Monday, May 21, 2012

“Beginning” of the Week #15

This week’s “beginning” comes from Anne McCaffrey’s 1968 novel Dragonflight, the first book in her Dragonriders of Pern series. The late Ms. McCaffrey was one of the all-time great fantasy novelists, and her books are among the top fantasy classics in my view.

Lessa woke, cold. Cold with more than the chill of the everlasting clammy stone walls. Cold with the prescience of a danger stronger than the one ten full Turns ago that had then sent her, whimpering with terror, to hide in the watch-wher’s odorous lair.  
Rigid with concentration, Lessa lay in the straw of the redolent cheeseroom she shared as sleeping quarters with the other kitchen drudges. There was an urgency in the ominous portent unlike any other forewarning. She touched the awareness of the watch-wher, slithering on his rounds in the courtyard. It circled at the choke limit of its chain. It was restless, but oblivious to anything unusual in the predawn darkness.

– Anne McCaffrey, Dragonflight

Although this is a vintage novel, you’d hardly know if from her writing style, which has more of a modern day feel than some of the other vintage fantasy beginnings I’ve featured on this blog. Still, the question remains: does this opening have the elements of a great beginning? Let me know what you think.

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