Do First Lines from Prologues Inspire You to Read?

First Lines is a series of blog articles posted on around the first of the month. Inspired by a friend’s suggestion that I write a post on how to write the first line of your story, I started this series. My idea was to inspire my writing with these examples. I also hoped to inspire other writers and point readers to books they might enjoy.

As writers, we’re often told that the first line of a story must hook the reader (particularly if that reader is an editor.) Implied is that the editor will not buy the book if the first line isn’t great. But the hooky-ness of a first line is in the eyes of the beholder. 

Often writers are told that readers don’t like prologues, that readers don’t read prologues. Yet many stories start with prologues, particularly in Space Operas. Let’s see how these hold up. Enjoy.

Image of a woman aiming a gun in one direction, a man in front of her aims his gun in the opposite direction, behind them are images of a planet , space ships in a bright yellow light, an alien cityscape, and a crashed space ship.


The Goliath Incident

Goliath was a seed ship. Self-aware and incomparably powerful, the leviathan vessel was engineered for the sole purpose of spreading life to the far corners of the Milky Way. It was conceived and built by a species that humanity came to know as the Corporeals; the first sentient beings ever to have evolved in the galaxy. Goliath’s mission was to spread their seed to countless other worlds, so that finally the Corporeals would no longer be alone.

Star Guardian: A Space Opera Adventure (Star Guardians Book), G. J. Ogden

Over of Saabrina shows the side mirror of a gray vehicle and part of it's driver's side window. In the mirror is a blue and white planet. Ahead of the vehicle are blurry multicolored lights that seem to ray out from a centerpoint in front of the vehicle.


Black night burns red. They run before her, a mass of confusion, blind ships crashing into each other, fires pouring from gaping holes as oxygen exist into space, weapons detonating in endless collateral explosions, or, miraculously, a sudden flare of light as they successfully engage star drive or warp drive or infinite stupidity drive or whatever the Ranorache call their ability to travel faster than light.

Saabrina, Seth Cohen

Cover of Pale Boundaries shows a man and woman in gray armored suits looking up into the sky with concern, behind them are ocean waves and a partial view of a flying ship with some kind of ray pointing down at the water.


Algra Asta

2706:10:19 Standard

Yankee Sierra five, adjust heading to one three five and contact Approach Control on final.”

Rodger, Center, turning to heading one three five. Yankee Sierra five out.”

The blades’ pitch altered slightly as Person Reilly turned the heavy, ponderous aircraft to the new course and contacted Approach Control. He wouldn’t land for another quarter-hour if the aircraft stacked ahead of him in the holding pattern were any indication. From this distance they looked like insects swarming carrion.

Pale Boundaries: A sci-fi space opera action adventure series, Scott Cleveland

Cover of Shards of Earth shows a milkyway-like area of space with multiple distant space ships traveling across the page in the foreground the earth is rupturing from the center spewing red magma.


In the seventy-eighth year of the war, an Architect came to Berlenhof.

The lights of human civilization across the galaxy had been going out, one by one, since its start. All those little mining worlds, the far-flung settlements, the home people had made. The Colonies, as they were known: the great hollow Polyaspora of human expansion, exploding out from a vacant centre. Because the Architects had come for Earth first.

Shards of Earth (The Final Architecture Book 1)  Adrian Tchaikovsky 

Cover shows a humanoid mail in a bulky armored space suit with his helmet open and exposing the top of his head, a yellow light shines where his right eye should be, he holds a large weapon pointing up in his right hand. Behind him is an armored vehicle, possibly a tank, behind it are explosions. In the sky are a large space ship and two smaller sleek aircraft chasing it, visible behind them is a setting moon.


July 4th, 1986, 11:01 P.M.

Rural Montana

It was utterly silent throughout the valley. Horace Bennet preferred it that way. His chair rocked gently in time with his breaths. This was the life. Horace set his beer can down to rub his callused palm. Today had been exhausting, but with the promise of a full case of cold ones and an evening of solitude, he’d worked without complaint.

The Other Place (The Glass Book One), Nathan Hystad


There are no affiliate links in this post. I don’t make a cent off of the books listed on this page. Usually I pull these titles at random. They are from Amazon, my personal library, my area public library, or other online booksellers. 

Do You Want to Read More?

Do these first lines hook you? Do you want to read more? They are here for your enjoyment. And to entice you to buy more books.

Please tell me, do you enjoy prologues?

Check out other first lines posts here.


  1. I do enjoy prologues. But surprisingly, these didn’t catch me… and I love Space Opera! I suspect it is one of “those” days when nothing could catch me?

    1. Interesting. If you’re willing to share, I’d be interested in finding out if the prologues you prefer have specific features, such as more action, more character involvement, or more thrill, etc.

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