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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Favorite Published First Lines

   
Author Topic: Favorite Published First Lines
Lloyd Tackitt
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"When Augustus came out on the porch the blue pigs were eating a rattlesnake -- - not a very big one." Larry McMurtry, Lonsome Dove

What is your favorite?

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axeminister
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"He drank alone."
John Steakley - Armor

You may not know it upon first read, but by the end of the book, you realize just how apt those three words are.

Axe

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Robert Nowall
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"Put down that wrench!"
Heinlein---"Blowups Happen."

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Merlion-Emrys
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I don't really pick favorites and I'm not really on the first lines bandwagon, but I do have a certain fondness for "The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed."
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shimiqua
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"Marley was dead, to begin with."
Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

"It was a pleasure to burn."
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

"Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much."
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit."
The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien


And.... my favorite opening line of all time...

"All children, except one, grow up."
Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie

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JenniferHicks
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"There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife."
Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book

"The man in black fled acoss the desert, and the gunslinger followed."
Stephen King, The Gunslinger

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Robert Nowall
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"Scarlet O'Hara was not beautiful."
---Mitchell, Gone With the Wind.

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Pyre Dynasty
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"There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it." ---The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, C.S. Lewis.
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annepin
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"Theo, by occupation, was a devil."

Westmark, by Lloyd Alexander

Not necessarily my all time favorite, but definitely a standout.

(edited to fix italics)

[ January 12, 2012, 06:47 PM: Message edited by: annepin ]

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andersonmcdonald
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"When I was eleven years old my father threw me into the river." - Anderson McDonald, Smoke From An Ancient Fire.

LOL. Couldn't resist.

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andersonmcdonald
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Not my favorite
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DavidS
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"Listen, Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time."
Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut

Along with Fahrenheit 451 and The Hobbit as Shimiqua mentioned.

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Merlion-Emrys
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I third the Hobbit as well.
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redux
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"It was a dark and stormy night..."

Oh wait, favorite line... [Smile]

"He was one hundred and seventy days dying and not yet dead."
Tiger! Tiger! (aka The Stars My Destination) by Alfred Bester

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Merlion-Emrys
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Why are you reading books by that crazy little telepath?
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redux
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Who me?


Edited:
... "le sigh"... took me a while to figure out that you were perhaps referring to "The Demolished Man," yes?

[ January 12, 2012, 10:58 PM: Message edited by: redux ]

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Crystal Stevens
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"Long ago... in a galaxy far far away..."

Star Wars by George Lucas


Maybe not my favorite but definitely the most memorable. And yes, that's how the book started.

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TaleSpinner
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The Hobbit, again.

And its grown-up brother:

"When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton." LOTR, Tolkien

"On Friday, August 3rd, 1923, the morning after President Harding's death, reporters followed the widow, the Vice President, and Charles Carter, the magician."

Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold.

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axeminister
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Good ones, TaleSpinner. I've no problem with lengthy first sentences.
They have a particularly great rhythm to them too. Melodic, almost.

Axe

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Don't have the book handy, but the first line of Mark Sumner's DEVIL'S TOWER goes something like

"The Indian shaman rode into town on a dead horse."

And it's one of my favorite first lines.

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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However, I'm wondering if this topic doesn't belong in the Discussing Published Hooks and Books area.
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InarticulateBabbler
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On an exceptionally hot evening in July a young man came out of the garret in which he lodged in S. Place and walked slowly, as though in hesitation, towards K. Bridge.

--Crime and Punishment
Fyodor Dostoevsky

It had begun with a morbid fascination to know the day of her death.

--Lion of Macedon
David Gemmell

Death came for him from the shadows, as it had so many times before.

--The Musashi Flex
Steve Perry

Ina the dark Arda Forest on the boarder between Greece and Bulgaria there is a dead gray patch of land roughly one mile square where no one goes and nothing lives.

--The Howling
Gary Brandner

The trawler plunged into the angry swells of the dark, furious sea like an awkward animal trying desperately to break out of an impenetrable swamp.

--The Bourne Identity
Robert Ludlum

In the week before their departure to Arrakis, when all the final scurrying about had reached a nearly unbearable frenzy, an old crone came to visit the mother of the boy, Paul.

--Dune
Frank Herbert

I had this story from one who no business to tell it to me, or any other.

--Tarzan of the Apes
Edgar Rice Burroughs

I see in Lunaya Pravda that Luna City Council has passed on first reading a bill to examine, license, inspect--and tax--public food vendors operating inside municipal pressure.

--The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
Robert A. Heinlein

On a winter's day in 1413, just before Christmas, Nicholas Hook decided to commit murder.

--Azincourt
Bernard Cornwell

Damp winter clung to northern France, but a fire warmed Jules Verne's writing study with sultry smoke, orange light and dreams.

--Captain Nemo
Kevin J. Anderson

We are at rest five miles behind the front.

--All Quiet on the Western Front
Erich Maria Remarque

'Twas said better to light candle than to curse the dark, but in of New York in the summer of 1702 one might do both, for the candles were small and the dark was large.

