Nov 25 2011 11:00am

Play the First Line Game With Us

The First Line Game was originally introduced to us by Jo Walton back in 2008 and we tend to bring it back out about once a year for fun during holidays. Come play it with us!

The rules:

1.) In the comments below, list as many unattributed first lines from novels that you want other commenters to identify. This being, let’s try to stick to SFF and its many sub-genres.

2.) First lines should be in italics. Answers not. It’ll also be helpful to your fellow commenters to post “@[comment number]” before you answer. If you’re answering and posting first lines at the same time, list the answers first.

3.) Feel free to let other commenters know they answered correctly! Don’t leave us hangin’.

Just to get things rolling, we’ll start you off with one:

The big kitchen of the Murry’s house was bright and warm, curtains drawn against the dark outside, against the rain driving past the house from the northeast.

Have at it!

Stubby the Rocket is the voice and mascot of The first line in all of Stubby’s books is When the nebula came, even the false nebula, there were no problems except the whole thing about shields and sensors being useless.

1. Crowgirl
Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L'Engle.

Lets try this: Jude had a private collection.
2. Crowgirl
Whoops, I think I fudged up the italics thing. :( My bad for reading the instructions too quickly!
4. Natenanimous
It's an easy one, but I might as well get out one of my favourite first lines.

It started in mud, as many things do.
James Butterfield
5. jimmyb
Not sure what went wrong there...

@1: Heart Shaped Box. Joe Hill
6. Crowgirl
@5/jimmyb: Perhaps it's just a bad morning for leaving comments on this thread? :)

In any case, you're correct: Heart Shaped Box it is!

How about this one: You'll understand this story better if I tell you a lie.

Or A mile below the lowest cloud, rock breaches water and the sea begins.
Katy Maziarz
7. ArtfulMagpie
@6: Your first one is, I think, "Sky Coyote" by Kage Baker?

An easyish one: Shadow had done three years in prison.

Less easy: At the corner of the window, a waxen spider spun.
Tucker McKinnon
8. jazzfish
@7 (the easyish one) has got to be American Gods.

Hating the Earth was easy.
10. mutantalbinocrocodile
I am old now and have not much to fear from the anger of gods.
11. Natenanimous
@6: Your second is The Scar by China Mieville. Excellent novel.

Here's a trickier one: "Wake up, sir. We're here."
Greg Lincoln
14. glshade
@13 correct.... im far from my collection and only have access to my e library.....
15. Crowgirl
@7 and @11: Right!

How about: You never know when you'll luck out.
Beth Friedman
16. carbonel
@8: Growing Up Weightless, by John M. Ford.

I didn't like the cloverleaf.
17. mutantalbinocrocodile
Couple more:

It all began with the aurochs.

I went to the salt beds by the mouth of the river, in the May of my nineteenth year, to get salt for the sacred meal.
Andrew Danielson
18. wonderandy
Here's a good one. and should be pretty easy.

The night was rank with the smell of man.
Katy Maziarz
19. ArtfulMagpie
@17: The second one is "Lavinia" by LeGuin. Also, you should be putting your first lines in italics, please. :-)
Daniel Goss
21. Beren
A few easy ones here:

1) Life is hard.
Dying's easy.

2) According to the first scroll of Wen the Eternally Surprised, Wen stepped out of the cave where he had received enlightenment and into the dawning light of the first day of the rest of his life.

3) rednaeroC darnoC lraC
skooB dlO
This inscription could be seen on the glass door of a small shop, but naturally this was only the way it looked if you were inside the dimly lit shop, looking out at the street through the plate-glass door.
22. Crowgirl
@21: Your second one is from Thief of Time, Terry Pratchett and your third from the Neverending Story, Michael Ende. Both awesome!
Zack Weinberg
22. zwol
The last time we played this, nobody got these:

1. She was made after the time of ribs and mud. By papal decree there were to be no more people born of the ground or from the marrow of bones.

2. Lest details be mistaken for clues, note that Mr. Charles Unwin, lifetime resident of this city, rode his bicycle to work every day, even when it was raining.

and here's a new one:

3. Edward— You must come back to the lodge.
Daniel Goss
23. Beren
@17 The first one is by Lawhead. One of the Song of Albion, I think? Maybe The Paradise War?
Daniel Wolf Roemele
24. Daniel.Wolf.Roemele
@11 - "The Sandman" by Neil Gaiman

How about:
When my father received the news of the Pendragon's death, I was playing boats by the sea.
Daniel Goss
25. Beren
Another fairly obvious one, but I just started re-reading it (for obvious reasons.)

