More From the Bureau of published bad writing

Thog’s Masterclass

Please add your own in the comments below.

Neat Tricks

  • ‘Alex’s snub-nosed face sagged open. His blue eyes revolved incredulously.’ (Paul Anderson & Gordon R. Dickson, ‘Heroes are Made’ aka ‘The Sheriff of Canyon Gulch’, May 1951 Other Worlds Science Stories)
  • ‘Huddled on the armchair where he’d sat to read until late last night, Helenka was embracing her retracted knees.’
  • ‘Her anguish could be perceived only by the way her lips tightened in a peristaltic pucker.’ (both Ben Pastor, Lumen, 1999)


Eyeballs in the Sky

  • ‘For a few seconds, behind Torstad’s eyes, something rattled its chains.’ (Poul Anderson, There Will Be Time, 1973)
  • ‘Jim stared with all his eyes.’ (Isabel Ostrander, Anything Once, 1920)


Digital Commerce Dept

  • ‘Daniel sat back, steepling his long fingers across his waistcoat. He bought them from a little shop in Brixton Market.’ (Paul McAuley, Something Coming Through, 2015)


Dept of But Can They Hear You Scream?

  • ‘No one escapes from the imperial navy any more than they do from the mines of Evron. But at least in space I can breathe …’ (E.E. Smith and Gordon Eklund, Lord Tedric, 1978)

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2 Responses to More From the Bureau of published bad writing

  1. ‘He shot his eyebrows in the direction of the phone.’ (Dennis Lehane, Live by Night 2012)

  2. Sharon Schlesinger says:

    ‘As he backed out of the driveway in his pickup truck and headed down the two-lane county road, he did not hear the telephone ringing in his house.’ (James Lee Burke, Rain Gods, 2009)

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