Every first page is a challenge, often happily so. We have to establish time and place, hint at the central character and establish tone and authority that lets the reader know she is in good hands.
But Moliere said, The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.
As I leaf through Issue 4 of Pulp Literature, I am struck by the excellent craft of the opening lines throughout. Here’s a challenge for you: match these wonderful first sentences with author and story title.
- I’m baking myself a boyfriend, kneading him out with my hands, my elbows, my shoulders.
- The boy fell last.
- If my mother had insisted it be above the knee, I would have said something.
- My name is Chouko (‘butterfly gGirl’) Takeda, and I was born on August 29th, 1967, in a little town called Slocan, BC, just outside of where the old Japanese internment camp used to be.
- Standing on her front porch, her eyes crinkle up in that way I love, the laugh lines flowing up from her cheeks, the shadows, as the moon rises overhead, lacing her cheeks.
- I was taking a piss and I fell over.
- The fight with Carollus was the end of my formal training as a magician.
- There is a particular and odious smell that permeates the underworld.
- Soldier, Wake by Susanna Kearsley
- Victory Girl by Ace Baker
- Doughboy Lovers and the Appetites of Desire by Karlo Yeager
- Things to Live For by Richard Gropp
- Blackthorne & Rose: Agents of DIRE by KG McAbee
- Below the Knee by Susan Pieters
- The Death of Me by KL Mabbs
- Allaigna’s Song: Overture by JM Landels
We will send a free ebook issue of your choice if you are the first person to correctly match these first lines with their titles. Put your answers in the comment section below.
First pages and opening lines… say, what was Moliere’s first line? I checked out the start of his most famous oeuvre, Tartuffe….
“Mme. Pernelle: Let’s go, Flipote, let’s go. I hate this place.”
Not bad at all, sir. Well played.
We are pleased as punch to announce our nominations for the Pushcart Prize. How did we pick them? It was hard. Have you even looked at a fantastic menu and couldn’t decide what to order? Twice Sue’s had the pleasure of dining at renowned Vij’s restaurant in Vancouver. Both times she asked the owner which dish he’d recommend, and his reply was the same: how can a parent choose his favourite child? As publishers, we find ourselves in a similarly impossible position trying to pick favourites, but by studying the inclinations of each prize, we recommend the stories we think stand the best chance of winning each competition. The Pushcarts are geared to literary fiction, which we have in each issue, but we proved our cross-genre dedication by nominating a literary vampire story. (Think they’ll notice?) The competition is fierce for these awards, but we know these stories are gems. And win or lose, we trust the authors of these stories will feel how much we value them in our magazine.
Nominated for the Pushcart Prize 2015:
We have also have suggested the following stories for Imaginarium 4, an anthology of Canadian Spec Fic by Chizine.
In addition, ‘Blackthorne & Rose: Agents of DIRE’ by KG McAbee has been submitted for a Bram Stoker Award.
Stay tuned for the announcement of our Journey Prize nominations. And hey, all you members of the SFWA, now’s your chance to be a hero and nominate a favourite fantasy or science fiction story for a Nebula Award! If you’d like a complete list of our stories in that genre, just let us know. We’d also like to hear from you if there is one or more of our stories you think ought to be submitted for other prizes.
Finally, the estimable CC Humphreys has finished judging our very own Raven Cover Story Contest and we’ll be announcing the winners on Monday. To whet your appetite, here, in no particular order, is the list of finalists:
- ‘The Hemisphere Stone’ by Mike Glyde
- ‘Dear Louis’ by Sara Cedeno
- ‘Claws In’ by Ace Baker
- ‘Odd Jobs’ by KL Mabbs
- ‘Family Relics’ by Katherine Wagner
- ‘The Ravens’ by Anna Belkine
- ‘The Inner Light’ by Krista Wallace
- ‘The Jealous Valley’ by Kiril Lavarevski
Congratulations to all these authors and best of luck in the final judgment!
To celebrate the spookiest day of the year, we are giving away pdf copies of the Autumn 2014 issue! This issue contains the risen dead in Wallace’s Scotland, zombies roaming the streets of Victorian London, as well as wolves, golems and aliens! For today only you can find these chilling, haunting stories here.
That’s the treat. What’s the trick? Absolutely none. This is a free gift for followers of our blog. We sincerely hope you enjoy this issue as you huddle by the fire while goblins roam the streets tonight.
However if you enjoy the stories and the spirit moves you to leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads, that would be a treat for us!
Happy Reading & Happy Hallowe’en!
Jen, Sue & Mel