Rewrite the openings to famous novels in the style of John Lanchester

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"At 8.33pm, Jay Gatsby, a bootlegger and gangster, was looking out across the bay from No. 3 East Egg. He was looking at a green light, while thinking about the past..."

Matt DC, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 10:10 (three years ago) Permalink

Reposting my work of Lanchester-style literary inspiration:

"Call me Ishmael", said Ishmael as he was woken at 6.30am by his Precision LCD Radio Controlled Clock, purchased for £19.99 from Argos.

The Male Gaz Coombes (Neil S), Wednesday, 25 November 2015 10:11 (three years ago) Permalink

"At 10.30am, a man called Ishmael was walking along the wharf at New Bedford, Massachusetts, at a brisk clip..."

Matt DC, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 10:12 (three years ago) Permalink

Haha xpost.

Matt DC, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 10:12 (three years ago) Permalink

"At 7am on the dot, stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed, as he prepared to have a shave..."

Matt DC, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 10:18 (three years ago) Permalink

dammit I already

21 year-old medical student Malachi "Buck" Mulligan walked up the stairs to the roof terrace of his 1800s Martello Tower apartment holding a bowl of shaving foam and his Gillette Fusion ProGlide with NEW Flexball Technology Manual Razor. He reminded his friend, 20 year-old fellow medical student Stephen Dedalus, of one of those priests that frequently appeared as the perpetrator of some sexual scandal on the television news programmes.

when's international me day? (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 25 November 2015 10:18 (three years ago) Permalink

I was going to have a go at Burgess' opening line to Earthly Powers, but it has a touch of the Lanchesters already:

"It was the afternoon of my eighty-first birthday, and I was in bed with my catamite when Ali announced that the archbishop had come to see me."

The Male Gaz Coombes (Neil S), Wednesday, 25 November 2015 10:19 (three years ago) Permalink

"It was 7.34pm on the 10th October and four men were sitting in a boat on the Thames."

when's international me day? (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 25 November 2015 10:21 (three years ago) Permalink

"28 year-old Fitzwilliam Darcy did not particularly want to get married even those his friends thought he should."

when's international me day? (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 25 November 2015 10:23 (three years ago) Permalink

"At 4.30pm, Humbert Humbert got into his sparkling new car, wound the window down, turned on the radio and, while humming along all the time, drove into the neighbouring town to do a spot of child molestation..."

Matt DC, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 10:24 (three years ago) Permalink

"On 11th April 4004 BC Geoff God decided to create the heavens and the earth."

when's international me day? (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 25 November 2015 10:26 (three years ago) Permalink

Your Ulysses is better.

Matt DC, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 10:29 (three years ago) Permalink

maybe but Lolita made me irl lol

seriously thinking about trying Finnegans Wake

when's international me day? (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 25 November 2015 10:35 (three years ago) Permalink

"It was a bright cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen. Which was not notable in the fictional world I am writing about."

when's international me day? (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 25 November 2015 10:39 (three years ago) Permalink

"It was a sunny afternoon on 7 April 1928 and 33 year-old simpleton Maury Compson was watching a group of businessmen play golf."

when's international me day? (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 25 November 2015 10:49 (three years ago) Permalink

"The rapid descent of a Vergeltungswaffe 2, or V2 rocket produces a shrill aerodynamic scream as it passes through the air, but of course, as the rocket's speed exceeds that of sound, it will have detonated upon impact before this sound can be heard by the unfortunate people whom it has vapourised."

avant-garde, sissy bounce, zombie rave, aquacrunk, warlock, oceangrunge, (imago), Wednesday, 25 November 2015 10:49 (three years ago) Permalink

Nah, it's more like - "On 19th of July 1941, Captain Geoff Prentice (Pirate to his friends), listened to the sound of loud bangs from outside, as he began chopping bananas in preparation for one of his famous Banana Breakfasts..."

Matt DC, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 10:59 (three years ago) Permalink

lol fair

avant-garde, sissy bounce, zombie rave, aquacrunk, warlock, oceangrunge, (imago), Wednesday, 25 November 2015 11:02 (three years ago) Permalink

think mine was more of a nultation

avant-garde, sissy bounce, zombie rave, aquacrunk, warlock, oceangrunge, (imago), Wednesday, 25 November 2015 11:03 (three years ago) Permalink

1945 tho, lanchester would never get the year wrong

avant-garde, sissy bounce, zombie rave, aquacrunk, warlock, oceangrunge, (imago), Wednesday, 25 November 2015 11:04 (three years ago) Permalink

'44 surely?

when's international me day? (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 25 November 2015 11:08 (three years ago) Permalink

mmm yeah ok, guess there is a christmas bit

this sort of pedantry is important

avant-garde, sissy bounce, zombie rave, aquacrunk, warlock, oceangrunge, (imago), Wednesday, 25 November 2015 11:11 (three years ago) Permalink

just guesstimating from irl, haven't read it for too long

when's international me day? (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 25 November 2015 11:13 (three years ago) Permalink

Pedantry is essential, as is demystification, churning banality and the need to spell everything out.

Matt DC, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 11:15 (three years ago) Permalink

"The events of this part occur primarily during the Christmas Advent season of 1944 from December 18–26."

Just checked wiki. Its what Lanchester would've done.

xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 11:17 (three years ago) Permalink

exactly xp and not xp

avant-garde, sissy bounce, zombie rave, aquacrunk, warlock, oceangrunge, (imago), Wednesday, 25 November 2015 11:17 (three years ago) Permalink

yeah I wikied the correct year for Geoff God making earth too

when's international me day? (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 25 November 2015 11:20 (three years ago) Permalink

You wouldn't. xp and yeah xp

xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 11:21 (three years ago) Permalink

i check wikipedia for plenty while writing. not volunteering my own opening sentences for the lanchester treatment just yet tho

avant-garde, sissy bounce, zombie rave, aquacrunk, warlock, oceangrunge, (imago), Wednesday, 25 November 2015 11:25 (three years ago) Permalink

"It was a quarter to midnight upon the evening of the 17th of April 1846 when, waking in the middle of a frightening thunderstorm and seeking solace in the arms of my surrogate parents, my mouth, hitherto silent, came to conflate what little comprehension my brain had of my deceased father's name, Pirrip, and my similar Christian name, Philip, resulting in my first utterance of the name, Pip, by which I came to be known."

avant-garde, sissy bounce, zombie rave, aquacrunk, warlock, oceangrunge, (imago), Wednesday, 25 November 2015 11:35 (three years ago) Permalink

100 years of solitude is gagging for this treatment, but i can't remember any of the actual facts

she used alt+3 like an ascii heart (NickB), Wednesday, 25 November 2015 11:51 (three years ago) Permalink

we need a 'Rewrite the openings to famous novels in the style of imago' thread

canoon fooder (dog latin), Wednesday, 25 November 2015 11:54 (three years ago) Permalink

Look at what you've done Matt!

xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 12:00 (three years ago) Permalink

It was 10:33 am in the last years of the nineteenth century and nobody was busy believing that the world was being watched keenly by tentacled creatures from across the gulf of space - from Mars in fact - envious creatures that were busy drawing plans against us, plans involving the construction of giant tripods to enable them to withstand our planet's stronger gravity.

ledge, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 12:47 (three years ago) Permalink

Minimal work needed here:

"It was 10:33pm on 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 house-tops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness. "

ledge, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 12:57 (three years ago) Permalink

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was a quarter to six on the evening of Tuesday the 14th of October, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the era of recycling, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, it was cans of Old Jamaica Fiery Ginger Beer, flat-packed cardboard boxes, cereal packets and bottles of Cobra purchased from the local Londis in the black bin, it was plastic Coke bottles, pizza boxes, tetra paks still dripping with raw chicken juices in the green bin, it was animal bones and soggy, limp spinach leaves in the brown caddy.”

canoon fooder (dog latin), Wednesday, 25 November 2015 14:20 (three years ago) Permalink

It was a bright cold day in April and when Winston Smith glanced at the LCD display of his Casio wristwatch, the one with a flexible metal wristband rather than the cheaper plastic one, a choice he had agonized over for several minutes when making his purchase in 1978 at Marks & Spencer, it displayed the number 13:00 in its familiar clumsy blockish font.

Aimless, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 18:58 (three years ago) Permalink

"It was a sunny afternoon on 7 April 1928 and 33 year-old simpleton Maury Compson was watching a group of businessmen play golf."

i love this

also ledge's hg wells

thwomp (thomp), Thursday, 26 November 2015 14:08 (three years ago) Permalink

The sun was shining on things which it had shone on, on previous occasions.

thwomp (thomp), Thursday, 26 November 2015 14:09 (three years ago) Permalink

Bilbo Baggins, who was a member of a humanoid species with furred ankles, lived in a middle-class neighborhood. His residence had all the usual amenities.

thwomp (thomp), Thursday, 26 November 2015 14:11 (three years ago) Permalink

from a little after two oclock until almost after sundown, which occurred roughly at five, of the long still weary dead september afternoon they sat at what miss coldfield still called the office because her father had called it that - a dim hot airless room with the blinds all closed and fastened for forty-three summers because when she was a girl someone had believed light and moving air carried heat and that dark was always cooler, and which (as the sun shone fuller and fuller on that side of the house) became latticed with yellow slashes full of dust motes which quentin thought of as being flecks of the dead old dried paint itself being blown inward from the scaling blinds as winds might have blown them.

LEGIT (Lamp), Thursday, 26 November 2015 14:31 (three years ago) Permalink

Pale Fire, a poem in heroic couplets, of nine hundred ninety-nine lines, divided into four cantos, was composed by John Francis Shade (born July 5, 1898, died July 21, 1959) during the last twenty days of his life, at his residence in New Wye, Appalachia, U.S.A on an IBM Selectric II

LEGIT (Lamp), Thursday, 26 November 2015 14:34 (three years ago) Permalink

Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, which they did, in response to my inquiry.

LEGIT (Lamp), Thursday, 26 November 2015 14:35 (three years ago) Permalink

Around four o'clock, one evening in 1988, in a rather dilapidated apartment in Leith, Sick Boy, who was a heroin addict, was observed displaying the trembling and excessive sweat commensurate with the withdrawal symptoms belonging to that drug by his friend Mark Renton, who was also a heroin addict.

thwomp (thomp), Thursday, 26 November 2015 14:38 (three years ago) Permalink

the hamptons were very grand as well as very rich

LEGIT (Lamp), Thursday, 26 November 2015 14:43 (three years ago) Permalink

hapscomb's texaco, which is a petrol station, was on number 93 just north of arnette, a pissant four-street burg about 110 miles north of houston

LEGIT (Lamp), Thursday, 26 November 2015 14:48 (three years ago) Permalink

When, in late April, following the downtick in precipitation of the preceding month, rain becomes more common, and North Atlantic depressions create a characteristically brisk wind, in which climate both wild flowers and staple agricultural crops such as wheat display their most prodiguous growth, and, additionally, native songbirds such as the robin and great tit can be heard most audibly, many denizens of all parts of the British Isles, for whom Canterbury remains the most popular destination, on account of its relation to the martyr, St Thomas Becket, go on pilgrimages.

people

thwomp (thomp), Thursday, 26 November 2015 14:50 (three years ago) Permalink

not sure what that stray 'people' is doing

thwomp (thomp), Thursday, 26 November 2015 14:50 (three years ago) Permalink

A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct. This every sister of the Bene Gesserit, a coven of witches, knows. To begin your study of the life of Muad'Dib, then take care that you first place him in his time: born in the 57th year of the Padishah Emperor, Shaddam IV. And take the most special care that you locate Muad'Dib in his place: the planet Arrakis. Do not be deceived by the fact that he was born on Caladan and lived his first fifteen years there. Arrakis, the planet known as Dune, is forever his place.

