Recently, I started reworking a draft of a science fiction manuscript that I penned years ago. First, I reread most of the book, then I set me mind to working out some plot kinks. It took me a few days to change the motivation for my character, but after I did, the manuscript has flowed.

The character in my manuscript, Devon, lives in the future. School’s have changed and have adjusted to technology shifts. Once school in particular, CPU, holds more interest than just academic for Devon, however. His father, a teacher at CPU, has mysteriously vanished. Devon of course is determined to find him, but he must gain admission first. Along the way, a new type of computer virus invades the virtual network of the school. Devon sets out to determine the cause.

This plot twist provided me with a much better scene opener and motivation for my point of view character. The first sentences in a book is crucial. You either grab your reader and pull them in for the long haul or push them away. Here are a few of the best book openers from the science fiction genre. Let’s see how the masters start. Ask yourself if you want to read on.

The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel. —William Gibson, Neuromancer

“‘I’ve watched through his eyes, I’ve listened through his ears, and I tell you he’s the one.'” – Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

“He woke, and remembered dying.” – Ken MacLeod, The Stone Canal

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking 13.” 1984, George Orwell.

“It was a pleasure to burn.” Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury.

“Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-eight million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.”

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams.