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Author Topic: Your Favourite Opening Line(s)  (Read 23673 times)

Offline simonster

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Re: Your Favourite Opening Line(s)
« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2012, 08:52:31 PM »
It's an unwritten law for this discussion - somebody HAS to mention Gibson' s Neuromancer or else the universe will implode from the injustice:

"The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel."

And of course Neil Gaiman's modernization of that line in Neverwhere (not the opening line though):

  "The sky was the perfect untroubled blue of a television screen, tuned to a dead channel."

I've always been haunted by the first line of Samuel Delany's Dhalgren,

  "to wound the autumnal city."

although it isn't a complete line, and arguably it isn't first.

Offline Louise

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Re: Your Favourite Opening Line(s)
« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2012, 09:30:18 AM »
Retribution Falls - Chris Wooding

The smuggler held the bullet between thumb and forefinger, studying it in the weak light of the store room. He smiled sourly.

‘Just imagine,’ he said. ‘Imagine what this feels like, going through your head.’

Offline Gothos

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Re: Your Favourite Opening Line(s)
« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2012, 10:31:28 AM »
Some awesome stuff here!  ;D

Another of my favourites is from one of my absolute favourite books, no question:

"The sunrise was the colour of bad blood."

                                          Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie

It just evokes the whole feel of the book in one short sentence. And it's just so Abercrombian. (Yes I have just created a new word, and yes it is awesome)


I haven't read Abercrombie as of yet although its high up on my TBR list and yet as soon as I read this opening line i could tell it was Abercrombie and I find myself wanting to read more already.
I saw them on the shores
the deepening pits of their gaze
vowed immortal war
against the sighing calm
of Jaghut seas . . .

Gothos’ Folly
Gothos (b.?)

Offline Carfax

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Re: Your Favourite Opening Line(s)
« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2012, 12:51:35 PM »
"Demandred stepped out onto the black slopes of Shayol Ghul, and the gateway, a hole in reality's fabric,
winked out of existence." - Lord of Chaos



Offline Nyki Blatchley

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Re: Your Favourite Opening Line(s)
« Reply #19 on: July 28, 2012, 05:49:01 PM »
There's loads I might quote, but one of my favourite opening lines in spec fic is from Mary Gentle's Ash: A Secret History: "It was her scars that made her beautiful."

A couple of non-spec favourites - One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez - "Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice."

Or The Crow Road by Iain Banks - "It was the day my grandmother exploded."

Then again, of course, there's always the opening to Edward Bulwer Lytton's 1830 novel Paul Clifford - "It was a dark and stormy night..." 8)

Offline Dan D Jones

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Re: Your Favourite Opening Line(s)
« Reply #20 on: September 04, 2014, 10:03:08 PM »
Old topic but I just found a new one to add to my list of favorites:

Snow, tenderly caught by eddying breezes, swirled and spun in to and out of bright, lustrous shapes that gleamed against the emerald-blazoned black drape of sky and sparkled there for a moment, hanging, before settling gently to the soft, green-tufted plain with all the sickly sweetness of an over-written sentence.

Steven Brust To Reign In Hell

Offline Richard Bendall

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Re: Your Favourite Opening Line(s)
« Reply #21 on: September 04, 2014, 10:50:34 PM »

'Nothing ever begins.' = Weaveworld (Clive Barker)


This. It's one of the strongest opening lines I've read, in fact, that whole first page grabs and shakes me every time. I don't even dare read it to double check as I'll end up reading the entire book again.
"That which is imagined can never be lost." - Clive Barker

Offline RaggaDruid

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Re: Your Favourite Opening Line(s)
« Reply #22 on: September 04, 2014, 10:56:25 PM »
Just started this one but the opening line grabbed me right away.  The Darkness That Comes Before, R. Scott Bakker: 

"One cannot raise walls against what has been forgotten."

That's my favorite too.. I have to say...
Sorry for the bad english, not my first language...

