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Opening passages

These are opening paragraphs from several recent (most of them anyway) SFFH novels.

Passages are identified at the bottom of the page.

When Sutty went back to Earth in the daytime, it was always to the village. At night, it was the Pale. [4]

This is a story about something that happened a very long time ago, at the very top of a Cathedral that stands on the edge of a little town in a country that is very far away. [7]

The first person I met at Eden-Olympia was a psychiatrist, and in many ways it seems only too apt that my guide to this 'intelligent' city in the hills above Cannes should have been a specialist in mental disorders. I realize now that a kind of waiting madness, like a state of undeclared war, haunted the office buildings of the business park. For most of us, Dr Wilder Penrose was our amiable Prospero, the psychopomp who steered our darkest dreams towards the daylight. I remember his eager smile when we greeted each other, and the evasive eyes that warned me away from his outstretched hand. Only when I learned to admire this flawed and dangerous man was I able to think of killing him. [1]

Turai is a magical city. From the docks at Twelve Seas to Moon Eclipse Park, from the stinking slums to the Imperial Palace, a visitor can find all manner of amazing persons, astonishing items and unique services. You can get drunk and swap tales with Barbarian mercenaries in the dockside taverns, watch musicians, tumblers and jugglers in the streets, dally with whores in Kushni, transact business with visiting Elves in Golden Crescent, consult a Sorcerer in Truth Is Beauty Lane, gamble on chariots and gladiators at the Stadium Superbius, hire an Assassin, eat, drink, be mery and consult an apothecary for your hangover. If you find a translator you can talk to the dolphins in the bay. If you're still in need of fresh experiences after all that, you could go and see the new dragon in the King's zoo. [8]

He was called the Leader, young Daric--the demiurge by some. Hard to grasp, I know, but he was sole and singular. The crown of a stellar empire! And if you were unlucky enough to be summoned to the palace, you were made to scatter your shades beforehand--no shades in the Leader's presence, ever--and once there you would bow, inwardly and outwardly, and you would sing the Leader's anthem, and sing it well, like this... [3]

You're not here. Try to remember this.
   Try not to remember where you really are.
   You are in a twisty maze of dark corridors, all alike. You slide down the last of them as smoothly as a piston in a syringe, and are then ejected into the suddenly overwhelming open space of the interior. Minutes ago, you saw outer space, the universe, and the whole shebang itself didn't look bigger than this. Outer space is, fundamentally, familiar. It's only the night sky, without the earth beneath your feet. [5]

Summer in Istanbul. Roses in a hammered silver urn. Fresh-ground coffee in a shiny brass hand-mill. The rich tang of fertilizer and fuel oil hung over the damaged café. Starlitz could smell the hot caramel aftertaste of the car bomb, right through the baked metal, smashed cement, and burnt upholstery. [10]

The phone rang a few minutes after four in the morning. "You like accidents, Dar. You owe it to yourself to come see this one." [9]

Believe me, pards, we're living in an age of myths and miracles. [6]

Tancredi took his hands off the wheel again and waved them. "--so I envy you, Dr. Padway. Here in Rome we have still some work to do. But pah! It is all filling in little gaps. Nothing big, nothing new. And restoration work. Building contractor's work. Again, pah!" [2]

Turjan sat in his workroom, legs sprawled out from the stool, back against and elbows on the bench. Across the room was a cage; into this Turjan gazed with rueful vexation. The creature in the cage returned the scrutiny with emotions beyond conjecture. [11]
1] J.G. Ballard, Super-Cannes (UK)
2] L. Sprague de Camp, Lest Darkness Fall (first published 1941)
3] David Herter, Ceres Storm
4] Ursula K. Le Guin, The Telling
5] Ken MacLeod, Cosmonaut Keep (UK)
6] Michael Moorcock, King of the City (UK)
7] Catherine Salton, Raphael and the Noble Task
8] Martin Scott, Thraxas (UK) [World Fantasy Award winner]
9] Dan Simmons, Darwin's Blade
10] Bruce Sterling, Zeitgeist
11] Jack Vance, The Dying Earth (first published 1950); collected in Tales of the Dying Earth

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