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3.39  ·  Rating details ·  781 ratings  ·  147 reviews
In Rip-Off!, 13 of today’s best and most honored writers of speculative fiction face a challenge even they would be hard-pressed to conceive: Pick your favorite opening line from a classic piece of fiction (or even non-fiction) - then use it as the first sentence of an entirely original short story.

In the world of Rip-Off!, “Call me Ishmael” introduces a tough-as-nails pri
Audible Audio, Unabridged Edition, 12 pages
Published December 18th 2012 by Audible Frontiers
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Average rating 3.39  · 
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 ·  781 ratings  ·  147 reviews

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Blodeuedd Finland
A collection of stories inspired by first lines, and I will do it as alwys do. Talk a bit about every story.

Fireborn (Rootabaga stories) by Robert Charles Wilson
Set in the future where a war tore mankind apart, I guess. It was interesting and good, and I'd read more from this author. Though I have no idea where that first line is from.

The evening line (Pride and Prejudice) by Mike Resnick
The story is from Resnick's world, and frankly the whole story was meh.

No decent patrimony (Edward II) by Eli
This was originally Rip-Off!, an Audible audiobook only. I wanted it very much but couldn't rationalize the price unless I could donate the CDs to the library, which they wouldn't accept, they sell all donations. I'm really glad it's finally out in print, and at the library. So, concept: each author took the first sentence of a favorite classic—fiction or non-fiction—and used it as inspiration for a new short story. The story could relate to the source or have nothing at all to do with it, whate ...more
Mar 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, fantasy, sci-fi
Any short stories not having their own entries will be reviewed in the overall anthology.

Begone - Daryl Gregory

I was informed by images of many a psycho killer across the genre, but while I was kinda meh through most of the story, the ending made up for it. If I must put a reaction to it, I have to say it puts a new spin on the whole women's lib movement. I want to say we've got a self-hating man, too, and well beyond the point of emasculation.

The concept is interesting on the surface, but deep
Fun anthology, neat idea. Mixed reviews for each story:

- "Fireborn" by Robert Charles Wilson:
Meh.. Simple, neat, cute.
- "The Evening Line" by Mike Resnick:
I found this one pretty disgusting... kind of like I find the first line of pride and prejudice. Just not my thing.
- "No Decent Patrimony" by Elizabeth Bear:
A bit tedious, felt like it shouldn't have been a short story.
- "The Big Whale" by Allen M. Steele:
This is what Moby Dick should have been. Short, with only a few sentences about the lunai
J.   ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Jan 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: own
I was disappointed with this set of stories, mostly because it was done by sci-fi and there is little sci-fi to be found. That said, the stories were mostly clever and entertaining.

The stories:
1) Love story, I liked it. It was more Fantasy than Sci-Fi.
2) I didn't care much for this one. Not a bad story, just not for me. Also Fantasy.
3) Slip into your bubble bath liberals, this one's for you! There's gay marriage, gender choice rights, global warming, evil rich (oooo!), population control, and dw
This is a solid little collection of short stories based on the first lines of famous novels and plays (and also the Bible and the Declaration), but nothing really wowed me.

The stand outs for me were:

The Evening Line - This was like reading a cartoon about gangsters from the 20s (50s?) who also employ wizards and zombies and live in the modern day. It was a lot of fun and I especially loved that every character had a nickname, like, Loose Lips Louis, Almost Blonde Annie, and Snake-Hips Levine. I
This was a collection of short stories. The idea was for each writer to rip-off the first line of a classic piece of literature and then build a story on it. Many were solid pieces, some were just okay, one I skipped because it simply wasn't my cuppa, and a few were downright excellent. "Muse of Fire" by John Scalzi was one of those I especially liked. Usually Scalzi uses a bit of humor in his writing, but this was unrelenting drama and a very interesting idea. I'd read "The Lady Astronaut of Ma ...more
Dec 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Always hard to rate an anthology. There were some excellent stories, some good, and a few that were so jumbled or boring or poorly conceived that I DNF.

Favorites: The Lady Astronaut of Mars and Begone (though the cleverness of this one probably depends greatly on your age and knowing the property it’s playing off of).
Richie Dueñez
Sep 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Such a great way to check out some contemporary sci-fi authors! Listened to this one on Audible, so also a great way to sample a bunch of different readers as well.
Gilbert Stack
Aug 25, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a collection of short stories written by members of the Science Fiction Writers of America and inspired by the first line of a classic book. It’s a great idea, but in practice didn’t work that well for me.

I should start by pointing out that I am a big fan of the short story format and often read collections. It’s rare that every story in a volume will appeal to me but usually I encounter that gem or two that makes the collection worthwhile and then another handful that were fun as far a
8 of the 14 stories earned 4-5 stars each (Bear, Tidhar, Scalzi, Kress, Campbell, Kowal, Williams, Kelly) and the rest...didn't, thus the 3 Stars overall. Bear, Scalzi, Kowal, and Williams are all astounding, you should read those if nothing else. ...more
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible
Fireborn by Robert Charles Wilson
Very cool intro story for setting the mood of the series. Little more exposition on the world-setting would've been appreciated but it wasn't necessary.

The evening line by Mike Resnick
Resnick is hit or miss with me and this was a miss. wild scenarios that all seemed born from the writer's block breaker of "throw your characters into a weird situation and see how to get them out" but every paragraph was like that so you were constantly adjusting until you were exh
Apr 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
This audio book is a collection of short stories based on famous first lines and introduced by the author. Read by a variety of readers.

