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The Event

24 November 2010

Most science-fiction stories start with an event — something large that sets everything in motion. It can be the destruction of the earth, or the discovery of time travel, or, in my case, North Korea getting uppity (and yeah, I got a fair amount of email yesterday about the attack on Yeonpyeong. Not my fault, I promise). The event might not be “on camera” in the book, but it does set the stage for everything that comes after.

So, what’s your favorite kickoff event to a sci-fi story? The discovery of the obelisk in 2001? The civil war in Firefly? Share ’em below!

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. 24 November 2010 0810

    Oddly enough, I think one of the best events comes in one of the worst stories – the previously-mentioned Damnation Alley. The planet is knocked off its axis by nuclear blasts. That’s pretty cool, even if the ensuing drama is rubbish.

    My real favorite type of event (and you’ll be shocked by this, I’m sure) is when a robot achieves sentience. I think Asimov’s The Positronic Man is my favorite instance of this.

    • 24 November 2010 0812

      Er, Asmov & Silverberg’s The Positronic Man. I could just as easily have said Asimov’s The Bicentennial Man, since the former was built on the latter, but whatever.

    • 24 November 2010 1107

      Heh. Yeah, that was a cool concept, but so poorly executed after it was just sad. I’m planning a blog post on concept and execution — Damnation Alley would definitely fit into the “what not to do” column.

  2. 24 November 2010 0822

    I’m a big fan of the one from Michael Carroll’s Quantum Prophecy books. “10 years ago, all of the superhumans disappeared…”

    Not sure what my favourite is, though. Will have a think!

    • 24 November 2010 1023

      If that’s the opening line, it’s a hook for sure! That’s right up there with “Marley was dead, to begin with.”

      • 24 November 2010 1104

        The opening scene of each book in the series is another few minutes of how it happened. It’s really cool. Sadly not the opening line. πŸ™‚

    • 24 November 2010 1111

      Quantum Prophecy has a killer opening. Good call!

  3. Trace permalink
    24 November 2010 1022

    The first contact with the Kzin in Larry Niven’s early known space work.

    • 24 November 2010 1114

      Yeah, that set up Niven’s whole career. Which I like. πŸ™‚

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