Favorite Stories

  • All time Favorite: 'Perdido Street Station' by China Mieville
  • Second Place: 'Perfume' by Patrick Suskind
  • Third Place: 'Cry to Heaven' by Anne Rice
  • Lovecraft, H.P. - DreamQuest of Unknown Kadath
  • Lovecraft, H.P. - The Case of Charles Dexter Ward
  • Lovecraft, H.P. - At the Mountains of Madness
  • Lee, Tanith - Flatearth Books (1-3)
  • Rice, Anne - Vampire Cronicles (1-4)
  • Cervantes - Don Quixote
  • Bradley, Marion Zimmer - Mists of Avalon
  • Hesse, Hermann - Steppenwolf
  • Hesse, Hermann - Beneath the Wheel
  • Kurzweil, Allen - A Case of Curiosities
  • Lem, Stanislaw - Memoirs Found in a Bathtub
  • Moorcock, Micheal - Behold the Man
  • Thomas, Sue - Correspondence
  • Bester, Alfred - The Demolished Man
  • Adams, Douglas - Life, the Universe and Everything
  • Cornwell, Bernard - Enemy of God
  • Kay, Guy Gavriel - Tigana
  • Borges, Jorge Luiz - The Secret Miracle
  • Bradbury, Ray - The Watchful Poker Chip of H. Matise
  • Carrington, Leonora - As they Rode Along the Edge
  • Disch, Thomas M. - 5 Eggs
  • Hoffman, Nina Kiriki - Stillborn
  • Lovecraft, H.P. - The Statement of Randolph Carter
  • Lovecraft, H.P. - The Call of Cthulhu
  • Lovecraft, H.P. - The Music of Erich Zann
  • Lovecraft, H.P. - The Quest of Iranon
  • Martin, George R.R. - Nightflyers
  • Mieville, China - Iron Council
  • Poe, Edgar Allan - The Fall of the House of Usher
  • Zelazny, Roger - For A Breath I Tarry
  • Bantock, Nick -The Museum at Purgatory
  • Moore, Alan - The Watchmen
  • Barlowe, Wayne Douglas - Barlowe's Inferno
Author Comments: 

My top 5 authors are (not really in any order):
Anne Rice
HP Lovecraft
Tanith Lee
Herman Hesse
Stanislaw Lem
China Mieville

Don't quite know what to say about this list, except to say thanks for rounding them up from comments all over TL - and elsewhere. [And, Jim, did you notice he slipped in another promo for Alexlit? They must be paying him.] Lovecraft's best and most horrifying, imo, is THE RATS IN THE WALLS. Have you read it? Must say, Cervantes looks somewhat out of place here.

One of the stories listed here has given me the idea for a new list. You'll see what I mean.

I put the Alexlit plug in for a couple of reasons but the biggest one is that I hate when someone I don't know says, "You absolutely HAVE to read this it is the best book ever written!" It just doesn't make sense to think that you'll also love the book until you know more about a person's reading tastes. So I'm kind of saying these are my favorites but that doesn't mean that you will even like them at all. If you want real, quantitative, recommendations try Alexlit.

Haven't got to _The Rats in the Walls_ yet but I'm definitely looking forward to it. I plan on doing all Lovecraft's stuff sooner or later, and I have read all the long stuff so it shouldn't be that hard.

I always thought _Don Quixote_ was some big serious literary work so I stayed away from it, but then I saw it was on tape and thought well I am 50% Mexican, and I really should read more classics. I was totally wrong about the serious part. I laughed my ass off, through half the book. I loved the long winded conversational style of Quixote and all the creative adventures. I would suggest it to anyone, except that it's length could be rather scary to slower readers.

You know Bertie I have to confess I don't think I've checked out anyone else's lists. I'll head over to yours right now.

You have a weird sense of humour, Rhaam. What do you mean you haven't checked out anyone else's lists?

About that idea for a new list I mentioned above. I'm not sure I'll get around to it now, unless you and others help me build it. It was going to be called "Great Opening Lines". The idea came from your mention of Poe's THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER, which has a great opning line, as you know. I know there are lots of examples, but the only other one I could think of was, "It was a pleasure to burn." Can you identify that one?

Well I think yours is the only other list I commented on. Right when I first got on the site.

Can't identify that story. Checked about 25-30 books and got nothing as far as first lines go. I'll keep looking.

