First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but donโ€™t give anything else about the book away just yet โ€“ you need to hook the reader first
  • Finallyโ€ฆ reveal the book!

The Line:

“If you read nothing else we’ve sent home, please at least read this.”

This line drew me in immediately. Even if it did not come from one of my favourite science fiction authors (hint one!), I would have been interested in reading regardless.

What is it that grabs me about this line? I love how much it communicates in so few words. It immediately and succinctly sets up the book you are about to read as some sort of missive, from the narrator to the reader, and implies the narrator is in dire circumstances. The shortness of the novella (hint two!) adds to the impression of a letter-like communication. I enjoy the immediacy of that. The acknowledgement of the reader, and the closeness you feel to the narrator because of it.

The Reveal!

Blurb from Storygraph:

In the future, instead of terraforming planets to sustain human life, explorers of the galaxy transform themselves.

At the turn of the twenty-second century, scientists make a breakthrough in human spaceflight. Through a revolutionary method known as somaforming, astronauts can survive in hostile environments off-Earth using synthetic biological supplementations. They can produce antifreeze in sub-zero temperatures, absorb radiation and convert it for food, and conveniently adjust to the pull of different gravitational forces. With the fragility of the body no longer a limiting factor, human beings are at last able to explore neighbouring exoplanets long suspected to harbour life.

Ariadne is one such explorer. On a mission to ecologically survey four habitable worlds fifteen light-years from Earth, she and her fellow crewmates sleep while in transit, and wake each time with different features. But as they shift through both form and time, life back on Earth has also changed. Faced with the possibility of returning to a planet that has forgotten those who have left, Ariadne begins to chronicle the wonders and dangers of her journey, in the hope that someone back home might still be listening.