Lessa woke, cold.
Greg Lincoln
26. glshade
Here's a more obscure one

We Szekeleys have a right to be proud, for in our viens flows the blood of many brave races who fought as the lion fights, for lordship.
Daniel Wolf Roemele
27. Daniel.Wolf.Roemele
@4 - "Otherland: City of Golden Shadow" by Tad Williams

How about:
"... The book of the mad priest Nisses is large, say those who have held it, and as heavy as a small child.
28. f_lupercus
@22 - number 3 is from Mythago Wood (I absolutely love that Prologue (the whole book, indeed)).

Milena boiled things. She was frightened of disease.
29. Crowgirl
@25: Dragonriders of Pern. Wow, it's been awhile since I read that!

How about this (obvious for obvious): Mr. Dunworthy opened the door to the laboratory and his spectacles promptly steamed up.
30. Natenanimous
@24: Correct!

@27: Correct! Yay!

@18: A Dance with Dragons, by George R.R. Martin
Daniel Wolf Roemele
31. Daniel.Wolf.Roemele
@29 - "The Doomsday Book" by Connie Willis

How about:
There were prodigies and portents enough, One-Eye says.
32. Crowgirl
@31: Absolutely! :)

You wouldn't believe some of the weird shit people pay me to steal.
33. Ki
@24: "The Hawk of May," by Gillian Bradshaw.

Amid the ten thousand noises and the jade-and-gold and the whirling dust of Xinan, he had often stayed awake all night among friends, drinking spiced wine in the North District with the courtesans.
Tucker McKinnon
37. jazzfish
@16: indeed!

@27: Tad Williams, "The Dragonbone Chair"

He is met at a crossroads on a windy night, the moon in tatters and the mist unclothing stars, the way from Ask to Owlerdale: a man in black, white-headed, with a three-string fiddle in his pack.
38. doc_awesome
Coming back from the dead can be rough.
39. dragonfly
@33 - Under Heaven, GGK

"Come home, Tenar! Come home!"
40. kevin f
@10 one of my favorites: Till We Have Faces
Beth Friedman
41. carbonel
@20: You're as close as one can be, given that I missed the constraint that the work should be a novel, the first time around. It's from the short story "Three-Cornered and Secure," which is indeed in Zenna Henderson's Holding Wonder.

Here's a novel's first line, from an author who sometimes reminds me of Zenna Henderson:

Tom Renfield kicked the door of the girls' rest room open and pushed the mop bucket in ahead of him, wondering if there would be any new graffiti since he last cleaned there a week ago.
Beth Friedman
42. carbonel
@39: The Tombs of Atuan, by Ursula K. LeGuin
43. dragonfly
@42 - correct!

Here's another:
Here, on Tiamat, where there is more water than land, the sharp edge between ocean and sky is blurred; the two merge into one.
Sky Thibedeau
44. SkylarkThibedeau
For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme.
45. mutantalbinocrocodile
@43: The Snow Queen, Joan Vinge.

Hey, Till We Have Faces took a while!
Jonah Feldman
46. relogical
"Do your neighbors burn one another alive?" was how Fraa Orolo began his conversation with Artisan Flec.
47. Crowgirl
@46: Anathem, Neal Stephenson.
Sky Thibedeau
48. SkylarkThibedeau
On the sixteen colonized worlds, mankind had changed, evolved into something that was slightly more than human...and slightly less.
49. Rupert Pupkin
1. Everybody falls, and we all land somewhere.

2. On the day the armada went off to war, on the last day of life as we knew it, I was invited to a party.
50. UrsulaMin
Two books published this year:

1)"You should be dead" The ER nurse stated as she adjusted something on my IV.

2)They say that the statue of Our Lady of the Sorrows wept tears of blood the day the sickness came to Santa Olivia
Nathanael Schaffer
51. N_Schaffer
@21: Your first one has to be Changes, Jim Butcher
52. dragonfly
@50 - I haven't yet read it, but #2 has to be Santa Olivia, by J. Carey!

