In Competition No. 3195, you were invited to submit an extract from the racier, mass-market version of a well-known literary novel. Speaking at Bath Literature festival in 2015, the author Fay Weldon suggested that writers should write two versions of their books, a high-minded one for print, and a more accessible page-turner for e-readers: ‘Writers have to write now for a world where readers are busy, on the move and have little time for contemplation and reflection…’
Those whose hectic lives and shot attention spans preclude hours devoted to ploughing through the meaty originals can enjoy instead your alternative versions. Brian Murdoch lightens the considerable load of Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain: ‘Hans Castorp looked out at the snow and wondered if he should go for another long philosophical walk. “Sod it,” he thought, “there’s only two things I want, and one is a stiff drink.”’
Honourable mentions also go to Basil Ransome-Davies, David Shields and J.C.H. Mounsey. The winners take £30 each.
After the sempstresses had measured the circumference of my thumb and withdrawn to calculate therefrom the other dimensions of my person, one of their number returned alone and expressed a desire to make a more intimate calibration of my parts. As I disrobed and lowered myself to the floor to accommodate her wishes, I perceived she was making haste to remove her garments and apply an ointment to her unclad body. She was as comely, in miniature, as any painting or sculpture of the female form in Europe’s great museums. I lifted her carefully on to my bare thigh and noted as her measuring hands aroused me that her stature was nearly equal to that of the organ she addressed. Wordlessly, she sprang to embrace me with both arms and legs and commenced a nimble twisting and sliding action.