Reviews, Views and Adventures in Content Creation

Saturday, August 15, 2015

First Words of Popular Books: Science Fiction

This week, I continue my exploration of first words in fiction with a look at popular science fiction. 

Compared to last week's look at current Young Adult bestsellers, I found this selection much more intriguing and/or thought provoking. What do you think?

Here they are, in no particular order:

Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury):
“It was a pleasure to Burn”

Foundation (Isaac Asimov): 
“Hari Seldon - ...born in the 11,988th year of the Galactic Era; died 12,069.”

Dune (Frank Herbert): 
“A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct.”

Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card): 
“I’ve watched through his eyes, I’ve listened through his ears, and I tell you he’s the one.”

The Stars My Destination (Alfred Bester):  
“This was a Golden Age, a time of  high adventure, rich living, and hard dying...but nobody thought so.”

2001: A Space Odyssey (Arthur C. Clarke): 
“The drought had lasted now for ten million years, and the reign of the terrible lizards had long since ended.”

1984 (George Orwell):
 “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams): 
“Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.”

Snow Crash  (Neal Stephenson): 
“The Deliverator belongs to an elite order, a hallowed subcategory.”

Starship Troopers (Robert Heinlein):  
“I always get the shakes before I drop.”

Next week, I'll take a look at the first words of some classic novels.

Monday, August 10, 2015

First Words of Popular Books: Young Adult Novels

What makes a good book? A good story, of course. Engaging characters, an intriguing plot and perhaps just the right setting.

But what really brings you in? What catches your attention? Is the first line really that important?

Here's a list of the top ten New York Times Young Adult bestsellers, along with their very first opening sentences.

  1. Paper Towns (John Green): "The longest day of my life began tardily."
  2. Looking for Alaska (John Green):  "The week before I left my family and Florida and the rest of my minor life to go to boarding school in Alabama, my mother insisted on throwing me a going-away party."
  3. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (Jesse Andrews): "I have no idea how to write this stupid book."
  4. The Book Thief (Markus Zusak): "First the Colors."
  5. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Ransom Riggs): "I had just come to expect that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen."
  6. The Fault in Our Stars (John Green): "Late in the summer of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently and devoted quite a bit of my free time to thinking about death."
  7. An Abundance of Katherines (John Green): "The morning after noted child prodigy Colin Singleton graduated from high school and got dumped for the nineteenth time by a girl named Katherine, he took a bath.
  8. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Sherman Alexie): "I was born with water on the brain."
  9. Eleanor & Park (Rainbow Rowell): "He'd stopped trying to bring her back."
  10. Thirteen Reasons Why (Jay Asher): "A shoebox-sized package is propped up against the front door at an angle."
These are some of the most popular contemporary novels - do their first words match their reputation?

Next time: Science Fiction Classics!