Eli Grober’s “Opening Lines Rewritten for a Pandemic” in The New Yorker humorously changes the beginnings of famous books to suit life as we knew it in the plague year of 2020.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
It was a dark and stormy night, so we stayed inside, just like we’d done every night for the last year. In that way, it was a perfectly normal night.
Filers answered the challenge to add to the list. Here is a collection from yesterday’s comments.
Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein
If a man walks in dressed like a hick and acting as if he doesn’t need to wear a mask, he’s a spaceman.
Idle Days On The Yann by Lord Dunsany
So I came down through the wood to the bank of Yann and found, as had been prophesied, after seven days of quarantine and a negative virus test, the ship Bird of the River about to loose her cable.
— David Shallcross
A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine
During a pandemic, these things are ceaseless: case number charts and social distancing.
— Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little
The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger by Stephen King
The Man in Black fled across the desert, and the Gunslinger followed, being careful to maintain a distance of at least six feet.
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
I will make my report as if I told a story, because I was taught as a child during the pandemic that truth is a matter of the imagination.
— Vicki Rosenzweig
The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that his eleventy-first birthday party was cancelled due to Covid restrictions, there was much disappointment throughout Hobbiton. Gandalf stayed out of the Shire bubble entirely, so no fireworks, either.
— Andrew (not Werdna)
Casey Agonistes by Richard McKenna
You can’t just die. You got to book an appointment first.
— Jim Janney
Pipe Dream by Fritz Leiber
It wan’t until the mermaid turned up in his bathtub that SImon Grue seriously began to wonder about the possibility of contagion from the Russians next door.
— Jim Janney
The Pride Of Chanur by C.J. Cherryh
There had been something contagious on the station dock all year, skulking in amongst the gantries and the lines and the canisters which were waiting to be moved, lurking wherever shadows fell among the rampway accesses of the many ships at dock at Meetpoint.
All Systems Red by Martha Wells
I could have become a mass murderer after a few weeks of lockdown, but I realized I could access the combined feed of entertainment channels carried on the company satellites. It had been well over 35,000 hours or so since then, with still not much murdering, but probably, I don’t know, a little under 35,000 hours of movies, serials, books, plays and music consumed.
— Lorien Gray
The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
Do you remember where you were when the Meteor hit? I’ve never understood why people phrase it as a question, because of course you were inside, just like everyone had been for the last year.
— Lorien Gray
Triplanetary (Lensman Series, Book 1) by E.E. “Doc” Smith
Two thousand million or so years ago, two galaxies were carefully maintaining social distancing from each other.
— Steve Wright
Neuromancer by William Gibson
The sky was a color, but nobody noticed which color because they were all indoors on lockdown.
Dragonsinger: Harper of Pern by Anne McCaffrey
When Menolly, daughter of Yanus Sea-Holder, arrived at the Harper Hall she arrived in style, with a N-95 mask and complete vaccination paperwork.
— Nancy Sauer