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Best opening line in a book

Discussion in 'Original Fiction Discussion' started by Khaine, Oct 12, 2021.

  1. Eilyfe

    Eilyfe Supreme Mugwump

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    "On St. Valentine's Day, 1989, the last day of her life, the legendary popular singer Vina Apsara woke sobbing from a dream of human sacrifice in which she had been the intended victim."

    The Ground Beneath Her Feet by Salman Rushdie.
     
  2. KHAAAAAAAN!!

    KHAAAAAAAN!! Troll in the Dungeon –§ Prestigious §– DLP Supporter

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    I really enjoy Mark Lawrence's Red Sister opening line.

    “It is important, when killing a nun, to ensure that you bring an army of sufficient size."
     
  3. Rubicon

    Rubicon High Inquisitor DLP Supporter

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    "The Deliverator belongs to an elite order, a hallowed subcategory. He's got esprit up to here. Right now, he is preparing to carry out his third mission of the night. His uniform is black as activated charcoal, filtering the very light out of the air. A bullet will bounce off its arachnofiber weave like a wren hitting a patio door, but excess perspiration wafts through it like a breeze through a freshly napalmed forest, Where his body has bony extremities, the suit has sintered armorgel: feels like gritty jello, protects like a stack of telephone books."

    -- opening paragraph of Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson.
     
  4. Eilyfe

    Eilyfe Supreme Mugwump

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    Okay, that one actually slaps. Nice.

    Here's a good one by Marquez. (I think we had 100Y of Solitude somewhere above already).

    "Over the weekend the vultures got into the presidential palace by pecking through the screens on the balcony windows and the flapping of their wings stirred up the stagnant time inside, and at dawn on Monday the city awoke out of its lethargy of centuries with the warm, soft breeze of a great man dead and rotting grandeur." (The Autumn of the Patriarch)
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2021
  5. MoltenCheese

    MoltenCheese Seventh Year

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    This one always makes me grin.
     
  6. Arthellion

    Arthellion Lord of the Banned ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    “In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit.”
     
  7. Solfege

    Solfege Chief Warlock DLP Supporter

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    "In the week before their departure to Arrakis, when all the scurrying about had reached a near unbearable frenzy, an old crone came to visit the mother of the boy, Paul."
     
  8. Gene

    Gene Third Year

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    It's five lines, not one, but the opening to Lord of Light is for my money the best ever written:

    "His followers called him Mahasamatman and said he was a god. He preferred to drop the Maha - and the - atman, however, and called himself Sam. He never claimed to be a god, but then he never claimed not to be a god. Circumstances being what they were, neither admission could be of any benefit. Silence, though, could."
     
  9. silentclock

    silentclock Chief Warlock DLP Supporter

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    “No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.”

    The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson.
     
  10. Othalan

    Othalan Death Eater DLP Supporter

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    While it's kind of the opposite of an opening line, what this one really reminded me of was the closing lines to Caitlin R. Kiernan's Cthulhu Mythos short story "Andromeda Among the Stones":

    "His daughter spoke to him only in his dreams, or hers, no way to ever be sure which was which, and her voice grew stronger and more terrible as the years rushed past. In the end, she was a maelstrom to swallow his withered soul, to rock him to sleep one last time, to show him the way across.

    And the house by the sea, weathered and weary and insane, kept its secrets.
    "
     
  11. Zeelthor

    Zeelthor Scissor Me Timbers

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    "In the myriadic year o our Lord – the ten thousandth year of the King Undying, the kindly Prince of Death! – Gideon Nav packed her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and she escaped from the House of the Ninth."

    From Gideon the Ninth.

    It really highlights the style of the book with this juxtaposition of a dark, grimy and serious world which the protagonist and her sorta punk-rock attitude could not give less of a fuck about.
     
  12. Drachna

    Drachna DA Member

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    'Fatman shivered' - Deceived, Paul S. Kemp.
     
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