The 31st of October is many things. It is:
Martyrs’ Day (in Burkina Faso),
Reformation Day (in Germany and Slovenia),
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Jayani (in India),
Public Holiday (in Israel),
Boun Ok Phansa (in Laos),
Bank Holiday (in New Caledonia),
Samhain (an ancient Gaelic word pronounced “sow-win”),
All Hallows Eve (an older term for the day), and
On November 1st it will be All Saints’ Day (in many, many countries).
For those of you observing a solemn day(s) of remembrance, I see you and hope that your day is peaceful with reason to hope for the future. Best wishes to you and yours.
Here in the U.S. we greet the onset of the darker winter months on October 31st, a day we now call Halloween. We celebrate the weird, the spooky, the mundane, the ghosts, and ghouls and goblins with tricks and treats. I’m twisting my usual blog schedule a bit to bring you first lines for stories that offer a few tricks and treats.
First Lines Posts
“First Lines” is a series of blog articles posted on around the first of the month. The first line of a story, we’re told, must hook the reader. Implied is that the reader will not buy the book if the first line isn’t great. These entries are from Amazon, my personal library, lists posted on line, or other online booksellers. Do these first lines hook you? Do you want to read more?
Today I’m sharing first lines from science fiction or fantasy books that deal with events that defy rational explanation, the afterlife, the underworld or the heavens.
I hope you find a first line that hooks you enough you add the book to your to-be-read pile and read it this week.
Books ran when they grew restless, when they grew unruly, or when they grew real. Regardless of the reason, when books ran, it was a librarian’s duty to catch them.”The Library of the Unwritten, A.J. Hackwith
Rattling rhythmically at each floor, the old-fashioned elevator moved upward past glass doors decorated with etchings of flowers. It stopped. Four men emerged and walked down the corridor toward a pair of leather-covered doors.”The Investigation, Stanislaw Lem
When I try to open my eyes, I am blinded by fluorescent light. I feel a gust of cold air directly above my head, and a chill runs down my spine.”Layoverland, Gabby Nooner
At three-thirty a.m. on the night of June 5, 1992, the top telepath in the Sol System fell off the map in the offices of Runciter Associates in New York City. That started the videophones ringing.”Ubik, Philip K. Dick
His wife had held him in her arms as if she could keep death away from him.
He had cried out, ‘My God, I am a dead man!’”To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip José Farmer
Let’s get one thing straight from the get-go: if ever anybody deserved to fester in Los Angeles—that stinking pit masquerading as a city—it was me. Of the myriad sins disfiguring the souls of the damned, mine was one of the worst.”Hell’s Detective, Michael Logan
Holding out both of his leather-palmed hands for balance, the gentleman corpse known as Jacob Campbell thrust a boot into Southheap. Infinitesimal bits of burnt plastic, chipped wood, and styrofoam plinked down the slope. When no landslide followed, he staggered forward with all the grace of a marionette operated by a novice.”Dead Boys, Gabriel Squailia
FIRST SNOW: Can you confirm the ship’s identification?
SCOUT 1: Yes. It’s TIGER, Commander. It’s from HOUSE OF WISDOM. Lieutenant Naidoo is on tether and approaching the airlock now.
FIRST SNOW: What do you see?
SCOUT 2: There’s no visible damage. Hull appears intact. Control panel is powered and responsive. Systems says the airlock is functional and the interior is pressurized, but….”Salvation Day, Kali Wallace
No one cared about Lial Gordon, but you might never have guessed if you had seen his funeral. A herd of socialites gathered around his grave.”Graveyard Shift, Angela Roquet
What room is Detective Philo in?” asked Peter Hobson, a tall man of forty-two, with hair an equal mixture of black and gray.
The squat nurse behind the desk had been absorbed in whatever she’d been reading. She looked up. “Pardon?”The Terminal Experiment, Robert J. Sawyer
You wake up with the answer to the question that everyone asks. The answer is Yes, and the answer is Just Like Here But Worse. That’s all the insight you’ll ever get. So you might as well go back to sleep.”The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, Shehan Karunatilaka
This one might be trouble.”
She heard one of them say this, only ten or so metres away in the darkness. Even over her fear, the sheer naked terror of being haunted, she felt a shiver of excitement, of something like triumph when she realized they were talking about her.”Surface Detail, Iain M. Banks
When the blind man arrived in the city, he claimed that he had traveled across a desert of living sand. First he had died, he said, and then—snap—desert!”The Brief History of the Dead, Kevin Brookmeier
Suicides were Charlie Dawson’s least favorite part of the job for two reasons. The first was the inherent tragedy of the whole thing. Death was never pleasant, but there was a pretty dramatic gulf between an eighty-year-old-man passing peacefully in his sleep and a young woman demonstrating her outlook on life via an exit wound blown out of her skull. The second was that suicide assignments were never easy. There were few guarantees in the Ferryman world, but that was certainly one of them.”The Ferryman Institute,Colin Gigl
There are no affiliate links in this post. I don’t make a cent off of the books listed on this page. Usually I find these books at random. They are here for your enjoyment. And to entice you to buy more books.
Did you enjoy this list?
Check out previous First Lines posts.
You have the power to improve the life of any creative you come across online. Really. Even if you can’t afford to buy from them, you can help. You help by interacting with their posts with a friendly comment, or hitting the like or share button, or following the creator, or subscribing to her newsletter (hint-hint). Doing this helps the system (social media platforms, sales platforms, blog posts, etc.) get seen by more people, which helps give creators a better reach. When we get a better reach, we get to keep creating the things you enjoy. So help the authors of these books (and if you have a second, help me, too).
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Oh! And buy if you can.