It seems like the first lines of books always get the most press. From Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, “”It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains,” to The Lord of the Rings: “When Mr Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton,” there is a special significance to the first lines of novels.
But what about the last lines? How come they don’t get much press?
Tolkien’s The Hobbit ends with “‘You are a very fine person, Mr. Baggins, and I am very fond of you; but you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all! ‘Thank goodness!’ said Bilbo laughing, and handed him the tobacco jar.” And these two sentences sum up so completely what the book is about.
Or take G. K. Chesterton’s conclusion to The Man Who Was Thursday, “There he saw the sister of Gregory, the girl with the gold-red hair, cutting lilac before breakfast, with the great unconscious gravity of a girl,” which says so much in it prosaicness.
So I’d like to extend a challenge to the readers of Tor.com. What are your favorite last lines from speculative fiction? Pick a book off your shelf that you have enjoyed, and give us the author, the title, and the line in the comments below. Let’s share our favorites and relive that thrill of having completed the novel, of having shared the mysterious reader-writer bond.