Hayden Griffin was plucking a fish when the gravity bell rang.
Daniel Goss
53. Beren
@51 Right author, wrong book.
@21 Correct on both!
@29 Yep!
Tucker McKinnon
54. jazzfish
@49: I'm pretty sure #2 is "The Fall of Hyperion" by Dan Simmons.

The bureaucrat fell from the sky.
55. Rupert Pupkin
@54: Nailed it.
Beth Friedman
56. carbonel
@54: Michael Swanwick's Stations of the Tide -- which I know because it's a memorable first line, not because I've actually read the book.
Nathanael Schaffer
57. N_Schaffer
@53: Oops, duh.. Ghost Story, Jim Butcher. silly mistake.
58. scotty23
I had this story from one who had no business to tell it to me, or to any other.
59. f_lupercus
well, it seems no one has read #28.
@49 - number 1 is from Wilson's Spin. great first line but I also like the first lines from chapter 2: I was twelve, and the twins were thirteen, the night the stars disappeared from the sky.

this time something easier though one of my favorites ever:

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.
Tucker McKinnon
60. jazzfish
@56: quite. The last line's pretty memorable as well. And the ones between are worth reading sometime. :)
61. Rupert Pupkin
@59: Got it. Yep, chapter 2 is kind of like a second opener.
shawn keeling
62. longerwaves
This should be a fairly easy one.

They sat stiffly on his antique Eames chairs, two people who didn't want to be here, or one person who didn't want to and one who resented the other's reluctance.
Katy Maziarz
63. ArtfulMagpie
@50: Your first one is "My Life as a White Trash Zombie!"

Here's one:
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.
64. Jexral
All the ones that I knew had been answered....


Now these ashes have grown cold, we open the old book.


The children of the embassy all saw the boat land.


It was a dark, cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.

These are all pretty easy, I think, but one of them might be pretty tricky.
Greg Lincoln
65. glshade
@64 I do not recall the title but I think it was written by Garth Nix
66. tnv
@59 and 63: The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin.
67. beebop
#58 is Tarzan of the Apes
Tim May
68. ngogam
#64 Your second and third are _Embassytown_ by China Miéville & _Nineteen Eighty-Four_ by George Orwell, respectively.

Here are a couple of mine left unguessed last time:

The problem, as I see it, is an information gap. The People know far more about their enemy than the enemy knows about them.


Ani was gathering tender bibbi shoots when a patch of white on the distant forest floor caught her eye.
69. moonglum
@64. Embassytown. Read it just this year, and loved it.

Classic (and so easy):
The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.

In a hole, in the ground, there lived a hobbit.

Rorschach's journal: October 12thm 1985: Dog corcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach.

On the heights of the river Xzan, at the site of certain ancient ruins, Iucounu the Laughing Magician had built a manse to his private taste: an eccentric structure of steep gables, balconies, sky-walks, cupolas, together with three spiral green glass towers through which the red sunlight shone in twisted glints and peculiar colors.


Some years ago there was in the city of York a society of magicians.

Veldt to scrub to fields to farms to these first tumbling houses that rise from the earth.

Quentin did a magic trick.

I did two things on my seventy-fifth birthday.
70. Marg
In a sheepfarmer's low stone house, high in the hills above three Firs, two swords hang now above the mantlepiece.
Katy Maziarz
71. ArtfulMagpie
#69: I think I know several of yours, but I'll give others a chance. However...the first of your old ones is Neuromancer, and the very last one in your nouveau section is Old Man's War!
Brian R
72. Mayhem
The Deed of Paksenarrion - Elizabeth Moon

Neuromancer - William Gibson
The Hobbit - Tolkein
I presume the third is something to do with Watchmen
fourth is Eyes of the Overworld, Jack Vance

Fifth is Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, thats about one line less than I finished reading :p
Last is Old Mans War, Jonathan Scalzi
Katy Maziarz
73. ArtfulMagpie
Here's one: It is possible I already had some presentiment of my future.
Brian R
74. Mayhem
@64 the first is Gardens of the Moon, Steven Erikson.

And a random selection in return:

Above the rolling earth great clouds tumbled down and bolts of lightning charged groundwards to slash the midnight black, split trees in twain and sear through roofs that cracked and broke.

Throughout the past thousand years of history it has been traditional to regard the Alderson Drive as an unmixed blessing.

Two hours before dawn I sat in the peeling kitchen and smoked one of Sarah's cigarettes, listening to the maelstrom and waiting.

