A Conspiracy of Badness in Novel Writing Every year, the Bulwer-Lytton Awards honor people who strive to write the worst first sentences for a novel that they can possibly imagine. But the winning science fiction entry this year is so weirdly similar to the first sentence of a forthcoming novel from Del Rey that we have to wonder if there isn't some kind of conspiracy of badness in the world of military SF. Check out the two offending sentences and judge for yourself. Joe Schulman won the Bulwer-Lytton in science fiction for this stinker:
Timothy Hanson, Commander of the 43rd Space Regiment in the 52nd Battalion on board the USAOPAC (United Space Alliance Of Planets Attack Carrier) and second in command to Admiral L. R. Morris of the USAOP Space Command, awoke early for breakfast.
Meanwhile, David Sherman & Dan Cragg's novel Starfist: Wings of Hell, forthcoming from Del Rey in December, begins with this line:
Captain Lew Conorado, the commander of Company L of the infantry battalion of Thirty-fourth Fleet Initial Strike Team, settled into the chair behind the desk in his office and sighed.
I'll admit right now that Starfist: Wings of Hell is an awesome title, and that this rip-roaring military tale isn't designed to please its readers with graceful prosody. But it's nevertheless sad to imagine that one man's effort to create an awful first line for a novel almost perfectly matches two men's efforts to create a great one. Bulwer-Lytton 2008 Winners [via San Jose State] Starfist: Wings of Hell [via Random House]