IO9’s has done a nice little roundup of their favorite opening lines from science fiction novels. Two I like include:
- “The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.” — William Gibson, Neuromancer.
- “Physicist Leonardo Vetra smelled burning flesh, and he knew it was his own.” — Dan Brown, Angels & Demons.
A few of favorite opening lines, although not sci-fi include:
- “Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.” — Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude.
- “Not everybody knows how I killed old Phillip Mathers, smashing his jaw in with my spade; but first it is better to speak of my friendship with John Divney because it was he who first knocked old Mathers down by giving him a great blow in the neck with the special bicycle-pump which he manufactured himself out of a hollow iron bar.” — Flann O’Brien, The Third Policeman.
- “A green hunting cap squeezed the top of the fleshy balloon of a head.” — John Kennedy Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces.
- “Granted: I am an inmate of a mental hospital; my keeper is watching me, he never lets me out of his sight; there’s a peephole in the door, and my keeper’s eye is the shade of brown that can never see through a blue-eyed type like me.” — Gunter Grass, The Tin Drum.