And I wonder

What is your most favourite opening line ever? (Specifically, in fiction)

cenobyte
cenobyte is a writer, editor, blogger, and super genius from Saskatchewan, Canada.

31 Comments

  1. 1. “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” – it opens my most favoritest book EVAR!

    2. “The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.”

    1. 1) That is definitely in my top ten.
      2) Great opening line. I love books that start with a hard slap in the face. Books that say, “I’m not going to be gentle, but you’re going to like it nonetheless”.

  2. “It wasn’t a very likely place for disappearances, at least at first glance.”

    Also:

    “This is my favourite book in all the world, though I have never read it.”

    Also:

    “In a hole in the ground lived a hobbit.”

  3. Seconding “In a hole in the ground lived a hobbit”… hell, had it on my apartment door for a while when Randy noted that my new tiny little pad was, indeed, a hobbit hole.

    But my favorite still has to be:

    “If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.”

    Probably for all the commas. :)

    1. OH DEAR GOD THE COMMAS.

      That, Stark Raving Dad, is also one of my top 10 favourite opening lines. It’s just one of those things that makes you want to stumble forward through pages with this total boob.

  4. BPM’s 2 is my favourite.
    But in a close second place is “We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.”

    Perhaps I have a thing for deserts?

  5. “No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.”

      1. I got to see a the Cruistravaganza free in Russian-sourced and cyrillic-subtitled internet version, and I found that if one lopped off the bit prior to the actual appearance of the Martians (it being a terrible bunch of contrived, “I’m a common man, look how common, c’mon, I’m Joe Sixpack!”), and stopped watching about the time Time Robbins shows up (not a dig at him, but he’s a useful landmark), it’s not a bad show. Utterly friggin’ ruined by the inclusion of those smelly book-ends, though. Alas for the period-set small-budget item released in the same year, which suffers painfully from a lack of budget, actors, and direction.

  6. “It was just past midday, not long before the third summons to prayer, that Ammar ibn Khairan passed through the Gate of the Bells and entered the palace of Al-Fontina in Silvenes to kill the last of the khalifs of Al-Rassan.”

  7. God was a little black-haired bastard named Timmy with wet sheet skin, bleeding gums, and fists full of iron oxide pebbles which he flung in James’s face, each sting becoming a freckle.

    – Book of Beasts by Bernice Friesen

      1. The line hits you the same way James’s is hit. A hell of a cool way to open a book. And yes, I didn’t know when to quit typing but you said “opening line” so I stopped at the first sentence.

  8. “I have frequently wondered if the majority of mankind ever pause to reflect upon the occasionally titanic significance of dreams, and of the obscure world to which they belong.”

  9. I realize this will probably get me flamed, but it is nonetheless my favourite:

    “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

    1. Why would it get you flamed? It’s not like it’s “My mother drove me to the airport with the windows rolled down”.

      Nah. If one reads your opening line with a certain degree of sarcasm, it puts an *entirely different spin* on the entire book. There’s absolutely nothing that can be done for the one I quoted above, though. That’s just a really bad opening line to a really bad book.

i make squee noises when you tell me stuff.

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