100 Best First Lines from Novels

Discussion in 'General Discussion Forum' started by Barrett, Sep 14, 2009.

  1. Barrett

    Barrett Still Mildly Glowing

    Jun 8, 2007
    While browsing I stumbled upon this.
    There are already a ton of top x lists on the net, but I find this one very interesting.
    What do you think about it?
  2. UnidentifiedFlyingTard

    UnidentifiedFlyingTard Vault Fossil

    Mar 12, 2009
    Call me Ishmael.
  3. Cimmerian Nights

    Cimmerian Nights So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Aug 20, 2004
    Warms me cold, black heart to see Neuromancer up there with the literary heavyweights.
  4. Dragula

    Dragula Stormtrooper oTO Orderite

    Nov 6, 2008
    Pseudo intellectual drivel.
  5. Ravager69

    Ravager69 Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Dec 21, 2007
    Good read.
  6. Member of Khans

    Member of Khans Vault Dweller

    Aug 26, 2004
  7. Buxbaum666

    Buxbaum666 Heterostructured Nanorod oTO Orderite

    Dec 5, 2003
    Terry Pratchett, The Light Fantastic.[/quote]
  8. SkynetV4

    SkynetV4 Mildly Dipped

    Jan 25, 2005
    One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin.
  9. jero cvmi

    jero cvmi Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    Oct 8, 2008
    A spectre is haunting Europe—the spectre of Communism.
  10. Ohaimerk

    Ohaimerk Carbon Dated and Proud

    Mar 30, 2009
    Wasn't in the list, but Dickens' Christmas Carol is, while not the most delightful story I have ever read, written with enough wit and charm to choke a python.

    "Marley was dead: to begin with."

    The first few paragraphs describing Marley's state of existence is the best part of any story in history.

  11. SuAside

    SuAside Testament to the ghoul lifespan

    May 27, 2004
    how the fuck does stuff like "Call me Ishmael." or "I am an invisible man." rank?

    and the rest of the list? pffft, it's ok i guess... but a single book by Chesterton or Vonnegut contains more memorable quotes than that entire list put together?
  12. Tagaziel

    Tagaziel Panzerkatze Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Dec 10, 2003
    So it goes.
  13. SimpleMinded

    SimpleMinded Vault Fossil

    Jun 17, 2003
    Suaside, I thought the same thing at first, but it is OPENING lines.

    Honestly, I think that really takes a lot out of it as there are so many wonderful lines buried deep in the pages of books. Still, I guess it would be too tremendous of a task to make it just "best lines in a book"
  14. SuAside

    SuAside Testament to the ghoul lifespan

    May 27, 2004
    well, all lines from one book vs the first lines of the entire collective works of humankind? i'd surely hope the second wins, because it's not very convincing from what i've read here, simpleminded.
  15. SimpleMinded

    SimpleMinded Vault Fossil

    Jun 17, 2003
    Ah I follow what you were saying now. I don't know, I find it pretty limiting judging purely off of first lines since you'd think there's some sort of restrictions on what a first line can contain as it's your FIRST exposure to anything in the book.

    That's what saddens me about this. There are so many rich lines in books... why limit it as such?
  16. Dirk Magirk

    Dirk Magirk Oscillating Presence oTO Orderite

    Oct 30, 2008
    It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
  17. Ravager69

    Ravager69 Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Dec 21, 2007
    It's about how the author creates the atmosphere for his book. First effect is crucial.
  18. AnTi90d

    AnTi90d First time out of the vault

    Sep 3, 2009
    It was the year they finally immanetized the Eschaton ~ The Illuminatus! Trilogy (The Eye In The Pyramid)

    Those three books have got to be my favorite books ever written. Such a brilliantly written work of fiction.. Its sad that not many have even heard of them.
  19. Lukus

    Lukus Testament to the ghoul lifespan

    May 11, 2003
    My favorite "first line" is in Swedish, from an illustrated kids bedtime book of some 20 pages or so (just a guess from memory). It reads "Allt hade gått åt pipan för Sunkan". (From "Sunkan Flyger", Barbro Lindgren). I find it very hard to translate in a just way due to the use of a special Swedish expression, but it means sort of "Everything had gone to hell for Sunkan", though not as powerful/dark as 'gone to hell', but more playful. (Literally; "Everything had "gone to the pipe" for Sunkan". Why "going to the pipe" is bad, I dunno, but it is in the expression.) So yer, everything Sunkan knew had basically gone down the drain, which probably is a better translation. But something "going down the drain" is an expression that at least I don't find to be very playful or immature. At least for me, things can't really "go to the pipe" for anyone who is over the age of 10 and have any problems that aren't actually funny if you stop to think about. (Which I guess is an opinion I've established much thanks to this book.)

    The text continues to explain that his cat has gone missing, his mother was being stupid, a dog had nicked his football, his daddy didn't hug him, etc. All he was left with in the world was a wooden stick he had found outdoors (and a pretty crappy stick at that), and a string that he had tied some empty cans to, for some reason. (Probably empty beer cans, due to the potential drinking problem of his father who never listens.) He used that item to rattle with - ie, the rattling was the main activity one could engage in by using it. The stick, he used to poke into holes of trees. (Innuendo?) Anyway, when you're down to a stick and empty cans tied to a piece of string, you know you've hit rock bottom.

    SPOILER OMG! Then Sunkan grows a couple of magic wings and flies around town and impresses all the people, and find his missing cat and his football, and all becomes well.
  20. UniversalWolf

    UniversalWolf eaten by a grue.

    Aug 28, 2005
    I don't understand how something like this merits the list:
    It's supposed to be a great opening line, which means it ought to have some meaning in and of itself with no reference to anything else. Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself? - it means nothing on it's own. I can think of 100 better opening lines than that. It doesn't even paint an interesting picture.

    There are several on the list of a similar nature.

    Heh. Reminds me of the expression, "on the pipe," which means you're smoking crack, and thus insane.

    Whomever added Mrs. Dalloway to the list was on the pipe. :mrgreen: