First Lines from Legendary SF & F True Fans Read

First Line Friday is a series of blog articles posted on the first Friday of every 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 are the First Lines from Legendary SF & F true fans read. Do they hook you? Which one(s) will you read?


The cover of The Blazing World and Other Writings includes a portrait of a 17th century woman holding a glob while sitting behind a table with a skull on it. It appears above one of the first lines ffrom Legendary SF&F.

A noble gentleman that had been married many years, but his wife being barren, did bear him no children; at last she died, and his friends did advise him to marry again, because his brother’s children were dead, and his wife was likely to have no more: so he took to wife a virtuous young Lady, and after one year she conceived with child, and great joy there was of all sides: but in her child-bed she died, leaving only one daughter to her sorrowful husband, who in a short time, oppressed with melancholy, died, and left his young daughter, who was not a year old, to the care and breeding of his brother, and withal left her a great estate, for he was very rich.

The Blazing World Margaret Cavendish (1666)

The cover of this version of the book Frankenstein shows a sepia toned look down a path in a forest.

You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings.

Frankenstein Mary Shelley (1818)

The cover for Isaac Asimov's The Foundation Trilogy shows saucer shaped futuristic or other worldly buildings on tall spindles. A man in robes sits before one of the spindles.

HARI SELDON—… Born in the 11,988th year of the Galactic Era; died 12,069. The dates are more commonly given in the terms of the current Foundational Era as—79 to the year 1 F.E. Born to middle-class parents on Helicon, Arcturus sector (where his father, in a legend of doubtful authenticity, was a tobacco grower in the hydroponic plants of the planet), he early showed amazing ability in mathematics.

Foundation Isaac Asimov (1951)

The novel The Stars my Destination has a tight focus on a woman's eye. Superimposed over the eye is scome white lines and boxes and a blue ring.

He was one hundred and seventy days dying and not yet dead.

The Stars My Destination Alfred Bester (1957)

Lem's cover of Solaris is a silohette of a bald humanoid figure from the shoulders up looking out at a blue field of stars with the edge of an orange planet or sun at the top of the image.

At nineteen hundred hours ship’s time I climbed down the metal ladder past the bays on either side into the capsule.

Solaris Stanislaw Lem (1961)

The cover of Dune has alternating orange and yellow sand dunes with two yellow moons visible in a star studded night sky at the top of the page. A lone figure in white strides toward the horizon, his cape fluttering in the wind.

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 (1965)

This yellow cover shows leg restraint with a broken chain and the other end of the chain is attached to a planet

I see in Lunaya Pravada 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 Heinlein (1966)

Anna Kavan's book, Ice, has a cover that is an albino-like woman's portrait on a blue field. Superimposed over the blue and the woman's face is white frost-like graphics.

I was lost, it was already dusk, I had been driving for hours and was practically out of petrol.

Ice, Anna Kavan (1967)

The cover of the left hand of darkness is a graphic representation of rays a light colored star field and a dark colored star field that meet in a horizontal center line. Radiating lines cross from the center of the horizontal line out to the edges of each star field

I’ll make my report as if I told a story, for I was taught as a child on my homeworld that Truth is a matter of the imagination.

The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin (1969)

On A Scanner Darkly's cover is a palm-up hand holding some little blue pieces. In the background behind the fingers is a yellow, lit light bulb with a curing extension cord leading to a round wall outlet.

Once a guy stood all day shaking bugs from his hair.

A Scanner Darkly, Philip K Dick (1977)

Clarification

There are no affiliate links in this post. I don’t make a cent off of the books listed on this page. These titles are here for your enjoyment. And to entice you to buy more books.

Now, if you buy My Soul to Keep or Fellowship… that will put a little money in my pocket. And a gigantic smile on my face. I love my readers.

Do You Want to Read More?

Did you enjoy theses first lines from legendary SF & F? You might also enjoy previous First Line Friday posts.

And you’ll put another enormous smile on my face if you comment below. Which first lines spoke to you? Did you buy or borrow it?

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