Saturday, May 02, 2009

I00 Best First Lines

Via BigKirk on Twitter:


Graham Powell said...

Glad they got LAST GOOD KISS and NEUROMANCER, but where's Parker?

Toby O'B said...

Just from the immortality it got from Monty Python, I was expecting to see this opening line from Thomas Hardy: "A Saturday afternoon in November was fast approaching the time of twilight when the vast expanse known as Egdon Heath embrowned itself moment by moment."

Didn't spur me to read the novel, but you can't have everything.

Todd Mason said...

The only first rate one new to me was "The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new."--even early on, Beckett had all his buttons.

But I can think of several opening lines better than a sizable majority here, from the likes of Richard Matheson on over to Jorge Luis Borges, and back to John W. Campbell's "The place stank." Hell, I've even had one published.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Graham. My favorite is #85, the Crumley. If that doesn't make you want to read the book, there's no hope for you.


Max Allan Collins said...

Crumley's line is overwrought and also wrong -- it sounds like the bulldog's doing the drinking.

I vote for any of the following Mickey Spillane first lines:

"Nobody ever walked across the bridge, not on a night like this."

"All I saw was the dame standing there in the glare of the headlights waving her arms like a huge puppet and the curse I spit out filled the car and my own ears."

"The guy was dead as hell."

"They found me in the gutter."

Also, from William March's THE BAD SEED:

"Later that summer, when Mrs. Penmark looked back and remembered, when she was caught up in despair so deep that she knew there was no way out, no solution whatever for the circumstances that encompassed her, it seemed to her that June seventh, the day of the Fern Grammar School picnic, was the day of her last happiness, for never since then had she known contentment or felt peace."