Saturday, March 20, 2010


In the hunt for a picture about a certain author (for a post to come later), I stumbled upon a blog post which gave me a rather interesting idea. I think they way they played this game of sorts works much better, so I'll describe the original first. Blogger & his friend read the first four sentences of their favorite novels to one another over the phone. Whoever was being read to gave the opening a score before revealing what book it was. As the blogger points out, sure, some author's voices are instantly recognizable, but some are not. And regardless, that's just a damn grand idea. There is another element to the post which I find quite grand, regarding the disparity which often exists between an author's writing voice and his real voice, and it touches upon the author whom I was looking for a picture of (and really, it is so easy to forget what he sounded like as a person, because his writing is just so different), but that's not the idea. There are some snippets from the source the person was using, if you're interested in hearing voices, though I imagine for a few them you could find copies of interviews and things (and in fact I know the only recording of ACD exists on YT, with full video of the interview).

Anyway, as I said above, I think it works better over the phone, but I do like that game of scoring the opening sentences of favorite novels. So, for sake of something to do while I think of authors to write my AAW post about, I reckon we can play the game here in blog-land. Admittedly, this is also because I'm curious to see how differently you people would grade them. Copypasta game to your place if you feel like having others score your favorites. Just a few simple ground rules: Some of the sentences may be instantly recognizable, either because you're familiar with the story or the voice is apparent. If so, great, but try to leave your personal biases about the author out of the scoring. Pertaining to personal biases, DO NOT look up any of the sentences. If you're unfamiliar with a segment, google it, and find it's from, say, Wuthering Heights, well, odds are good you're going to let that effect your decision. Scoring ought to be done blindly.

Now then, on with the game:

1. Like Alison Carter, I was born in Derbyshire in 1950. Like her, I grew up with the familiar limestone dales of the White Peak, no stranger to the winter blizzards that regularly cut us off from the rest of the country. It was in Buxton, after all, that snow once stopped play in a county cricket match in June. So when Alison Carter went missing in December 1963, it meant more to me and my classmates than it can have done to most other people.

2. There are moments of great luxury in the life of a secret agent. There are assignments on which he is required to act the part of a very rich man; occasions when he takes refuge in good living to efface the memory of danger and the shadow of death; and times when, as was now the case, he is a guest in the territory of an allied secret service. From the moment the BOAC Stratocruiser taxied up to the International Air Terminal at Idlewild, James Bond was treated like royalty. When he left the aircraft with the other passengers he had resigned himself to the notorious purgatory of the US Health, Immigration and Customs machinery.

3. The girl was headed for a fall. Carolyn watched her from the next table, with the appalled fascination of someone watching a car hurtle over a cliff in slow motion. The girl was breaking all the unwritten rules of the bar. Making herself look like easy prey.

4. The girl screamed once, only the once. Even that, however, was a minor slip on his part. That might have been the end of everything, almost before it had begun. Neighbors inquisitive, the police called in to investigate.

5. When Beyond Birthday committed his third murder, he attempted an experiment. Namely, to see if it were possible for a human being to die of internal hemorrhaging without rupturing any organs. Specifically, he drugged his victim so they fell unconscious, tied them up, and proceeded to beat their left arm thoroughly, being careful not to break the skin. He was hoping to bring about enough hemorraghing to cause death from blood loss, but this attempt ended, sadly, in failure.

6. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Winston Smith, his chin nuzzled up into his breast in an effort to escape the vile wind, slipped quickly through the glass doors of Victory Mansions, though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering along with him. The hallway smelt of boiled cabbage and old rag mats. At one end of it a colored poster, too large for indoor display, had been tacked to the wall.

1 comment:

  1. 1. Liked a lot, obviously I now want to know who Alison Carter was and where she went etc.. :P Um that's all. I liked, onto the next one.

    2.Is this perhaps about James Bond? Actually, I wanted to not like it as soon as it said "secret agent" but the writing, the flow of it, made it too easy to read on. I know if I picked up that book it'd be read non-stop.

    3. Aye, another good one I thought. Immediately I feel like I too am watching this girl, want to know more etc

    4. Ok, so I know this one and love the book. :P I like the beginning but have got to be honest, it doesn't draw me in that much. Don't ask me why because the author is a legend and the story is really good... Just me being weird...

    5. Oh, haha I know this one too. Very good beginning in that the horrifying nature grabs your attention and makes you read onwards.

    6. Well since this one is known too (sorry, I read a lot :P) I have to say I like it. And that's not because I like the book (I do though) but because it does prod at me and make me want to know more... I think maybe the fact his full name is used has a part to play in it (there are other things too but I can't identify them atm)

    :~D That was fun, and I may take you up on doing a similar thing next week if that's ok..?