Thursday, October 27, 2011

Best First Opening Lines of the Year (With Conditions)

I thought I'd do something fun in gearing up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) as well as the requisite "Best Of" lists that will populate this here bloggy-blog for the rest of the year, mostly. And that fun thing? Oh, you know, the 10 best first opening lines from novels or stories I've read this year - which means, of course, not all of these are from books or stories published in 2011, though most of them are. Are we having fun yet? Okay, great. Here goes:

10. "Interviewer: Can you introduce yourselves?
      "Alpha: We are third-generation intelligent agents of LogiComm Works, Inc., designed to calculate and settle agreements for our clients.
      "Beta: We are designed to filter out emotional noise factors that may prevent human agents from coming to an equitable resolution that maximizes efficiencies." - "Saving Face" by Shelly Li and Ken Liu (from Crossed Genres, January 2011)

9. "The tent is draped with strings of bare bulbs, with bits of mirror tied here and there to make it sparkle. (It doesn't look shabby until you've already paid.)" - Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti by Genevieve Valentine

8. "We sat on a hill. We watched the flames inside the balloons heat the fabric to neon colors. The children played Prediction." - Light Boxes by Shane Jones

7. "It began, in a way, with the midget hunchback tuk-tuk driver." - "Aphrodisia" by Lavie Tidhar (from Strange Horizons, August 2010)

6. "I'd never wanted to go to Earth until the doctor told me I couldn't, that my bones were too brittle." - "Long Enough and Just So Long" by Cat Rambo (from Lightspeed Magazine, Feb 2011)

5. "It is possible I already had some presentiment of my future." - The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolfe

4. "For years the air above the earth had begun sagging, suffused by a nameless, ageless eye of light." - There is No Year by Blake Butler

3. "In some places, time is a weak and occasional phenomenon. Unless someone claims time to pass, it might not, or does so only partly; events curl in on themselves to form spirals and circles." - "The Aunts" by Karin Tidbeck (from ODD? Anthology, October 2011)

2. "There is no book about me. Well, not yet. No matter." - "The Book of Phoenix: Excerpted from The Great Book" by Nnedi Okorafor (from Clarkesworld Magazine, March 2011)

1. "Morning light the sulphur color of the mine dumps seeps across Johannesburg's skyline and sears through my window. My own personal bat signal. Or a reminder that I really need to get curtains." - Zoo City by Lauren Beukes

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