Back in 2006, Chronogram, the Hudson Valley arts and culture magazine, ran a contest called “Joined at the Hip.

In their words:

The concept was simple:

Help eliminate bookshelf clutter by double-booking great (or merely popular) works of literature,
creating what contestant Laura Covello dubbed “portmantomes.”

We asked for a title and one-line concept pitch, e.g.,

Cat on a Hot Tin Drum
A desperate woman hides her stunted husband’s liquor
until he agrees to grow up and have sex.

Although I received honorary mention for one of my submissions — I also received a green Chronogram t-shirt, which I wore at the first TNB-LE event in New York — I was happier with one they didn’t choose:


The Pelican Brief History of Time
A British physicist threatens to expose the secrets of the universe…
unless a Memphis district attorney can stop him.


Anyway, I remembered this contest this morning, probably because of the Shakespalin fuss over at Twitter, and thought it might be fun to share.

So if you have any of your own, post ’em in the comments box.  (This means you, Smithson; this sort of thing was practically designed for you).


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GREG OLEAR is the Los Angeles Times bestselling author of the novels Totally Killer and Fathermucker and founding editor of The Weeklings.

14 responses to “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love in the Time of Cholera”

  1. Gloria says:

    Oooh! I’ve got one!

    Banned for Life of Pi

    An Indian teenager is castaway on a life raft with a a would-be filmmaker, a homeless ex-punk rocker, and a Bengal Tiger.

  2. Nina Shengold says:

    Greg, let me & Mikhail Horowitz know if you get sent any great ones. That was my favorite Chronogram contest!

  3. Simon Smithson says:

    Totally Killer Inside Me

    Sociopath joins boutique assassination agency. Finds this gives him an outlet, has a great time!

  4. Mikhail Horowitz says:

    Nina and I came up with more than two dozen “Joined at the Hips” for the original contest, only three or four of which were used, as teasers in the issues prior to publication. Here are three of my (unpublished) faves:

    The Wizard of Ozymandias
    “Round the decay of that colossal Emerald City, boundless and bare, the road of yellow bricks stretched far away.”

    Prometheus Bound for Glory
    An enchained, tormented Titan is momentarily diverted by an itinerant folksinger.

    King Solomon’s Mein Kampf
    An ancient king of Judah is revealed to be the great-granddaddy of self-hating Jews.

  5. Joe Daly says:

    I need to start paying attention more to what’s going on in the “News & Events” section. I keep missing good stuff like this.

    Oh, the Places You’ll Go to Hell!
    “Dr. Seuss’ beloved coming-of-age letter from a caring father, sending his son to Hell for the very first time.”

    Hammer of the Gods, Are you There? It’s Me, Margaret.
    “A young small town girl knocks on the hotel door of the heaviest band of all time, looking for hope, redemption, and satisfaction in this uplifting and heartwarming tale of chance encounters and mud sharks.”

    Cape Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
    “A vengeful convict exacts a terrible price on the family that cuts him off in the buffet line at the MGM Grand in this drug-soaked thriller.”

  6. Simon Smithson says:

    America by Heart of Darkness.

    Sarah Palin takes an upriver trip to an Alaskan rubber plantation, where a madman who yearns for ivory makes his home. ‘Show me your teeth’, he whispers, as she makes her smiling way up the path to his house.

  7. […] la Separated at Birth, creating what contestant Laura Covello dubbed “portmantomes.” The Nervous Breakdown had a recent mention titled: What We Talk About When We Talk About Love in the Time of […]

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