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The first line of every Parker novel

The first line of every Parker novel
Hunter (December 1962): “When a fresh-faced guy in a Chevy offered him a lift, Parker told him to go to hell.” The Man With the Getaway Face (March 1963): “When the bandages came off, Parker looked in the mirror at a stranger.” The Outfit (September 1963): “When the woman screamed, Parker awoke and rolled off the bed.” The Mourner (December 1963): “When the guy with the asthma finally came in from the fire escape, Parker rabbit-punched him and took his gun away.” The Score (July 1964): “When the bellboy left, Parker went over to the house phone and made his call.” The Jugger (July 1965): “When the knock came at the door, Parker was just turning to the obituary page.” The Handle (February 1966): “When the engine stopped, Parker came up on deck for a look around.” The Seventh (March 1966): “When he didn’t get any answer the second time he knocked, Parker kicked the door in.” The Rare Coin Score (1967): “Parker spent two weeks on the white sand beach at Biloxi, and on a white sandy bitch named Belle, but he was restless, and one day without thinking about it he checked out and sent a forwarding address to Handy McKay and moved on to New Orleans.” The Green Eagle Score (1967): “Parker looked in at the beach and there was a guy in a black suit standing there, surrounded by all the bodies in bathing suits.” The Black Ice Score (1968): “Parker walked into his hotel room, and there was a guy in there going through his suitcase laid out on his bed.” The Sour Lemon Score (1969): “Parker put the revolver away and looked out the windshield.” Deadly Edge (1971): “Up here, the music was just a throbbing under the feet, a distant pulse.” Slayground (1971): “Parker jumped out of the Ford with a gun in one hand and the packet of explosive in the other.” Plunder Squad (1972): “Hearing the click behind him, Parker threw his glass straight back over his right shoulder, and dove off his chair to the left.” Butcher’s Moon (1974): “Running toward the light, Parker fired twice over his left shoulder, not caring whether he hit anything or not.” Comeback (1997): “When the angel opened the door, Parker stepped first past the threshold into the darkness of the cinder block corridor beneath the stage.” Backflash (1998): “When the car stopped rolling, Parker kicked out the rest of the windshield and crawled through onto the wrinkled hood, Glock first.” Flashfire (2000): “When the dashboard clock read 2:40, Parker drove out of the drugstore parking lot and across the sunlit road to the convenience store/gas station.” Firebreak (2001): “When the phone rang, Parker was in the garage, killing a man.” Breakout (2002) : “When the alarm went off, Parker and Armiston were far to the rear of the warehouse, Armiston with the clipboard, checking off the boxes they’d want.” Nobody Runs Forever (2004): “When he saw that the one called Harbin was wearing a wire, Parker said, ‘Deal me out a hand,’ and got to his feet.” Ask the Parrot (2006): “When the helicopter swept northward and lifted out of sight over the top of the hill, Parker stepped away from the tree he’d waited beside and continued his climb.” Dirty Money (2008): “When the silver Toyota Avalon bumped down the dirt road out of the woods and across the railroad tracks, Parker put the Infiniti into low and stepped out onto the gravel.”

October 21, 2013

Reminder that Ursula K LeGuin is America's greatest living writer

It's Ursula K LeGuin's birthday and Tor has a very slight ode to her genius. Imaginative Anthropology: In Celebration of Ursula K. Le Guin | Tor.com
She gives us beautifully imagined worlds that focus on human interaction, and science fiction about communication rather than hardware. Her planets are populated by mostly non-white people, to reflect the primarily non-white make up of Earth’s own population, rather than focusing narrowly on versions of Western culture. Her characters develop an ansible, a machine that allows instantaneous communication, before they develop faster-than-light travel. She is willing to dig into stories that most people glide over. Where most people, even speculative fiction writers, simply accept a gender binary and move on with their day, Le Guin wrote The Left Hand of Darkness, entire book dealing with people who only become gendered for a few days a month. Those genders are random, unexpected, and for the duration of those days you work with what you’ve got. In The Dispossessed she explores the construction of language and the meaning of utopia. The Lathe of Heaven looks at social ills and one man’s attempt to heal them with his dreams – which often proves disastrous. And in the Earthsea books she gives us a world whose only land is an extensive archipelago, so rather than writing a straightforward magical coming-of-age story as Ged becomes a wizard, she tells us how the land and sea build a foundation for Ged’s society. In one of her most recent books, Lavinia, she takes a minor character from the Aeneid and makes her the focus of the entire story, which turns increasingly surreal, as Lavinia herself seems to know she’s a character in a story. For half a century she's been using science fiction and fantasy to tell us what we are, and more importantly, tell us what we could be.