- In "Nine Lives" Ursula K. Le Guin begins with She was alive inside, but dead outside, her face a black and dun net of wrinkles, tumors, cracks.
- In "Light of Other Days" Bob Shaw begins with Leaving the village behind, we followed the heady sweeps of the road up into a land of slow glass.
- Arthur C. Clarke begins "The Star" with It is three thousand light-years to the Vatican.
- Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore begin "Mimsy Were the Borogroves" with There's no use trying to describe either Unthahorsten or his surroundings, because for one thing, a good many million years had passed since 1942 Anno Domini, and, for an other, Unthahorsten wasn't on Earth, technically speaking.
- In "The Life and Times of Multivac" Isaac Asimov begins with The whole world was interested.
- In "The Singing Diamond" Robert L. Forward begins with My asteroid was singing.
- In "The Xi Effect" Philip Latham begins with For a week the team of Stoddard and Arnold had met with nothing but trouble in their solar infra-red exploration program.
If I had to summarize my reaction to these sentences, they would probably be "What the heck is going on here?" (rated-G version)
But the point is, I'm hooked. This is something to aspire to.
However, through the lens of history, many of these stories had awesome ideas and maybe less effective emotional impacts. For example, "Nine Lives" explores the idea: what if you were a clone, used to being surrounded by versions of yourself and that ended? Who or what would you be then? Could you even survive? Le Guin doesn't put us inside the head of the most affected character, however.
I think today's readers want both a big idea and a big emotional impact. What do you think? You'll have to read our upcoming August 31 issue of ElectricSpec and see if you think we pull it off. :)