Here is a kind of reverse Ex Libris -- i.e., my opening line(s) cast anonymously among a mix of published opening lines by more or less widely-known authors. To keep the hunt sporting, I leave open the possibility that none of the following is, in fact, mine.
Once upon a time when the world was young there was a Martian named Smith.
The Deliverator belongs to an elite order, a hallowed sub-category. He's got esprit up to here.
The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new.
I was a palm-wine drinkard since I was a boy of ten years of age. I had no other work more than to drink palm-wine in my life.
"Nothing to be done." "I'm beginning to come around to the same opinion..."
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.
So. The Spear-Danes in days gone by and the kings who ruled them had courage and greatness.
"I'd like a bloody castle," the fat diner had said.
At a certain village in La Mancha, which I shall not name, there lived not long ago one of those old-fashioned gentlemen who are never without a lance upon a rack, an old target, a lean horse, and a greyhound.
Abode where lost bodies roam each searching for its lost one. Vast enough for search to be in vain. Narrow enough for flight to be in vain.
She enters, deliberately, gravely, without affectation, circumspect in her motions (as she's been taught), not stamping too loud, not dragging her legs after her, but advancing sedately, discreetly, glancing briefly at the empty rumpled bed, the cast-off nightclothes. She hesitates.
Incredible the first animal that dreamed of another animal.
Would I find La Maga? Most of the time it was just a case of my putting in an appearance, going along the Rue de Seine to the arch leading into the Quai de Conti, and I would see her slender form against the olive-ashen light which floats along the river as she crossed back and forth on the Pont des Arts, or leaned over the iron rail looking at the water.
This is how it begins. How the beginning of it begins. And she tells the beginning of it, but that is not the beginning. Not the way she tells it.
riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and environs.
In this dark adored adorned gehenna say your farewells my very beautiful one my very strong one my very indomitable one my very learned one my very ferocious one my very gentle one my best beloved to what they, the women, call affection tenderness or gracious abandon.
In a sense, I am Jacob Horner.
You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino's new novel, If on a winter's night a traveler
The doctor with whom I discussed the question told me to begin my work with a historical analysis of my smoking habit.
Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.
Once when I was six years old I saw a magnificent picture in a book, called True Stories from Nature
, about the primeval forest. It was a picture of a boa constrictor in the act of swallowing an animal.
Nancy Drew rose from the sofa where she had been sitting. The book she had found so engaging yesterday could not keep her interest today.
Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down the road and this moocow that was coming down the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo...
When Mrs. Frederick C. Little's second son arrived, everybody noticed that he was not much bigger than a mouse.
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
Tattered as the others this one was done in a fine close hand. "TL Rooke -- Purveyor of Secrets." She did not press the bell.
"I declare, I don't know what makes me so nervous this afternoon! I have the strangest feeling -- just as though something were about to happen."
Once an angry man dragged his father along the ground through his own orchard. "Stop!" cried the groaning old man at last. "Stop! I did not drag my father beyond this tree."
"What's it going to be then, eh?"