It would have been far easier for Hal Bateen to conquer the world if he had had a cold.

Alodar closed his mind to the pounding of the huge stones against the lower walls of the keep.
Brian R
75. Mayhem
@73 Shadow of the Torturer, Gene Wolfe.

Heh, I left my copy of that back in NZ so couldn't remember the exact phrase. Good choice.
Katy Maziarz
76. ArtfulMagpie
I wake up on a pile of smoldering garbage and leaves in the old Hollywood Forever cemetery behind the Paramount Studio lot on Melrose, those these last details don't come to me until later.
Brian R
77. Mayhem
And one more before I call it a night.

By day, the Nicollet Mall winds through Minneapolis like a paved canal.

Policy question - are these supposed to be the very first lines of the book, or the first line of chapter one? These prologue lines don't seem as memorable.
78. Waynesdeepkimchi
@22 - number 2 is Jedediah Berry's The Manual of Detection, I believe
79. Waynesdeepkimchi
@69 - the one beginning with Quentin is The Magicians by Grossman
Beth Friedman
80. carbonel
@74: second one is either Mote in God's Eye or something else in that universe

@77: War for the Oaks, by Emma Bull
George Brell
81. gbrell

Two hours before dawn I sat in the peeling kitchen and smoked one of Sarah's cigarettes, listening to the maelstrom and waiting.

Altered Carbon.

My contributions:

He was one hundred and seventy days dying and not yet dead.
82. drd
@81: The Stars My Destination.

The primroses were over.
83. Mndrew
"He's a mad scientist and I'm his beautiful daughter."
84. mad_for_fantasy
All right. Here goes an easy one.

"When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold."
Jerry Wright
85. MrBewildered
83 is of course "Number of the Beast..." by Heinlein.

"Polly cut off her hair in front of the mirror, feeling slightly guilty about not feeling very guilty about doing so."

"The man who was not Terrence O'Grady had come quietly."
Brent Longstaff
86. Brentus
Here are a few:

1. It all started with a coffin.

2. Several centuries (or so) ago, in a country whose name doesn't matter, there was a tall, skinny, straggly-bearded old wizard named Prospero, and not the one you are thinking of, either.

3. The place stank.
Paige Morgan
88. paigecm
@86: Your 2nd is Bellairs' _The Face in the Frost_.

"Rising up into the air, they took to the sky and flew."
Eli Bishop
89. EliBishop
Suppose that it is once more 196—, that fateful year, and suppose that you are passing through Millford, Utah, that most fated of crossroads.

Spring came to the University of Minnetonka in the form of a midnight blizzard, spraying snow the length and breadth of the great campus, annoying people from Faculty Hill clear down to Fraternity Row.

As I move my hand to write this statement of my own free will—we can argue about the free will later—there is in me no remorse, no desire to justify.
90. madscientistnz
@85 Polly cutting her hair is Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett

In springtime a young alien's thoughts turn to love.
Brian R
91. Mayhem
@80 & 81
Yep. Both right.

Watership Down - Richard Adams
The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
Brian R
92. Mayhem
A new one

The reflection that looked back at her from the mirror wasn't her own.
Katy Maziarz
93. ArtfulMagpie
There once was a man who wished to gain his Heart's Desire.
Brian R
94. Mayhem
There once was a young man who wished to gain his Heart's Desire.


Tonight we're going to show you eight silent ways to kill a man.
95. stampey
The night sky brightened faintly in the east with the approach of dawn as the Chosen entered the Gardens of Life.
97. mad_for_fantasy
@94: Stardust, by Neil Gaiman

Not so easy...

"Some years ago there was in the city of York a society of magicians."
Brian R
98. Mayhem
@94 Yep.
@97 already done by Moonglum.
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell - Susannah Clarke.

@95 Good choice :)
Katy Maziarz
99. ArtfulMagpie
@95: Elfstones of Shannara.

The unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone.
100. mad_for_fantasy
@99 : The classic, The Last Unicorn by Peter S Beagle... :)

"Dressed in various shades of light brown, the Iron Orchid and her son at upon a cream-coloured beach of crushed bone."
Brian R
101. Mayhem
@100 Hmm, thats one of the Jerry Cornelius books, but I can't remember which one. Dancers at the End of Time?
102. mad_for_fantasy
@101 - You are right! :)
Gerd K
103. Kah-thurak
@31 is Glen Cook's Black Company, Books of the North

He came shambling into Judgement's Round from the Avenue of Souls, a mishappen mass of flies.
104. mike65401
104. I woke on my 70th birthday with a hangover, a hard on, and 72 cents in my pocket. ( Not scifi but my favorite first line of any book.)
106. Eugene R.
@44 - Foundation, by Isaac Asimov

@48 - I could not remember which Dorsai book this was, so I had to run off and rummage through my pile - Soldier, Ask Not by Gordon R. Dickson.

@74 - Oh, dang it, now I'm rummaging around among Elric books ("Above the rolling earth") - Stormbringer, by Michael Moorcock

@74 - Hal Bateen? Hmm. Oh, Har Bateen. The Return of Nathan Brazil by Jack Chalker. Wow, it's been decades since I read the Well World books. Thanks for bringing back the memories!

@101 - The first book in The Dancers at the End of Time series (Moorcock) is An Alien Heat. And the 'JC' character in question is Jherek Carnelian, who is the son of Iron Orchid mentioned in the line.

It was starting to end, after what seemed like most of eternity to me.
Kathleen B
108. stampeyb
2nd try.

Fins had been making wisecracks about human beings for thousands of years.
110. Eugene R.
@109 - Correct! And I confess to an incorrect guess at yours (@108), due to my brain always misspelling 'Fins' (for obvious reasons, once you know the book in question).
Kent Aron Vabø
111. sotgnomen
@103: The Deadhouse Gates, Steven Erikson

Too easy. I have no books with me from home.
It was nearing midnight and the prime minister was sitting alone in his office, reading a long memo that was slipping through his brain without leaving the slightest trace of meaning behind.
Brian R
112. Mayhem
Ahh, I was halfway there. I have the omnibus editions back at my folks place, memory gets a little hazy these days :)
Dead right on all other counts.

Startide Rising - David Brin.

Three more then.

My pen falters, then falls from my knuckly grip, leaving a worm's tail of ink across Fedwrens's paper.

There were angels in Heaven in those days, and there were demons, and the demons were the creators and the creation of chaos...

It was bleak on Mottram road under the Edge, the wooded hill of Alderley.
Brian R
113. Mayhem
And I can't resist posting two of my favourites, one for the book, and the second just because it is a fantastic opening line.

It was a nice day.

The building was on fire, and it wasn't my fault.
114. Eugene R.
@112 - Oh, you sneaky Pete! I grabbed my copy of The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, certain I had you. But, it's the next one along, The Moon of Gomrath by Alan Garner.
@113 - "The building was on fire, and it wasn't my fault." Harry? Is that you, Harry Dresden? Blood Rites, by Jim Butcher.

It is said that fifty-three years after his liberation, he returned from the Golden Cloud, to take up once again the Gauntlet of Heaven, to oppose the the Order of Life and the gods who ordained it so.
115. mad_for_fantasy
@114 - Is it from Lord of Light?

"I did two things on my seventy fifth birthday."
Steve Taylor
117. teapot7
Hey Zwol @22 -

She was made after the time of ribs and mud. By papal decree there were to be no more people born of the ground or from the marrow of bones.

Please tell me what that is - I feel the urge to hunt it down and read it. It doesn't read like R.A. Lafferty's style, but it sure sounds like his thought processes.

If you don't want to spill the beans on this thread (oops - I think I just mixed some metaphors. What a can of worms...), then an email to would be more than welcome.

Brian R
118. Mayhem
@117 It is The People of Paper, by Salvador Plascencia. More surreal mainstream than genre, hence you may not have seen it. My flatmate loved it, though I found it very unsettling.

@115 It is indeed Lord of Light, but you were beaten to the Scalzi as well.

@114 Dang, hoped that one would last longer :p
119. Eugene R.
@115 - Yes, Mayhem (@118) got it, too. Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny.
Alena McNamara
120. aamcnamara
@7, the less easy one is Dust by Elizabeth Bear.

No one sends for a niece they've never seen before just to annoy her family and ruin her life.
Rob Munnelly
121. RobMRobM
@112 - first quote - Assassins Apprentice by Hobb?

Here's an easy one - "Angels were falling all over the place."
Brian R
122. Mayhem
@121 Yep, sure is.

