And I wonder

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

  31 comments for “And I wonder

  1. BPM IV
    21 March 2011 at 9:00 pm

    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.”

    • 21 March 2011 at 9:03 pm

      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. Wonko the Sane
    21 March 2011 at 10:13 pm

    “So there I was: 20,000 feet over Tokyo, flat on my back.”

    • 22 March 2011 at 8:24 am

      It surprises me not at all that this is so bloody familiar but I cannot place it, and also that you would be the one to come up with the stumper.

  3. YNWP
    21 March 2011 at 11:41 pm

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


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


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

    • 22 March 2011 at 8:31 am

      I hate books with kissing scenes.

  4. 22 March 2011 at 1:04 am

    My vote is with number two of the Black Pope. That is my favorite opening line. Next is nonfiction.
    “Canada is a metis civilization.”

  5. Stark Raving Dad
    22 March 2011 at 6:16 am

    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. :)

    • 22 March 2011 at 8:25 am


      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.

  6. Smarty Pants
    22 March 2011 at 9:00 am

    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?

    • 22 March 2011 at 9:02 am

      That one is in my top five. The line about the bull dyke in the casino has me in tears every time I read it.

  7. Ernst Bitterman
    22 March 2011 at 9:18 am

    “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.”

    • 22 March 2011 at 9:41 am

      Ah. The Tom Cruise-free version. I think I have the poster for the book somewhere in my stash of cool things…

      • Ernst Bitterman
        22 March 2011 at 11:45 am

        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.

        • 22 March 2011 at 1:24 pm

          Well, I refuse to watch anything with that putz in it, no matter how good the source material.

  8. Jennnnn
    22 March 2011 at 12:27 pm

    “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.”

    • 22 March 2011 at 1:24 pm

      There’s such good rhythm there, isn’t there?

  9. turk182
    22 March 2011 at 5:58 pm


  10. 22 March 2011 at 7:54 pm

    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

    • 22 March 2011 at 10:29 pm

      I LOVE that opening line. The rest of that paragraph is awesome too.

      • 23 March 2011 at 6:46 am

        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.

        • turk182
          23 March 2011 at 5:31 pm

          girls are weak

  11. Electric Maenad
    22 March 2011 at 11:01 pm

    “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.”

    • 23 March 2011 at 12:13 am

      Ah. My most favouritest fellow in most desperate need of an editor. Not in this opening, of course. But just in general.

  12. Cori May
    23 March 2011 at 11:19 am

    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.”

    • 23 March 2011 at 11:27 am

      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.

      • turk182
        23 March 2011 at 5:37 pm

        i hate you so much

      • 25 March 2011 at 11:50 pm

        I actually read sarcasm into it. Was it not supposed to be?

  13. turk182
    23 March 2011 at 5:32 pm

    am i weak?

  14. turk182
    23 March 2011 at 5:38 pm

    i really hate you so much

i make squee noises when you tell me stuff.

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