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Best first sentences of novels... (1 Viewer)


WF Veterans
I first heard Personville called Poisonville by a red haired mucker named Hickey Dewey in the Big Ship in Butte. He also called his shirt his shoit.

Dashiell Hammett: Red Harvest


Senior Member
"Sing, O goddess, the rage of Achilles son of Peleus, that brought countless ills upon the Achaeans." - Homer's Iliad (translation by Samuel Butler)

I don't know if it can be counted as a novel, but I've always loved it.

"Lessa woke, cold"- Anne McCaffrey's Dragonflight


Senior Member
Allright, here's one.

"The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit."

The Uglies--Scott Westerfeld

And another...

"Wind howled through the night, carrying a scent that would change the world."

Eragon--Christopher Paolini


Senior Member
Ummm....it's not supposed to be. Unless you find it funny for some reason. Maybe you meant to copy and paste this one:

"The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit."

The Uglies--Scott Westerfeld

To be honest, I just thought that this first sentence was interesting. I mean, who in their right mind would compare the sky to cat vomit? It just seemed a little different to me, which is why I pointed it out.


WF Veterans
No, you see, Paolini is a plagiarist in a sense. That sentence has been used over and over for centuries. Not to mention Eragon sucked.

Scott Tuplin

Senior Member
"Although it stands to reason that a samurai should be mindful of the Way of the Samurai, it would seem that we are all negligent."
- Tsunetomo Yamamoto, The Book of the Samurai

salad days

Senior Member
If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer... If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire for we have some flax-golden tales to spin.

Shel Silverstein - Where the Sidewalk Ends


Senior Member
"The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit."

The Uglies--Scott Westerfeld

Pretty stupid attempt at parodying Gibson's opening line in Neuromancer. Doesn't even make sense...vomit is not one color.


Senior Member
Krim said:
Pretty stupid attempt at parodying Gibson's opening line in Neuromancer. Doesn't even make sense...vomit is not one color.

Neither is the sky. :scratch:


Senior Member
Yeah, kind of what I was thinking when I first read it, which is why I found it interesting.

Pretty stupid attempt at parodying Gibson's opening line in Neuromancer.:scratch: Never heard of that book. Sorry.


Senior Member
Gibson's Neuromancer is a novel that helped to create a genre. It is, in many ways, groundbreaking. Like so much of Gibson's work, it has some clear flaws, but, damn, when Gibson writes well, Gibson writes well.

Interesting note: When he wrote it, if you tuned your TV to a channel without signal, you'd get static. So what Gibson was saying was that the sky was like static; black, grey, silver, changing rapidly etc. Great image. Now, on most new TVs, dead channels are shown as a revolting blue. This also works as a comparison to the sky...just a completely different one.

Sir Jorah

Aera said:
"Even before the events in the supermarket, Jim Ironheart should have known trouble was coming."
-Cold Fire, Dean Koontz

That was a great one. And a great book. That was the first Koontz novel I'd ever read, and got me hooked.

"The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."
-Stephen King, Gunslinger

This one was great too. :)
"At times Cley thought that she was, well, a bit too intense. She seemed to have too much personality for one person and yet not enough for two."
Beyond Inifinity by Gregory Benford

"In the land of Ingary, where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisbility actually exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of three."
Howl's Moving Castle by Diane Wynne Jones

"Not wanting to arouse Vishnu in case he hadn't died yet, Mrs. Asrani tiptoed down to the third step above the landing on which he lived, teakettle in hand."
The Death of Vishnu by Manil Suri

"My grandfather spent his life mending fences. So much of his life that it seemed like a religion. Though shalt not let thy barbed wire sag."
All we Know of Love by Katie Schneider

"Midway this way of life we're bound upon, I woke to find myself in a dark wood, Where the right road was wholly lost and gone."
The Divine Comedy: The Inferno by Dante

This is excluding some of the other wonderful ones that have been mentioned from works such as Lolita, Moby Dick, The Gunslinger, and various Douglas Adams' books.
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Joe Moore

“The seller of lightning rods arrived just ahead of the storm.”
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury.