First Lines from the Future of Blue Collar Workers

In the late ninetieth century, labor activists pushed for a US federal holiday to celebrate the contributions workers have made to America’s strength, prosperity, and well-being. It is an annual celebration observed on the first Monday in September. And of course, the first Monday of the month means it is time for my First Lines post. I thought it would be interesting to look at books that speculate what might become of laborers in the future.

What I discovered is that it this particular type of science fiction was difficult to find. In this post I share a sample of  so-called “Blue Collar” science fiction books. 

What is First Lines? 

First Lines is a series of blog articles posted on or 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.

This month I’ve added some tag lines. Taglines are the sales pitch intended to hook the right readers.

These entries are from Amazon, my personal library, or other online booksellers. Do these first lines hook you? Do you want to read more?

A promising young mercenary gets gets a job on a tiny trade ship with a nasty reputation for surprises. 

Cover of Fortune's Pawn shows a close-up of a female astronaut's face through her visor. The visor has a heads up display of graphs and numbers and symbols framing her face.

You’re quitting the Blackbirds?” The shock in Anthony’s voice was at odds with the finger he was languidly sliding over my naked back.

Fortune’s Pawn, Rachel Bach

Labor organizer Padma Mehta is on the edge of space and the edge of burnout.

Cover of Wind Swept is a red and hot pink close up of a female face with the title words stamped across the face so it's unrecognizable.

I was sitting at my usual stool at Big Lily’s, talking with Odd Dupree about his troubles down at the plant, when something big and stupid came crashing through the front door.

Windswept, Adam Rakunas

A powerful fictional vision of a fast-approaching future in which sea levels rise and a decimated population must find new ways to live. 

The cover of the Great Bay Chronicles of the Collaps is mostly a light beige with a darker band of beige running from top to bottom near the spine. In the top half there's a graphic image of a bird and above it a fish that you can see it's shape but it's bones and an eye.

For a while they buried the bodies in a mass grave with a bulldozer. The National Guard had been deployed since the imposition of martial law. 

The Great Bay Chronicles Collapse, Dale Wendell

It is 2050. The USA has just been sold to the highest bidders.

Cover of Damage Tiime is an illustration of three hover craft flying high above a cityscape in a smoggy blue sky.

Less than ten hours before the dead woman’s body was pulled from the icy clutches of the East River, Detective Pete Shah sat watching hockey.

Damage Time, Colin Haney

A world-hopping, bad-ass, spell-slinging mother who sets out to rescue her kidnapped adult son from a dragon lord with everything to lose.

The Cover of Keeper's Six takes a view of a planet scape with a group of sixe people in the distance. Farher away is a glimpse of a blue portal in an alien shaped rock that is partly covered in fog. behind it is heavier fog with spires rising above the fog at a diagonal.

The call came at night.

Esther fumbled for the phone lying on the side table. Still barely conscious, she stuck it to her ear.

The Keepers Six, Kate Elliot

A science fiction thriller about artificial intelligence, sentience, and labor rights in a near future dominated by the gig economy

The cover of Machinehood show a light gray cover with blue lines simulating circuitry and a central halo of light around a set of shadowy gears in the center is a robotic female shape that has some parts expose and all of it looking like white plastic.

Welga stared at coffee the color of mud and contemplated the irony of the word smart. Near the end of her daily morning run, she always stopped for a cup of Joe or expresso or Yahweh, depending up on the part of the world—which happened to be Chennai, India, on this particular day.

Machinehood, S. B. Divya


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

Do You Want to Read More?

Did you enjoy this list? Check out previous First Lines posts.

If you have a moment, please share in the comments below.

Do you like the addition of the tag lines?

Which of the titles above spoke to you? Did you buy it?

Can you recommend a “Blue Collar” science fiction book?


  1. Thank you for this great list! I’ve read Fortune’s Pawn and loved it. The rest are going on my reading list.

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