Four of mine left to guess so I won't post any more for now, but yours is definitely Cryoburn, L M Bujold.
Tess Laird
123. thewindrose
This is a story about something that happened long ago when your grandfather was a child.

"Blessed - look out!"

This is where the gods play games with the lives of men, on a board which is at one and the same time a simple playing area and the whole world.

A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct.
Tim May
124. ngogam
@123 The first is _The Magician's Nephew_, by C.S. Lewis. And the third is _Interesting Times_ by Terry Pratchett.

One day Trurl the constructor put together a machine that could create anything starting with n.

South of base camp, a daisy-clipper skimmed through the flashwood, buffeting the undergrowth into a brilliant display of light.

There had been something lose about the station dock all morning, skulking in amongst the gantries and the lines and the canisters which were waiting to be moved, lurking wherever shadows fell among the rampway accesses of the many ships at dock at Meetpoint.

He came to the city at the end of summer, over the sea; leaning out over the boat's plain prow, scanning the horizon, nervously telling beads of scale and bone through his thin fingers.

(I figure it's better to have too many first lines than too few.)
125. konokurage
@123 - The last one is Dune by Frank Herbert

The manhunt extended across more than one hundred light years and eight centuries.

It had thought it would be safe out here, just one more ambiently black speck deep-chilled in the vast veil of icy debris wrapping the outer reaches of the system like a frozen, tenuous shroud of tissue.

This one is actually spoken in a recently released movie trailer, which might make it a bit easier to find.

Solving the following riddle will reveal the awful secret behind the universe, assuming you do not go utterly mad in the attempt.
Kathleen B
126. stampeyb
@124 your last one is Thunderer; the others I don't know.

There is just enough space inside here for one person to live indefinitely, or at least that's what the operation manual says.
Katy Maziarz
127. ArtfulMagpie
@124: The third one is, if I am not mistaken, "Pride of Chanur" by CJ Cherryh!
128. Anne Schuessler
@127 How To Live Safely In A Science-Fictional Universe by Charles Yu.

It began with my father not wanting to see the Last Rabbit, and ended up with me being eaten by a carnivorous plant.
Gerd K
129. Kah-thurak
"It was a nice day." should be Good Omens. I thought about posting that one myself but figured no one would recognize it ;-)
Brian R
130. Mayhem
@129 It is! Was hoping I wouldn't have to add more lines :)

@123 the second is By The Sword, Mercedes Lackey.

@125 the first is A Deepness in the Sky, Vernor Vinge
the second is Iain M Banks, The Algebraist.
C Smith
132. C12VT
@123: Your third one is Interesting Times, by Terry Pratchett.

I'll toss one out there:

This is the worst story I know about hocuses. And it's true.
Sky Thibedeau
133. SkylarkThibedeau
Girrish and Eugene R are Right! Foundation and Soldier Ask Not.
Scott Raun
134. sraun
@85: "The man who was not Terrence O'Grady had come quietly."

I can't believe no one has guessed this already - Agent of Change by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

He ambled into the room, sat in the indicated chair, and said nothing.
135. FredG
Christmas crept into Pine Cove like a creeping Christmas thing: dragging garland, ribbon, and sleigh bells, oozing eggnog, reeking of pine, and threatening festive doom like a cold sore under the mistletoe.
Katy Maziarz
136. ArtfulMagpie
#135: The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore!
Alena McNamara
137. aamcnamara
@132: Melusine by Sarah Monette.

It started when David came in from the lawn absolutely furious.
Scott Raun
138. sraun
@124: South of base camp, a daisy-clipper skimmed through the flashwood, buffeting the undergrowth into a brilliant display of light.

Hellspark, by Janet Kagan

The hills rolled up to the moon on slopes of wind-bent grass, crested, swept down into tangled brier shadows.
Ryan Britt
139. ryancbritt
@1 Cowgirl
Actually, it's from A Swiftly Tilting Planet not A Wrinkle in Time. A Wrinkle in Time famously begins with: It was a dark and stormy night.
Tess Laird
141. thewindrose
124 correct on 1 and 3( and 132 on 3 as well):)
125 correct on 4
130 correct on 2

140 - _ Name of the Wind_ Patrick Rothfuss?
142. erinlb
@41: That's from The Thread that Binds the Bones by Nina Kiriki Hoffman. I love that book!

