The Return of Bulwer-Lytton and More Bad Travel Writing

Travel Blog  •  Michael Yessis  •  08.01.11 | 11:34 AM ET

Love this annual contest, where writers compose an intentionally awful opening sentence of a novel. This year’s winners were announced last week and, as usual, the honorees have given us some dreadful yet hilarious travel writing. My two favorites come from the purple prose category. Mike Pedersen took the top spot with this clunker:

As his small boat scudded before a brisk breeze under a sapphire sky dappled with cerulean clouds with indigo bases, through cobalt seas that deepened to navy nearer the boat and faded to azure at the horizon, Ian was at a loss as to why he felt blue. 

Jack Barry’s vision of Los Angeles was runner-up: 

The Los Angeles morning was heavy with smog, the word being a portmanteau of smoke and fog, though in LA the pollutants are typically vehicular emissions as opposed to actual smoke and fog, unlike 19th-century London where the smoke from countless small coal fires often combined with fog off the Thames to produce true smog, though back then they were not clever enough to call it that.

Clever, Jack. Clever.

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1 Comment for The Return of Bulwer-Lytton and More Bad Travel Writing

Jack Barry 08.04.11 | 2:11 PM ET

Glad you enjoyed my observation on atmospheric conditions in LA.  Thanks for mentioning it.

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