. with the crimson blood of men, as the day rises with womens tears.
David fell into Gregs manful arms and cried against his waiting muscles.
Nothing would ever stop reminding me of Lisa and her body.
So we all had dicks, all of the boys — can I go on?
J. Robinson Wheeler
And in the interest of equal time:
The dancers undressed; Liam noted their respective vulvae.
Continuing with the theme of gender balance, here's a counterpart to the 2014 entry about Timmy's experience at Orangedale High:
All the girls at the school talked about makeup and boys, but Sheila wore ripped jeans and didnt care.
Hannah & David Meyer-Lindenberg
I hope you discover, my dear teenagers, reading about my life as a rebel, that doing what your parents say isnt always bad, cuz it can be bitchin sometimes.
Ten years ago in the war, the only thing in which I thought I would be was the shit, not this mansion where I live at now.
And then there's this:
I knew that Billy had hiked into my life on a trail of broken hearts, but I never guessed that mine too would soon be becoming a part of that trail.
There's always at least one entry that gets in just on the basis that I end up looking at it a couple dozen times over the course of the year and go "ha ha ha what" every single time, and this year it's this:
They had the mettle of men, and yet they ate the biscuits of dogs.
Jorge was helplessly gripped by the sight before him, like cojones in the hand of an expert dominatriz.
- "Caramba!" exclaimed Diego de Fonseca, "a cucaracha has fallen onto the tortillas of my wife!"
I'm 99% sure that the Spanglish here (including the italicization of "tortillas") was included for comedic effect. I haven't read REAMDE, so I don't know whether the following is similarly deliberate, but either way, here's this year's winner in the Found category:
Like any Russian, Sokolov enjoyed a game of chess. At some level he was never not playing it!
REAMDE by Neal Stephenson
The original idea behind the Found division was to reimagine lines from news stories and the like as the beginnings of bad novels — and we'll get to those — but as we've just seen, a lot of people submit lines (if not necessarily the first lines) from works that are already novels, and some of these just beg to be included. Usually these are from bestsellers with no particular literary aspirations, such as this honorable mention:
Serena fished the Tic Tac out and put it on her tongue, but she was so worried about her future, she could barely taste it.
Gossip Girl by Cecily von Zeigesar
Heaven help me! she groaned, mentally. Now is my hour of need!
The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne
When Nathaniel at last ventured distantly to hint of an engagement with Olympia, her father Professor Spalanzani smiled all over his face.
The Sandman by E.T.A. Hoffmann (translator: John
For Google executive Forrest Timothy Hayes, heroin was the killer app.
Patrick May and Heather Somerville, mercurynews.com, 2014.0725
The family road trip in America is as old as covered wagons headed west — older, if you consider the ocean a road.
Dean Nelson, aaa.com, 2015 March/April
Finally, in this batch of winners full of echoes of the past, we have an entry that calls to mind last year's Found division winner:
Bees are good, Obama says, as children scream.
And since I see the bottom of the page down there I take it that we have reached the end. As usual, I feel I should specify that the cut line in this contest is always pretty arbitrary, and that if I had put this page together on a different day, the list of winners might look a little different. Thanks to all who entered, and to you for stopping by to read the results. If you enjoy the Lyttle Lytton Contest, please consider supporting it by tossing a few cents at the Patreon link below. It would make me smile all over my face.