Friday, April 18, 2008

Hugo Winning First Line Quiz!

Below I have the first line of every Hugo winning novel (with some leeway in trimming quotes and skipping recap prologues for some of them). How many can you identify? Answers below posted as the first comment.

Know the character?
There's a character named in each of these lines, sometimes the main character and sometimes someone else...

1. "I don't believe it, of course," said Golan Trevize, standing on the wide steps of Seldon Hall and looking out over the city as it sparkled in the sunlight.

2. Rooter was at once the most difficult and the most helpful of the pequeninos.

3. There were five of us - Carruthers and the new recruit and myself, and Mr. Spivens and the verger.

4. My name is Greta Forzane.

5. What David always hated most about the Sumner family dinners was the way everyone talked about him as if he were not there.

6. "No good!" said Lamont, sharply.

7. His followers called him Mahasamatman and said he was a god.

8. In the week before their departure to Arrakis, when all the final scurrying about had reached a nearly unbearable frenzy, an old crone came to visit the mother of the boy, Paul.

9. My name is Robinette Broadhead, in spite of which I am male.

10. Brother Francis Gerard of Utah might never have discovered the blessed documents, had it not been for the pilgrim with girded loins who appeared during that young novice's Lenten fast in the desert.

11. For a week Mr. R. Childan had been anxiously watching the mail.

12. "Ship duty!" chortled the ensign four ahead of Miles in line.

13. Once upon a time there was a Martian named Valentine Michael Smith.

14. In the nighttime heart of Beirut, in one of a row of general-address transfer booths, Louis Wu flicked into reality.

15. Mr. Dunworthy opened the door to the laboratory and his spectacles promptly steamed up.

16. The bells of St. Mark's were ringing changes up on the mountain when Bud skated over to the mod parlor to upgrade his skull gun.

17. The Hegemony Consul sat on the balcony of his ebony spaceship and played Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C-sharp Minor on an ancient but well-maintained Steinway while great, green, saurian things surged and bellowed in the swamps below.

18. Shadow had done three years in prison.

Know the book?
The first line of these books says something about the book itself which you might recognize...

19. Just ahead, on Third Street, the massive facade of San Francisco's Southern Pacific depot loomed.

20. The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.

21. The door swung shut silently behind them, cutting off the light, music, and wild celebration of the ballroom.

22. Streaker is limping like a dog on three legs.

23. The row of comconsole booths lining the passenger concourse of Escobar's largest commercial orbital transfer station had mirrored doors, divided into diagonal sections by rainbow-colored lines of lights.

24. "I've watched through his eyes, I've lisented through his ears, and I tell you he's the one."

25. Ista leaned forward between the crenellations atop the gate tower, the stone gritty between her pale hands, and watched in numb exhaustion as the final mourning party cleared the castle gate below.

26. The crown grew heavier with each passing year.

27. His wife had held him in her arms as if she could keep death away from him.

28. I always get the shakes before a drop.

29. Stock cue SOUND: "Presenting SCANALYZER, Engrelay Satelserv's unique thrice-per-day study of the big big scene, the INdepth INdependent INmediate INterface between you and your world!"

30. The villagers of Little Hangleton still called it "the Riddle House," even though it had been many years since the Riddle family had lived there.

31. The first bit of dumb luck came disguised as a public embarrassment for the European Center for Defense Against Disease.

32. Mars is free now. We're on our own. No one tells us what to do.

33. I see in Lunaya Pravda that Luna City Council has passed on first reading a bill to examine, license, inspect - and tax - public food vendors operating inside municipal pressure.

34. Some years ago there was in the city of York a society of magicians.

35. "You are a kallikanzaros," she announced suddenly.

36. The manhunt extended across more than one hundred light-years and eight centuries.

The Challenging Ones...
These offer little to no clue. Good luck.

37. The stone door slammed.

38. It was from the air that the rawness of the land showed most: vast tracts where humanity had as yet made no difference, deserts unclaimed, stark as moons, scrag and woolwood thickets unexplored except by orbiting radar.

39. Some stories of terror and the supernormal start with a moonlit face at a diamond-paned window, or an old document in spidery handwriting, or the baying of a hound across lonely moores.

40. Sooner or later, it was bound to happen.

41. One day the sky fell.

42. Everybody falls, and we all land somewhere.

43. There was a wall. It did not look important.

44. How strange, that such an insignificant little world should come to matter so much.

45. "Tonight we're going to show you eight silent ways to kill a man."

46. The blackness was absolute.

47. If a man walks in dressed like a hick and acting as if he owned the place, he's a spaceman.

48. How to explain? How to describe? Even the omniscient viewpoint quails.

49. The little boy was frightened.

50. Explosion! Concussion! The vault doors burst open.

51. I am afraid.

52. It was not quite completely dark, thin blue moonlight threading down through the canopy of leaves.

53. The noise was ended now.

54. The stars, like all man's other ventures, were an obvious impracticality, as rash and improbable an ambition as the first venture of man onto Earth's own great oceans, or into the air, or into space.

55. I'll make my report as if I told a story, for I was taught as a child on my homeworld that Truth is a matter of the imagination.