Category Archives: Opening Lines

Lesann Berry’s Feed the Beast

feed_beastThe first episode of Lesann Berry’s Alternate History Archive began in The Digest Enthusiast book five. Below are the opening lines.

“Kiefer turned his back but the cops kept talking. Shoulders hunched down, he shuffled away. He hated pity. The last thing he wanted to deal with right now was some yahoo’s good intentions. The bottle in his pocket victimized him enough. Blinking, he counted off three breaths before scanning the alley entrance.”

Episode two appears in TDE6, and I’m pleased to report Kiefer will return in TDE7, due out in December 2017, which no longer seems so far off. Each episode of the Alternate History Archive includes an illustration by Michael Neno.

Opening Lines

magabook_1Selected from a digest featured in The Digest Enthusiast book four:

“The air of the city’s cheapest flophouse was thick with the smells of harsh antiseptic and unwashed bodies. The early Christmas snowstorm had driven in every bum who could steal or beg the price of admission, and the long rows of cots were filled with fully clothed figures.”

“Badge of Infamy” by Lester del Rey Galaxy Magabook #1

Galaxy Novel #31

gn31Opening lines of Shambleau by C.L. Moore, reprinted as Galaxy Novel #31 in 1958:

“Man has conquered space before. You may be sure of that. Somewhere beyond the Egyptians, in that dimness out of which come echoes of half-mythical names—Atlantis, Mu—somewhere back of history’s first beginnings there must have been an age when mankind, like us today, built cities of steel to house its star-roving ships and knew the names of the planets in their own native tongues—heard Venus’ people call their wet world “Sha-ardol” in that soft, sweet slurring speech and mimicked Mars’ gutteral “Lakkdiz” from the harsh tongues of Mars’ dryland dwellers.”

Galaxy Novel #25

gn25Opening lines of The Last Starship by Murray Leinster, reprinted as Galaxy Novel #25 in 1955:

“Kim Rendell stood by the propped-up Starshine in the transport hall of the primary museum on Alphin III. He regarded a placard under the spaceship with a grim and entirely mirthless amusement. He was unshaven and hollow-cheeked. He was even ragged. He was a pariah because he had tried to strike at the very foundation of civilization. He stood beside the hundred-foot, tapering hull, his appearance marking him as a blocked man.”

Available in a 2007 reprint from Wildside Press.

John Kuharik’s Wounded Wizard

griggJohn Kuharik’s fantasy series set in Buckthorn Burrough with Grigg, Doth, and Ladwick first appeared in The Digest Enthusiast book two in June 2015. A year later, the second story, “Wounded Wizard,” appeared in TDE4. John began work on another tale, but it grew in size and scope to become a novel. Last I heard, it’s in the works now.

Shown here is one of the original sketches by Michael Neno, who created the artwork for “Wounded Wizard.” The story opens as follows:

“When the Gnolls came over the lower walls and spilled into the streets of Buckthorn Burrough, its residents were ready for them.

“Men alongside women, these descendants of border ranchers joined their local militiamen to fight with swords and garden tools against the charging beasts. But commanders of the regular army within the castle walls, doubting their ability, unleashed a mortar attack upon friend and foe alike. The population and buildings were devastated. When the fires cooled, the Gnolls were defeated, but a once thriving community was now a ragged assortment of wounded veterans, resentful homeless, and gangs of hungry orphans.”

Born in Binghamton, NY, John M. Kuharik is a 1971 Rider College graduate, an Army veteran, and a career public health retiree. He loves alternate universes, and time travel, and spends ridiculous amounts of time playing fantasy MMORPG’s. His stories, “Brainboy,” “Don’t See How It Won’t Get Worse,” and “Suddenly Tired,” appeared in The Prairie Light Review.

Galaxy Novel #23

gn23Murder in Space by David V. Reed is the twenty-third Galaxy Novel, published in 1954 with a cover by Ed Emshwiller. The story first appeared in Amazing Stories May 1944.

Here’s the opening paragraph:
“It was one of those afternoons with which the colonial planet Mirabello is so often blessed. Its twin golden suns blazed merrily from the sky of flawless blue, and little puffs of breezes chased each other through poplars and willows, and the tall grass at the edge of the stream where Terwilliger Ames sat fishing was cool and fresh. If there was a word for such an afternoon, it was lazy—and if there was a word for Ames, well, that was lazy, too.”

Galaxy Novel #15

gn15Three Go Back by J. Leslie Mitchell is the fifteenth Galaxy Novel, published in 1953, with a cover by Richard Powers.

Opening lines:
“A SKYEY monster, lapis and azure-blue, it sailed out of the heat-haze that all morning had been drifting westward from the Bay of Biscay. It startled the crew of the Rio tramp and there was a momentary curry of grimy off-watches reaching the deck, and a great upward gape of astounded eyes and mouths. Then the second engineer, a knowledgeable man and discreet in friendship with the wireless operator, voiced explanations.”

Joe Wehrle, Jr.’s Strangers in Need

Strangers-in-NeedOpening lines to “Strangers in Need” by Joe Wehrle, Jr. from The Digest Enthusiast book four:

“The snow-covered hut stood alone, a tiny, silent bastion against the thoughtless winter’s cruelty, its smoke billowing up against the sombre gray sky. Through a chink in the wall, a small girl’s eyes gazed out at the icy stillness.”
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Note: A short hiatus over the Fourth holiday weekend, posts will resume on Wednesday, July 5th.

Galaxy Novel #14

gn14Isaac Asimov’s Pebble in the Sky is the fourteenth Galaxy Novel, published in 1953, with a cover by Richard Powers.

Here’s the opening paragraph:
“Two minutes before he disappeared forever from the face of the Earth he knew, Joseph Schwartz strolled along the pleasant streets of suburban Chicago quoting Browning to himself.”