There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife…

tough travelPeople, today is a ‘woo hoo’ moment – Tough Travel (as originally envisaged by young Nathan of the Fantasy Review Barn we’re not worthy) is resurrected.  Fantasy Faction have taken on this wonderful meme.  Each month, with a pre arranged theme in mind, we will all come up with out own individual selection of books that take us travelling through the tropes of fantasy.  Visit Fantasy Faction today to check out all the other entries and find out the theme for the next month.  Come and join in the fun – a whole month to come up with your own original ideas. You know you want to 😀

And, today is all about beginnings – great beginnings to the books we love.

Now, as this is the first, I’m going to go old school, classic if you will:

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends thehobbitof worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort – J.R.R. Tolkien,

The Hobbit : Maybe an obvious choice but as beginnings go this is a winner on many levels. It’s a curious start to a book, it definitely makes you want to read on – how can a hole in the ground mean ‘comfort’. It has a bedtime, ‘reading aloud to your children’ feel to it but at the same time feels like a story that you can also enjoy as an adult. And, as this is a new beginning for Tough Travel I can’t help but think of the parallels, because Bilbo is himself about to go on an adventure. This is the ‘beginning’ of the rest of his life, without it, well, he would have spent a good many years in that little hobbit hole with the round door, no doubt chomping on bread and cheese and drinking wine – but he wouldn’t have seen the elves, he wouldn’t have had to riddle his way out of trouble or rescue a bunch of dwarves from gigantic spiders, he wouldn’t get to ride the white water rapids in a barrel – come on, who wouldn’t want these sort of beginnings! Not to mention – a dragon. Okay, he almost dies, but stop thinking of the negatives for God’s sake – a dragon, that talks!  So, lets go on an adventure.  Lets go Tough Travelling.

Next we have this:

The lion‘Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy.  This story is about something that happened to them when they were sent away from London during the war because of the air-raids.

You simply have to love a story that begins with ‘Once there were’.  It verges on the brink of fairytale doesn’t it?

The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis


alice in wonderlandAlice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it “and what is the use of a book” thought Alice, “without pictures or conversations?”

Indeed – what is the use of a book without pictures and conversations?

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

A very quirky book indeed.  A book that brings to us this particular poem:

An excerpt from The Walrus and the Carpenter:

The time has come,’ the Walrus said,
      To talk of many things:
Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax —
      Of cabbages — and kings —
And why the sea is boiling hot —
      And whether pigs have wings.’

And, now, for some teasers: (the books and authors are given below, you need to hover over the space indicated and change the font colour) but see if you recognise these:

Where’s papa going with that axe?’

Marley was dead to begin with.

It was a pleasure to burn.

A merry little surge of electricity piped by automatic alarm from the mood organ beside his bed awakened Rick Deckard

On those cloudy days, Robert Neville was never sure when sunset came, and sometimes they were in the street before he could get back.

The house stood on a slight rise just on the edge of the village.

Click and highlight below for answers:

Charlotte’s Web by E B White
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K Dick
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
end here
Next month’s topic : Assassins:
Assassins are ubiquitous throughout fantasyland. Sharp-eyed readers (or even dull-eyed ones) will notice that their hooded forms often adorn book covers, and that they frequently appear – rather improbably – not to mind being the sole focus of our attention. Whether they’re spotlight hogs or camera-shy and brooding, most assassins will have trained for years and are very, VERY good at their job (i.e. killing people for money).



18 Responses to “There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife…”

  1. Laura M Hughes

    We. Are. BACK! 😀

    Loving the teaser sentences! Perhaps we should come up with a feature where we take the first line of a story as the theme, then find our favourite image(s) on DeviantArt and share/compare…

  2. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    The timelessness of the Hobbit, and its ability to speak to both children and adults is one of the reasons for its enduring success. And after all, who could resist trolls, and dragons and treasures and… adventures? 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      Nobody – nobody could resist. An absolute classic.
      Lynn 😀

  3. Nathan

    Alice in Wonderland is the first ‘classic’ book I ever read. My dad didn’t think I would like it but I was enthralled. The story of the hobbits opening line is so cool, and so timeless.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yeah – I love that opening. Alice in Wonderland is such a great classic – so strange too.
      Lynn 😀

  4. sjhigbee

    A fabulous post, Lynn – I love that this meme runs for a whole month:). Maybe this is one I can hop aboard – it sounds like great fun:)

    • @lynnsbooks

      You should definitely take part – with a meme that you have a whole month to think about it’s really no stress at all and you’d probably have lots of books for each subject.
      Lynn 😀

  5. Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    Alice in Wonderland is a great pick!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I thought I’d do the classics this week – I’ll leave them alone now for a while I think.
      Lynn 😀

  6. Wendy B

    This is such a great collection of classics! Alice in Wonderland is one of my favourites.

    • @lynnsbooks

      I love Alice in Wonderland – it’s so zany, so totally out there and just packed with imagination.
      Lynn 😀

  7. jessicabookworm

    Great choices 😀 I do have very fond memories of my dad reading The Hobbit to me at bedtime, although I found out later he had skipped over the giant spiders!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Haha – well, he was saving you from the trauma. Dads eh 😀

      • jessicabookworm

        He said he did want me to actually sleep! 😀

      • @lynnsbooks

        Yes, it’s one of those traits of parents – wanting their children not to have nightmares (so that both of them can get a full night’s sleep) – it makes perfect sense really. Plus, I don’t know what age you were at the time but I’m sure you didn’t want to imagine spiders the size that they are in the Hobbit – I don’t think I would have stepped into a forest ever again. Scary.
        Lynn 😀

      • jessicabookworm

        I was no more than 5 and I definitely didn’t want to be imagining giant spiders…I just got a nasty shock when I read it for the first time by myself! 😀

      • @lynnsbooks

        Only 5 – definitely too young to go through spider trauma!
        Lynn 😀

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