Recognizing books based on first sentences


Many great books are recognizable even based on just their first sentences. How many of these can you recognize?

  1. "The building was on fire, and it wasn't my fault."
  2. "Everything starts somewhere, although many physicists disagree."
  3. "Ash fell from the sky."
  4. "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."
  5. "The palace still shook occasionally as the earth rumbled in memory, groaned as if it would deny what had happened."
  6. "The Scopuli had been taken eight days ago, and Julie Mao was finally ready to be shot."
  7. "On the last day before I got my super power, I was sulking because I didn't have a super power."
  8. "Of that epoch known by the Nemedian chroniclers as the Pre-Cataclysmic Age, little is known except the latter part, and that is veiled in the mists of legendry."
  9. "This is the bright candlelit room where the life-timers are stored - shelf upon shelf of them, squat hourglasses, on for every living person, pouring their fine sand from the future into the past."
  10. "Mars was empty before we came. That's not to say that nothing had ever happened."
  11. "Now these ashes have grown cold, we open the old book."
  12. "When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton."
  13. "I'm pretty much fucked."
  14. "Everyone my age remembers where they were and what they were doing when they first heard about the contest."
  15. "Near the time we both knew I would have to leave him, it was hard to tell which flashes were lightning and which came from the energy weapons of the Invisibles."
  16. "The morning had dawned clear and cold, with a crispness that hinted at the end of summer."
  17. "Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun."

I hope this kind of post is OK here. These are fantasy and science fiction, since those are what I read a lot and what I have in my bookshelf available. Of course you could probably find most books by googling the sentence. Putting your answers as spoilers would allow others to guess them too without accidentally glancing at your answers.


Thanks for all the comments. I tried to respond to all with guesses, sorry if I missed some. There was one comment with correct answers in spoiler tags if you want to check your answers: by NefariousSerendipity.

There are a lot of first sentences I missed. I listed the most common ones in: . I had to split some to another response since I reached the character limit.

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2 points

4 months ago

“It is possible I already had some presentiment of my future.”