Here's one of mine:

It was almost December, and Jonas was beginning to be frightened.
Allana Schneidmuller
144. blutnocheinmal
@76 ArtfulMagpie
Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey :)

The knife had a handle of polished black bone, and a blade finer and sharper than any razor.

An everyday doomsayer in a sandwich-board abruptly walked away from what over the last several days had been his pitch, by the gates of a museum.
Katy Maziarz
145. ArtfulMagpie
#144: If I am not mistaken, your line about the knife is actually the SECOND line of the book. The first being:

There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.
Allana Schneidmuller
146. blutnocheinmal
@145 ArtfulMagpie
Damn this fancy-schmancy copy with it's pictures and first line being on the Chapter page. You're completely correct.
Tess Laird
147. thewindrose
144 and 145:) _The Graveyard Book_ Neil Gaiman

"We should start back," Gared urged as the woods began to grow dark around them.

I ignored the question in the eyes of the groom as I lowered the grisly parcel and turned the horse in for care and maintenance.

A cold wind gusted through the night, across the snowcovered land where men had been killing one another for the past three days.
Brian R
148. Mayhem
A Game of Thrones - GRRM
Sign of the Unicorn - Roger Zelazny (Great choice btw)
New Spring - Robert Jordan.

@144 Heh, the others beat me to complaining about that line.

Ok, three new lines for all, one older, one recent, one new.

It was the chill before dawn that woke him, and the snuffling and stamping of the great bull in its stall.

Turai is a magical city.

The great horn sounded.
Tess Laird
149. thewindrose
#1 _The Anvil of Ice_ Michael Scott Rohan
#2 _Thraxas_ Martin Scott
Don't know the 3rd one - any chance of Scott being part of the authors name? D

Edit - you also got the hat trick at 148 for my lines:)
150. mad_for_fantasy
"'Sally,' A mutter. 'Wake up now, Sally.'"
Tess Laird
151. thewindrose
150 _The Stand_ Stephen King
Gosh, I remember reading that one as a teen(and I will stop there:)
Brian R
152. Mayhem
@149 Yep and Yep, and sadly now I wish I'd thought of one lol.
Kind of a similar name though.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
153. tnh
What a lovely collection of first lines!

I shall clasp my hands together and bow to the corners of the world.
Tucker McKinnon
154. jazzfish
@120: is that The Privilege of the Sword? (If it's not, I should reread it anyway.)
@153: Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart.

The whale, the traitor; the note she left me and the run-in with the Post police; and how I felt about her and what she turned out to be-- all this you know.

I feel the need to write something more before I go on my way, something that can go on top of this pile of papers, and the last shall be first, as someone or other said in a different context.
155. Nightsky
@115: John Scalzi's Old Man's War.
@153: Barry Hugart's Bridge of Birds, hooray!

The first thing you learn when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don't got nothing much to say.
Brian R
156. Mayhem
Here's a pair, to make things easier.

Sung was a land which was famous far and wide, simply because it was so often and so richly insulted.

Drake Douay had his sixteenth birthday two months before the start of the year Khmar 17.
Kathleen B
157. stampeyb
@128 yours is Shades of Grey - Jasper Fforde

@137 I believe
It started when David came in from the lawn absolutely furious.
is from Jo Walton's Farthing
Kathleen B
158. stampeyb
@155 - one of the best opening lines ever!!!
Tim May
159. ngogam
Mayhem @156, those are _The Wordsmiths and the Warguild_ and _The Walrus and the Warwolf_, both from Hugh Cook's _Chronicles of an Age of Darkness_ series.

stampeyb @126, ArtfulMagpie @127 & sraun @138 are correct about _Thunderer_, _The Pride of Chanur_, and _Hellspark_, respectively, from my #124.

About #44 - I thought it sounded like _Foundation_, but my copy (Panther, published 1960) begins* with "His name was Gaal Dornick and he was just a country boy who had never seen Trantor before."

*Well, after the Encyclopedia Galactica entry, which doesn't start that way either.

Here are a couple more:

The white bird climbs above the city of Istanbul; a stork, riding the rising air in a spiral of black-tipped wings.

Your chamagoso drug is working, at last, too soon.
Brian R
160. Mayhem
@159 Dang, hoped those would last longer too.

Your first is definitely The Dervish House, Ian Macdonald.
Brian R
161. Mayhem
Ok, a trio of classics.

