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

Next:

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).

 

 

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