Help with some great SF novel openings?

Tonight, at the Arlington Writers Group, we are doing an exercise on “beginnings”. The idea is for each person to read the opening page or so of a novel and then the group will discuss why it does or does not work. Being a science fiction writer, I am wont to choose a good science fiction novel opening, but my brain isn’t working well this afternoon. One possibility is Joe Haldeman’s Forever War, the opening of which goes something like:

“Tonight we’re going to show you eight silent ways to kill a man.” The guy who said that was a sergeant who didn’t look five years older than me. So if he’d ever killed a man, silently or otherwise, he’d done it as an infant.

But I am looking for other possibilities. Another one I was thinking of was Stephen King’s Carrie.

Any suggestions for science fiction novels that have really striking openings? Ones that really grab you as a reading? Help out a fellow having a low brain-power day.

About Jamie Todd Rubin

Jamie Todd Rubin writes fiction and nonfiction for a variety of publications including Analog, Clarkesworld, The Daily Beast, 99U, Daily Science Fiction, Lightspeed, InterGalactic Medicine Show, and several anthologies. He was featured in Lifehacker’s How I Work series. He has been blogging since 2005. By day, he manages software projects and occasionally writes code. He lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife and three children. Find him on Twitter at @jamietr.

7 thoughts on “Help with some great SF novel openings?

  1. I love the opening to Hannu Rajaniemi’s The Quantum Thief. “As always, before the warmind and I shoot each other, I try to make small talk.” It’s similar to the Haldeman one, but updated.

  2. I second the Quantum Thief’s opening.

    Going to an older book, although I might get some flack for it…I always thought the opening to Heinlein’s Friday got off on the right foot…

  3. Paul, I enjoyed Friday, but only vaguely recall the opening. Wasn’t that the one where Heinlein references the “beanstalk” in almost the first sentence?

Comments are closed.