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?
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)
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)
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)
He was one hundred and seventy days dying and not yet dead.The Stars My Destination Alfred Bester (1957)
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)
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)
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)
I was lost, it was already dusk, I had been driving for hours and was practically out of petrol.Ice, Anna Kavan (1967)
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)
Once a guy stood all day shaking bugs from his hair.A Scanner Darkly, Philip K Dick (1977)
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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?