Offline Perfidious_Albion

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Re: Your Favourite Opening Line(s)
« Reply #23 on: September 04, 2014, 11:01:13 PM »
"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen" - Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. Although, if any genre, it is science fiction, not fantasy, I still think it's probably the best book I've ever read.
'What do they know of cricket who only cricket know?' - CLR James

Offline cupiscent

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Re: Your Favourite Opening Line(s)
« Reply #24 on: September 05, 2014, 01:04:36 AM »
The opening lines of the first story in the compilation of M John Harrison's Viriconium stories (I think the story is "Viriconium Nights", but I'm at work without my copy of said book) is one of the most electrifying story openings/world introductions I've ever read:

"The aristocratic thugs of the High City whistle as they go about their factional games among the derelict observatories and abandoned fortifications at Lowth. Distant or close at hand, these exchanges - short commanding blasts and protracted responses which often end on what you imagine is an interrogative note - form the basis of a complex language, to the echo of which you wake suddenly in the leaden hour before dawn. Go to the window: the street is empty. You may hear running footsteps, or a sigh. In a minute or two the whistles have moved away in the direction of the Tinmarket or the Margarethestrasse. Next day some minor prince is discovered in the gutter with his throat cut, and all you are left with is the impression of secret wars, lethal patient, an intelligent manoeuvring in the dark."

Offline Ryan Mueller

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Re: Your Favourite Opening Line(s)
« Reply #25 on: September 05, 2014, 05:01:52 AM »
This is from Brandon Sanderson's humorous MG fantasy Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians.

"So there I was, tied to an altar made from outdated encyclopedias, about to get sacrificed to the dark powers by a cult of evil librarians."

Also from Sanderson (Elantris this time). Technically, there's a prologue first, but I just loved this line.

"Prince Raoden of Arelon awoke early that morning, completely unaware that he had been damned for all eternity."

And one more from Sanderson. From Steelheart.

"I've seen Steelheart bleed."


I also loved the ash falling line in Mistborn, but someone already took that. I don't know what it is, but I find a lot of Sanderson's opening lines are memorable.

Offline Idlewilder

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Re: Your Favourite Opening Line(s)
« Reply #26 on: September 05, 2014, 08:54:42 AM »
Couple I've read in the last year that aren't SFF but have just such atmospheric openers they're worth mentioning:

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton:

'The twelve men congregated in the smoking room of the Crown Hotel gave the impression of a party accidentally met.'

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

'The snow in the mountains was melting and Bunny had been dead for several weeks before we came to understand the gravity of our situation.'

Although they're not SFF (The Luminaries arguably has an element of the fantastic) I highly, highly recommend both for something different...
Make Another World.

Offline Serenity

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Re: Your Favourite Opening Line(s)
« Reply #27 on: September 05, 2014, 10:47:49 AM »
Just started this one but the opening line grabbed me right away.  The Darkness That Comes Before, R. Scott Bakker: 

"One cannot raise walls against what has been forgotten."

That's my favorite too.. I have to say...

Yeah, I liked that one, too.

Some of mine are:

'I was born in a house with a million rooms, built on a small, airless world on the edge of an empire of light and commerce that the adults called the Golden Hour, for a reason I did not yet grasp.'

- House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds



'No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.'

- The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells



'It was just past midday, not long before the third summons to prayer, that Ammar ibn Khairan passed through the Gate of the Bells and entered the palace of Al-Fontina in Silvenes to kill the last of the khalifs of Al-Rassan.'

- The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay



I think my absolute favourite is a non SFF one, though:

'His children are falling from the sky.'

- Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

"If you are in difficulties with a book, try the element of surprise: attack it at an hour when it isn't expecting it." - H. G. Wells

Offline wagumt

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Re: Your Favourite Opening Line(s)
« Reply #28 on: September 05, 2014, 11:21:16 AM »
"In a distant and second-hand set of dimensions, on an astral plane that was never meant to fly..." - from The Colour of Magic.

This is also one of my favourites.

Offline nschmiddy

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Re: Your Favourite Opening Line(s)
« Reply #29 on: September 06, 2014, 08:40:35 PM »
A lot of my favorites were already mentioned so here's two from pretty recently

Quote
When the Hidden Schools threw Tara Abernathy out, she fell a thousand feet through wisps of cloud and woke to find herself alive, broken and bleeding, beside the Crack in the World.
- Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone

This next one is after the prologue but it's just such a clear picture in my head:

Quote
The sun hung just over the peaks, a silent, furious ember drenching the granite cliffs in a bloody red, when Kaden found the shattered carcass of the goat.
- The Emperor's Blades by Brian Staveley