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The Best Opening Lines in Science Fiction and Fantasy Books

These words hooked readers from the very beginning.


“I first saw the light in the city of Boston in the year 1857.”

Looking Backward

Looking Backward

By Edward Bellamy

“The year 1866 was signalized by a remarkable incident, a mysterious and puzzling phenomenon, which doubtless no one has yet forgotten.”

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

By Jules Verne

“No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.”

The War of the Worlds

The War of the Worlds

By H. G. Wells

“Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small, unregarded yellow sun.”


The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

By Douglas Adams

“We slept in what had once been the gymnasium.”

sci fi and fantasy female

The Handmaid’s Tale

By Margaret Atwood

best opening lines

“It was a pleasure to burn.”

Ray Bradbury books Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451

By Ray Bradbury

best opening lines

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

best first lines sci fi fantasy


By William Gibson

best opening lines

“There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”

first lines in sci fi fantasy

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

By C.S. Lewis

“It was a bright day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”

“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”

best first lines sci fi fantasy

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

By J.K. Rowling

best opening lines

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”

first lines in sci fi and fantasy

The Hobbit

By J.R.R. Tolkien

“All of this happened, more or less.”

best first lines sci fi fantasy

Slaughter-House Five

By Kurt Vonnegut