Wednesday, January 4, 2012

From The Top Shelf - Part 3.

Reading an interesting article this morning  that touched on a simple question: What are your favorite beginning scenes from SF/F?

Now I have read a decent amount of science fiction and fantasy works over the years, some great, some not so much. But I can admit there are some opening scenes that stick with you forever. Of all my favorite works I can think of two that leap to mind. Both of which reside on my top shelf, and both still manage to captivate my imagination.

The first such work, and one I still hold today as one of the greatest pieces of science fiction to date is Neuromancer by William Gibson. The book alone has received far more prestigious acclaim than my humble remarks but for me it's value lies not in a critics remarks or it's sales. Instead it's value lies in the story itself and the masterful telling.

For example, the opening lines alone seize me with a mental image that still speaks to me.

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

Such a simple sentence, one that paints the initial image of the book. How many times have, well some of us, looked at such an image on our t.v. screen? As a child even how much did that single sight often fill us with a sense of loss and sadness. Like the promise of so much had just been dashed away by forces beyond our comprehension or control.

The second opening scene that remains forever etched into my mind is that of Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers. Here it is the opening narrative itself that speaks to me. I can actually picture Rico as he sets in his drop pod waiting to be launched into action. There is a certain appeal in how a trained and experienced soldier can still get the jitters before a mission. The whole description of how they're delivered into battle and everything that is done to prepare them reinforces everything to come. It really lays the foundation.

Well, at least that's my two cents worth. What about you? What are your favorite beginning scenes?