On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays it was
Court Hand and Summulae Logicales, while the rest of the
week it was the Organon, Repetition and Astrology.

You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the
commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings.

I am forced into speech because men of science have refused to
follow my advice without knowing why.
Alena McNamara
162. aamcnamara
@154 Yes, it is, and yes, you should.
@157 Yep!

@144, your second one is China Mieville's Kraken.
Tess Laird
163. thewindrose
Mayhem at 161 - (You were not kidding about a trio of classics!)
_The Sword in the Stone_ T. H. White
_Frankenstein_ Mary Shelley
_At the Mountains of Madness_ H. P. Lovecraft

erinlb at 142
_The Giver_ Lois Lowry
Brian R
164. Mayhem
Two new ones:

The rain was a slantwise curtain across the dingy street, washing soot from city walls, the taste of it metallic on the lips of the tall, thin man who walked with a loping stride close to the buildings, watching the mouths of doorways, the gaps of alleys with a narrow-eyed intentness.

No one would deny that I have known hardship in my time, brief though it has been for all that I have done in it.

and since ngogam & windrose seem to be on form, reposting the outstanding ones from earlier with a bit more of a clue :)

Alodar closed his mind to the pounding of the huge stones against the lower walls of the keep. He ignored the growl of his stomach and tried to concentrate on the spinning disk.

The reflection that looked back at her from the mirror wasn't her own. Its hair was cut short and ragged like the stubble in a cornfield.

There were angels in Heaven in those days, and there were demons, and the demons were the creators and the creation of chaos...
In that distant battle between the fires of the demons and the ice
lances of the angels, the very skies twisted in upon themselves, and the angels, who came from cold Heaven, were cast down and strewn across the stars.

The great horn sounded. Arlen paused in his work, looking up at the lavender wash of the dawn sky.
Katy Maziarz
165. ArtfulMagpie
#164: The last one is The Warded Man/The Painted Man by Peter V. Brett. :-)
Tess Laird
166. thewindrose
Mayhem -
The second one - The reflection...
Would that be_ Jack, The Giant Killer / Jack of Kinrowan_ Charles de Lint?

Third one _Fall of Angels_ L. E. Modesitt Jr

Second new one _Kushiel's Chosen_ Jacqueline Carey
Brian R
167. Mayhem
@165 Yep.
@166 It would indeed. Dead right on both other counts.
C Smith
168. C12VT
@154: Your second one is Agyar, by Steven Brust. Thought I'd answered that yesterday, but I guess my post vanished into the ether...

New one:

"All right. He's dead. Go ahead and talk to him."
Tess Laird
169. thewindrose
Mayhem - Adolar - _Master of the Five Magics_ Lyndon Hardy

And I knew this one right away - but since it has been a slow day:
_The Gates to Witch World_ Andre Norton

My son loved these books so much he had me read them - 1st one was already covered way above so here are the rest:)
I clasp the flask between my hands even though the warmth from the tea has long since leached into the frozen air.

I stare down at my shoes, watching as a fine layer of ash settles on the worn leather.
Rob Munnelly
170. RobMRobM
Here is a fresh one for the puzzle hunters out there.

"Everyone my age remembers where they were and what they were doing when they ?rst heard about the contest."
Katy Maziarz
171. ArtfulMagpie
#170: I just read that one! "Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline.
Katy Maziarz
172. ArtfulMagpie
Ignatius Martin Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things.
Rob Munnelly
173. RobMRobM
Art - yes indeed. The funnest book I read all year. What a blast. Gunters unite!
Brian R
174. Mayhem
@169 Yep, Master of the Five Magics. Wish I could get my hands on a copy of Riddle of the Seven Realms, it seems as rare as hens teeth.

The second is from the original Witch World, but you gave the omnibus so that counts too :p

Since the first of yours is Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, I'd guess the second is the next in the series?
Tess Laird
175. thewindrose
Mayhem - on the mark for Catching Fire and and the third is Mockingjay. I had some pretty intense conversations with my son after reading them - it has been one of the things I had been hoping for - that at least one of my kids would enjoy books - and have a taste for Scifi/Fantasy:)

I hear you loud and clear on finding 'older' books.
177. Screwtape
Here are a couple:
There once was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.
That one's a favorite of mine.

And here's a really obscure one:
Long, long ago, when people spoke languages quite different from our own, many fine, big citiesalready existed in the sunny lands of the world.

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