“High Commander Brennen Caldwell rushed upship from his sleeping cabin.”
–Kathy Tyers, First sentence of her novel, Daystar. Marcher Lord Press, 2012.
Kathy Tyers is a master of point of view. I admire how in ten perfectly chosen words she gives me time, place and action, as well as the promise of genre. I know not only that I’m reading science fiction, but the type of Sci Fi I can expect. I’m thrilled to realize that I’m in the POV of an officer and that, inside his skin, I’m going to fight battles in space. Just the Sci Fi I was hoping for!
I put my copy of Daystar beside my bed to read again and pull a few books from the shelf, just to see how some of my hero writers have given me the promise of genre, along with time & place & in-the-skin. I gave them 2 sentences, max, at the start of the book…
1. On a slow, chilly day in December, shortly after the Lakers overcame a sixteen-point halftime deficit and beat New Jersey, I got a call from a murderer.
2. One winter shortly before the six weeks war, my tomcat, Petronius the Arbiter, and I lived in an old farmhouse in Conneticut. I doubt if it is there any longer, as it was near the edge of the blast area of the Manhattan near-miss, and those old frame buildings burn like tissue paper.
3. As I sat in the bath tub, soaping a meditative foot and singing, if I remember correctly, “Pale Hands I Loved Beside the Shalimar,” it would be deceiving my public to say that I was feeling boomps-a-daisy. The evening that lay before me promised to be one of those sticky evenings, no good to man or beast.
4. “We should start back,” Gared urged as the woods began to grow dark around them. “The Wildings are dead.”
Match em! With the craft these writers bring to the page, you might set yourself…20 seconds?
o Robert Heinlein, The Door Into Summer. Fantasy House, 1956.
o GRR Martin, A Game of Thrones. Bantam, 1996.
o Jonathan Kellerman, Rage. Penguin, 2005.
o PG Wodehouse, Bertie Wooster Sees It Through. Simon and Schuster, 1955.
Inviting Comments, below. Got any great POV promise of genre starts to add here?
Bonus Question: Kathy Tyers wrote her opener and gave us time, place and genre without using the word “as”. Any others equal this feat?