--The Queen of Bedlam
Robert R. McCammon

Torak woke with a jolt from a sleep he'd never meant to have.

--Wolf Brother
Michelle Paver

"We should start back," Gared urged as the woods began to grow dark around them. "The Wildlings are dead."
--A Game of Thrones
George R. R. Martin

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billawaboy
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Surprised no one put in

"The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel" - Neuromancer by William Gibson.

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Smaug
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"Day had broken cold and gray, exceedingly cold and gray, when the man turned aside from the main Yukon trail and climbed the high earth-bank, where a dim and little-travelled trail led eastward through the fat spruce timberland."

Jack London - To Build a Fire


"Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. - Gabriel García Márquez One Hundred Years of Solitude

"Once an angry man dragged his father along the ground through his own orchard. "Stop!" cried the groaning old man at last, "Stop! I did not drag my father beyond this tree." - Gertrude Stein, The Making of Americans

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Christian T. Golden
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyre Dynasty:
"There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it." ---The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, C.S. Lewis.

^^^Also one of my favorites.
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redux
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quote:
Originally posted by billawaboy:
Surprised no one put in

"The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel" - Neuromancer by William Gibson.

I've often wondered if anyone post cable/digital/HDTV would know what this looks like.

[ January 14, 2012, 08:59 PM: Message edited by: redux ]

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LDWriter2
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I have to try to remember some and which books they go to.

There's a short story whose first line I love--wish I could use it- but have to find it to find the story's name and writer.

And I like Drawn Treader quote also even though it's been so long I had forgotten it.

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Smaug
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“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a monstrous vermin.” Francis Kafka - Metamorphosis

“It was the day my grandmother exploded.” - Iain Banks - The Crow Road

"My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973."
-- Alice Sebold - The Lovely Bones

"It is given to few people in this world to disappear twice but, as he had succeeded once, the man known as James T. Kettleman was about to make his second attempt." Louis L'Amour - Flint

"I come from a family with a lot of dead people." Deborah Wiles - Each Little Bird That Sings

“In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing." Norman McLean - A River Runs Through It

"Nick Naylor had been called many things since becoming the chief spokesman for the Academy of Tobacco Studies, but until now no one had actually compared him to Satan." - Thank You for Smoking: A Novel, Christopher Buckley

If you were going to give a gold medal to the least delightful person on Earth, you would have to give that medal to a person named Carmelita Spats, and if you didn’t give it to her, Carmelita Spats was the sort of person who would snatch it from your hands anyway. - The Austere Academy Lemony Snicket

"In the summer of his twelfth year - the summer the stars began to fall from the sky - the boy Isaac discovered that he could tell East from West with his eyes closed." - Axis Robert Charles Wilson

"'I've watched through his eyes, I've listened through his ears, and I tell you he's the one.'" - Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

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Smaug
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And my most favorite opening line of all time:

"In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth." Moses - Genesis 1:1

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InarticulateBabbler
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quote:
Originally posted by Smaug:
And my most favorite opening line of all time:

"In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth." Moses - Genesis 1:1

Well, I guess "published" doesn't necessarily mean "fiction," eh?
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Smaug
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quote:
Originally posted by InarticulateBabbler:
quote:
Originally posted by Smaug:
And my most favorite opening line of all time:

"In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth." Moses - Genesis 1:1

Well, I guess "published" doesn't necessarily mean "fiction," eh?
It never specified.
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Merlion-Emrys
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"The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents."


The Call of Cthulhu, H.P. Lovecraft.


"X — This day when it had light mother called me retch."


Born of Man and Woman, Richard Matheson.

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Merlion-Emrys
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Oh and redux, I was refering to the Alfred Bester from Babylon 5, who is named after the writer and played by Walter Koening (I think I spelled that right.)
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redux
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quote:
Originally posted by Merlion-Emrys:
Oh and redux, I was refering to the Alfred Bester from Babylon 5, who is named after the writer and played by Walter Koening (I think I spelled that right.)

Ah! I never really watched Babylon 5 so I didn't get the reference. I love how they named a telepath after Bester - witty [Smile]
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Merlion-Emrys
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Oh you must. I'm not big on favorites, but B5 is one of my favorite television series ever, and possibly my single favorite sci-fi series. There are a lot of references to classic sci fi and fantasy, both outright like that, and in terms of style and tone. The only unfortunate thing is the first season, while I enjoy it, doesn't have quite the same level of cohesive awesomeness that comes later, so some people don't get caught up at first, but I recommend it highly.
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Robert Nowall
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Didn't know the character Koenig played on Babylon 5 was named Alfred bester...thought he was talking about the guy who wrote The Demolished Man and The Stars My Destination...
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InarticulateBabbler
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Koenig played Alfred Bester on Babylon 5 AND the spinoff Crusade.
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gkergh
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"Vaughan died yesterday in his last car-crash."
JG Ballard, Crash

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ForlornShadow
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"Mark I hope you're reading this...heck, I hope anybody's reading this."

DJ MacHale
Pendragon: Merchant of Death

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rcmann
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"Hello out there. If you exist, hello."

Poul Anderson. Operation Chaos.

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