23 Responses

  1. theoclarke
    theoclarke April 15, 2009 at 3:14 pm |

    I took a shamefully long time to recognise Steve’s book! Sigh…

    Herewith my contributions (more straps than blurbs):

    A Russian student is very very sorry.

    With only a tattooed islander for a friend, Ishmael goes to sea.

    Santiago is all at sea. Can he save his catch from the sharks?

    Extreme London. Extreme Paris.

    Reply
    1. undying-admin
      undying-admin April 15, 2009 at 3:25 pm |

      Mm, you seem to be playing a slightly different game!

      Reply
  2. celestialweasel
    celestialweasel April 15, 2009 at 3:23 pm |

    Dave Langford’s joke about the title of Valentine Pontifex being a spoiler comes to mind.

    Reply
    1. undying-admin
      undying-admin April 15, 2009 at 3:28 pm |

      Heh, yes indeed. “Readers will remain in an agony of suspense unless they’ve cheated by reading the book’s title”. Very fine.

      Reply
  3. zengineer
    zengineer April 15, 2009 at 3:23 pm |

    A prominent jeweller makes a mistake in his masterwork. By a series of unlikely mischances the piece of jewellery ends up in the hands of our hero who, with a group of friends, embarks on a picaresque journey to sort out the problem.

    Reply
    1. undying-admin
      undying-admin April 15, 2009 at 3:28 pm |

      That sounds like more fun than the real thing!

      Reply
    2. chrisvenus
      chrisvenus April 15, 2009 at 3:45 pm |

      Favourite uncle moves away leaving behind a unique item of jewellery for his nephew which sparks an exciting adventure.

      Or is that too spoilerish?

      Reply
      1. undying-admin
        undying-admin April 15, 2009 at 3:54 pm |

        No, that’s fine I think. Good one!

        Reply
        1. chrisvenus
          chrisvenus April 15, 2009 at 4:03 pm |

          “After a young boy receives a nasty scare in a graveyard he goes to help out an eccentric elderly woman.”

          I’m trying to work out how easily recognisable that is while desperately hoping that my memory is good since I’ve not read it for about 15 years. 🙂

          Reply
          1. undying-admin
            undying-admin April 15, 2009 at 4:11 pm |

            That’s pretty good I think — although I haven’t read it for even longer, that certainly works for my mind’s version 😉


          2. chrisvenus
            chrisvenus April 15, 2009 at 4:12 pm |

            It was the graveyard bit that I wasn’t 100% convinced about. It might have happened elsewhere. 🙂


          3. chrisvenus
            chrisvenus April 15, 2009 at 4:12 pm |

            “A group of children find themselves alone on a tropical island with no adult supervision. They gather together to live as a group and live as best they can.”

            I should stop now. I’m out of books that I know that people might care enough about to recognise. 🙂


          4. undying-admin
            undying-admin April 16, 2009 at 7:49 am |

            That one’s great!


      2. wimble
        wimble April 15, 2009 at 4:00 pm |

        World weary traveller gets his bloodline’s inheritance forced upon him by a group of midgets 😉

        Reply
    3. secondhand_rick
      secondhand_rick April 15, 2009 at 4:58 pm |

      Indolent dilettante seeks to return unsolicited gift. World saved.

      Reply
      1. zengineer
        zengineer April 15, 2009 at 5:07 pm |

        Very good. A sub genre of this whole meme is a book summarised as a Haiku.

        Reply
        1. undying-admin
          undying-admin April 15, 2009 at 5:12 pm |

          Mm, that seems to be a bit more popular than spoilerless blurbs…

          Reply
  4. onebyone
    onebyone April 16, 2009 at 12:48 am |

    The animals of Manor Farm revolt, expel the farmer, and resolve that they alone will benefit from the fruits of their labours. But several buckets of milk quietly go missing–and before long the perpetrator will rock their new society to its foundations.

    An entrepreneurial farmer spies a pretty young milkmaid. But will he find the courage to act on his attraction before she leaves her aunt’s farm, and his life, for good?

    Rosaline has it all. The son of one of the richest men in town is hopelessly in love with her. Driven to desperation by her calculated coolness, he will risk life and limb to meet her at a masked ball thrown by his father’s greatest rival. Surely once shown the slightest female affection, he’ll propose that very night!

    Reply
    1. onebyone
      onebyone April 16, 2009 at 1:20 am |

      Btw, the first of those is supposed to be in the “sincere” category, although still significantly undersold. The second is “puzzle” in the dull general-knowledge sense that I’d be surprised if anyone who hasn’t read it gets it, and I’ve probably oversold the book to anyone who likes the rom-com premise of the blurb. The third is a new category, namely a perverse misinterpretation of the initial setup based on ignoring the nature and importance of the “twist”.

      Reply
      1. undying-admin
        undying-admin April 16, 2009 at 8:07 am |

        I haven’t read #2, but I would guess it’s something by Thomas Hardy — at least, it sounds like what I associate with him. Overselling on the rom-com is a valid tactic in today’s market, I feel.

        I like #3 — that’s a good idea. Bored blurbwriter, who couldn’t be bothered to read more than the first few pages, but could tell how it was going to turn out: authors are so predictable.

        Reply
        1. onebyone
          onebyone April 16, 2009 at 10:55 am |

          I would guess it’s something by Thomas Hardy

          Yep.

          Reply
  5. wimble
    wimble April 17, 2009 at 12:34 pm |

    You might like http://www.postmodernbarney.com/2009/04/uncomfortable-plot-summaries/ which does the same sort of thing with films.

    eg.
    ALIEN: Ship fails to deliver cargo, crew don’t get bonus.
    ALIENS: An unplanned pregnancy leads to complications.

    Reply
  6. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 26, 2009 at 8:20 pm |

    That clashes with Stabcon, which is going to reduce your target audience a bit…

    Reply

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