I've just checked your 'comment history' and I see what you mean. For some reason I had the impression you had made comments on a lot of other lists.

About that quote. Here's a couple of hints: "It was a pleasure to burn" is the opening line of a fairly famous novel of the early 50s. The novel was filmed in the 60s by Francois Truffaut.

Anyone else who's reading this is invited to identify the novel, or contribute your own favorite opening line(s).

I would have to guess Fahrenheit 451, but that's just a guess.

After 6 months, I have finally completed my bookcase-building, room-repainting project that consumed most of my winter. Our books are finally unpacked! So if I get a moment, I'll try combing them for first lines.

I just checked the IMDb. I'm a good guesser. :-) It was a guess, really! I didn't look it up first!

Sure, Jim, we believe you. Thousands wouldn't.

That's the one. By Ray Bradbury.

'Combing' your books for first lines might be more time-consuming than you think. You might be tempted to read on...

Ok I found a couple. Are we limiting this to any specific genre?

These 2 go together:

"It is a pain in the ass waiting around for someone to try to kill you." From _Trumps of Doom_ by Roger Zelazny.

"My life had been relatively peaceful for 8 year - not counting April Thirteenths, when someone invariably tried to kill me." From _Blood of Amber_ by Roger Zelazny.

This one's ok, not great:
"We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold." From _Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas_ by Hunter S. Thompson.

This is hilarious but long:
"This story takes place once-upon-a-time; not a real time that has come and gone, or a time that has yet to happen, or even quite a high-and-far-off (-out) time where so many stories take place; this is a time that never happened but ought to have, in one of those places that are called fabulous since, of course, they exist only in fables." From _A Baroque Fable_ by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro.

Kind of weird that in most of the writers workshops and panels I've been in they talk about grabbing the reader's attention right away but out of 50 books I only found 4 startling first lines. You should definitely try Ellison, he should have some good ones.

No genre limitations - open to all.

"An angry man - there is my story."

"I tell about war, and the hero who first from Troy's frontier, displaced by destiny, came to the Lavinian shores, to Italy."

"In the midway of this our mortal life, I found me in a gloomy wood, astray gone from the path direct."

(Have a go at those three, Jim.)

Rhaam, I think it would be more fun to choose some opening lines from fairly well known novels or stories and challenge each other to identify them. Then we can each contribute to my list, or, you guys can make your own lists - I have no objection, as long as you each send me a $10 franchise fee. :-D

"I knew she was a virgin because she was able to ruffle the silken mane of my unicorn." - That's one of Ellison's.

No idea on the first one. For the second one I'm guessing one of Homer's Big Two - probably The Odyssey (I have the Fagles translations upstairs, but I don't want you to doubt my guessing skills). And I believe the third is from Dante, but I can't remember which book. I know I've read that Ellison line, but I've loaned out my Essential Ellison, so I can't look it up. I knew that would come back to haunt me.

Jim, you are sort of right, but not quite. The first one is THE ILIAD, the second isn't Homer but Virgil's AENEAD, and the third is Dante's DIVINE COMEDY - the first line of The Inferno.

I'll leave the Ellison as an open challenge.

One of you (bertie or Rhaam) should definitely start this list so we can resume this conversation there. Once it's created, I'll link to it from the home page to see if we can generate a little interest. I have 4 books with decent opening lines sitting here waiting to be contributed, but I'll wait for the list debut.

I'll start the list since it was my idea and I should be responsible if it flops. Can't wait to see your four entries, Jim. Remember, give us a chance to identify them before you do.

I trying alexlit now, and I'm really enjoying it, and I haven't even gotten past the "ratings" part.

Great, I get $10 for each person I get to join. Just kidding. Let me know what your rec list looks like after you put in a bunch of ratings. I think it's best to put in about 100 then check recs. Then put in another 100 and see what changes. Then rate everything you have ever read in your entire life. The cool thing about it is that even if you don't use your rec list (I only use mine rarely) you can still use Alexlit to look up a book you're thinking about reading. Like let's say you're thinking about reading _A Spell for Chameleon_ by Piers Anthony. You can go to the site and see what rating it gets from your neighbors. If it says Boring/Medium you might want to read something else. If it says Really Good/Low you probably want to try it. It's usually a bit confusing at first but if you stick around you get used to it.