LEGIT (Lamp), Thursday, 26 November 2015 14:55 (three years ago) Permalink

can i say how much 'downtick' pleases me btw?

LEGIT (Lamp), Thursday, 26 November 2015 14:55 (three years ago) Permalink

ty

thwomp (thomp), Thursday, 26 November 2015 15:01 (three years ago) Permalink

It was Good Friday in the year 1300, and 35 year old Dante Alighieri, a Florentine poet and political functionary- who would in the future spend his final years in political exile from his native city following a bitter power struggle within the ruling Guelph faction - found himself lost in a dark wood.

Agents, show the general out. (Bananaman Begins), Thursday, 26 November 2015 20:20 (three years ago) Permalink

lol Eliot reciprocation be damned

when's international me day? (Noodle Vague), Friday, 27 November 2015 00:31 (three years ago) Permalink

rewind, Chaucer, little drunk here

when's international me day? (Noodle Vague), Friday, 27 November 2015 00:33 (three years ago) Permalink

Lamp's Dune feels like a translation worth having too

when's international me day? (Noodle Vague), Friday, 27 November 2015 00:34 (three years ago) Permalink

Aujourd’hui le 20 juillet 1942, sous un beau soleil dans la ville d’Algers, maintenant la capitale de l’Algérie mais à l’époque une possession coloniale française, Maman est morte.

Zelda Zonk, Friday, 27 November 2015 01:31 (three years ago) Permalink

^^

All The Squares Go Pwn (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 27 November 2015 01:52 (three years ago) Permalink

On the day before this one, dark-haired West London-based photographer Richard Vaughan crashed his car, a Lincoln Continental, killing him instantly.

めんどくさかった (Matt #2), Friday, 27 November 2015 01:53 (three years ago) Permalink

dear christ

avant-garde, sissy bounce, zombie rave, aquacrunk, warlock, oceangrunge, (imago), Friday, 27 November 2015 01:54 (three years ago) Permalink

for a long time i went to bed at 7:33 pm

denies the existence of dark matter (difficult listening hour), Friday, 27 November 2015 07:57 (three years ago) Permalink

On a foggy evening in mid-October 43 year-old college lecturer Geoff You settled into his Ikea armchair and began to read John Lanchester's new novel If on a foggy evening in mid-October a commercial traveler.

won't somebody think of the hegemons? (Noodle Vague), Friday, 27 November 2015 10:26 (three years ago) Permalink

A++

Matt DC, Friday, 27 November 2015 10:30 (three years ago) Permalink

Full marks for the last three.

All The Squares Go Pwn (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 27 November 2015 10:40 (three years ago) Permalink

for a long time i went to bed at 7:33 pm

XD

Agents, show the general out. (Bananaman Begins), Friday, 27 November 2015 12:51 (three years ago) Permalink

It was 11:03am on a soggy October day, and Phillip Marlowe, a private detective, was ringing a doorbell. He was wearing a blue Marks & Spencer's suit, a dark-blue shirt from Burtons, a matching tie-and-hankie from Tie Rack, black brogues from Dolcis, and black wool socks with dark blue clocks on them, given to him by his Aunt Petunia the previous Christmas. He was cleanly shaven and a bit drunk, but hiding it well. It was important he looked his best today, because the man he was calling on was very rich.

Matt DC, Friday, 27 November 2015 13:01 (three years ago) Permalink

I've never heard of this person but you guys' lampoons of him are hilarious.

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Friday, 27 November 2015 13:12 (three years ago) Permalink

Tracer have you not read the other Lanchester thread? Truly a masterpiece.

I have half a mind to do every Marlowe book, sucking all the wit out of Chandler might be purest essence of Lanchesterism.

Matt DC, Friday, 27 November 2015 13:18 (three years ago) Permalink

It was a dark but clear night, with a full moon, and up and coming rapper Warren G was driving around in Los Angeles, looking for girls to pick up.

Agents, show the general out. (Bananaman Begins), Friday, 27 November 2015 15:22 (three years ago) Permalink

Trying my hand at this despite having never read a word:

Conventional wisdom holds that men with an inheritance, or, failing that, a salary in excess of £100,000 (+8% London weighting), find the prospect of an interminable single life about as appealing as an old kipper in a shoe.

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Friday, 27 November 2015 15:35 (three years ago) Permalink

You've nailed the banality but there's still too much verve to your prose there.

Matt DC, Friday, 27 November 2015 15:39 (three years ago) Permalink

More leaden please

めんどくさかった (Matt #2), Friday, 27 November 2015 15:48 (three years ago) Permalink

Ok but the banality and bathos were there I feel

Will work on this

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Friday, 27 November 2015 16:14 (three years ago) Permalink

Last night, as I lay asleep in my bed in my bedroom, I had a dream which involved me returning to Manderley, an estate at which I had earlier in my life spent some time.

calumerio, Friday, 27 November 2015 16:46 (three years ago) Permalink

Sorry, I mean

Last night at 3.47am, as I lay asleep in my bed in my bedroom, I had a dream which involved me returning to Manderley, an estate at which I had earlier in my life spent some time.

calumerio, Friday, 27 November 2015 16:47 (three years ago) Permalink

Another good one. I am not actually familiar with this guy's work either, I guess I should look around

All The Squares Go Pwn (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 27 November 2015 16:49 (three years ago) Permalink

At 7.00pm in the morning in a Martello tower in the Sandycove area of Dublin medical student Malachi "Buck" Mulligan, a heavyset and dignified man, called downstairs to wake his friend Stephen Dedalus and began to shave.

Karl Rove Knausgård (jim in glasgow), Friday, 27 November 2015 17:24 (three years ago) Permalink

am gawd

Karl Rove Knausgård (jim in glasgow), Friday, 27 November 2015 17:24 (three years ago) Permalink

It was a bleak December 13th, at exactly 12:00 midnight, when, deep in grief and reading a well-thumbed vintage volume (part of a five-book set), I was interrupted by a mysterious rapping at my chamber door.

jmm, Saturday, 28 November 2015 22:25 (three years ago) Permalink

Some time ago, a cow walked along a road, and encountered a young boy called Baby Tuckoo.

Agents, show the general out. (Bananaman Begins), Monday, 7 December 2015 12:59 (three years ago) Permalink

At 11.30pm on a damp Friday night, Geoff Godot was running late, three days late to be precise.

Matt DC, Monday, 7 December 2015 14:01 (three years ago) Permalink

It was just after dinner-time on Wednesday evening, and Mr Edward Rochester was sitting with Jane, the governess who had answered an ad he put in the Thornfield Argus, and wondering how on earth to tell her about the mad woman in his attic.

Matt DC, Monday, 7 December 2015 14:09 (three years ago) Permalink

It was the middle of the nineteenth century, and a veteran sailor called Ishmael was about to tell a story about a disastrous whaling voyage he'd been on.

Agents, show the general out. (Bananaman Begins), Monday, 7 December 2015 14:13 (three years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

"I once had a plan to write a radio play imagining Nabokov getting stuck in a lift at the Palace with the heavy rock band Deep Purple."

https://www.lrb.co.uk/v40/n09/john-lanchester/nabokovs-dreams

Chuck_Tatum, Saturday, 12 May 2018 13:42 (seven months ago) Permalink


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