The best two stories were fantasy ("Highland Reel" by Jack Campbell) and science fiction ("The Lady Astronaut of Mars" by Mary Robinette Kowal), but the collection in general was not highly sci-fi. Will probably seek out Mary Robinette Kowal to read more of, but unfortunately this collection rates only an "okay".
Jan 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audible-sale
Not all of these stories were to my taste, but I'm glad I stuck it out. I found that the second half was much stronger than the first, with the collection really picking up with "Muse of Fire" by John Scalzi. Everything after that was really good in individual ways. ...more
Jan 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
As with any anthology, the quality of stories here is mixed, but there are enough good ones to make it worthwhile. There are several that I wished were full novels, including "Fireborn," "The Lady Astronaut," and "Declaration." ...more
Amy Mills
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: story-collection, sf
There's enough good stuff here to make this worth purchasing. (Note: for some reason the ebook version is called Mash Up, rather than Rip-Off; not really sure why). In some stories, the borrowed first line played a major role. In others, it was just an opener. Highlights for me were Elizabeth Bear's "No Decent Patrimony", John Scalzi's "Muse of Fire", and Jack Campbell's "Highland Reel", with honorable mentions for "The Big Whale" and "Begone". There was one story I gave up on entirely, as not a ...more
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This anthology is a bit different from those I usually read, since usually there's some sort of tie of subject matter, or it's a collection of stories by one author. There is technically a theme here, but it feels rather loose. Each of the authors here has taken their favorite line from (public domain) literature and written a sci-fi or fantasy story building off of it. I was expecting to recognize all of these first lines, and it was interesting to be thwarted by the very first story, which dra ...more
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
The premise of this book is that authors choose the first line of any literary work, and build a new story around it. There are 13 stories.

Fireborn by Robert Charles Wilson - air dancers, dance competitions, teen-age jealousy and angst. Not my thing.

The Evening Line by Mike Resnick - I didn't quite follow this one. It took place in a bar with lots of interesting characters, but it just wasn't interesting to me.

No Decent Patrimony by Elizabeth Bear - this one was slightly interesting. In a futuri
Julie  Capell
Belying its name, this collection of short stories is an incredibly valuable find for any scifi fan. I listened to this as an audiobook, apparently the only way it was published. What an inspired decision! Each story is introduced by the author, in his/her own voice, and each is read by a different performer. With a stellar lineup of both authors and performers, this was a treat from start to finish. The unifying concept is that the authors were asked to use the first line of a famous book as th ...more
May 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
I picked this up because one of its stories, Mary Robinette Kowal's "The Lady Astronaut of Mars" has been nominated for a Hugo. Twice, actually, but that's a whole other story. Like all anthologies, I found it had its high and low points. The good stories were really, really good, so I forgave the few I disliked.

The premise behind this anthology is that each of the authors took a famous first line, and wrote a whole other story following it. Some of the stories also borrowed other material, eith
Tim Healy
I got an offer on this book at about the same time I got one for Metatropolis. I suspect I got both because I like John Scalzi, who wrote for both and edited Metatropolis. To be clear, the score for this book is very much an overall score. There were some thoroughly brilliant stories here. Others were just awful, and several I didn't bother to finish as they weren't very good (my opinion here) and were long enough for me to rue the time I was spending reading them. That doesn't happen all that o ...more
Feb 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Thirteen sci fi and fantasy authors agreed to write stories for a book. The hook was that each story had to start with the first line of a classic. Each author introduces their story, providing the name of the work they "ripped off" and why. A Shakespeare play, as one might guess, was chosen more than once. The Declaration of Independence, the Bible, and Huck Finn were among the books providing a first line.

"Fireborn" by Robert Charles Wilson
"The Evening Line" by Mike Resnick
"No Decent Patrimon
Jan 17, 2020 rated it liked it
The premise is what attracted me to this anthology: a group of sci-fi and fantasy writers get together and decide to each pick the first line of a classic book(fiction or non-fiction) and write an original short story using the same first line. I liked that the authors introduced their stories with an explanation of their choices. The stories themselves are a mixed bag - some I liked , some not. Hence the middle of the road star classification.
My favorites were:
Every Fuzzy Beast of the Earth, Ev
TJ Szklar
Jul 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
What happens when several scifi authors 'rip-off' the first sentence of a classic story of their choosing? A fun arrangement of twisty-turny and creative short stories is born.

Naturally like anything, some I found WAY more interesting than others-but overall the stories are very entertaining. I think so far my favorite story started with the line: "It was a dark and stormy night, but it shouldn't have been" (Writer's Block by Nancy Kress).

Fireborn by Robert Charles Wilson

The Evening Line by Mi
As usual with collections of short stories, some better than others. Interesting premise, though I think some of the authors cheated. Rather than using the first line as part of their story, it's just a sort of... quote at the start. They still had meaning to the story, but weren't really part of it. I was generally more impressed with the authors who actually incorporated the line into the story. Oddly given the way I feel about Melville, the one that began "Call me Ishmael," was actually one o ...more
Jul 11, 2017 rated it liked it
I found this collection to be a pretty mixed bag. Some of the stories I really, really enjoyed ("Fireborn", "The Evening Line", "Muse of Fire", "Highland Reel"); others I thought were a decent bit of fun, but I can't really remember a great deal about them now that I've finished the book. I also really did not like "The Big Whale" at all - I found that most, if not all, of the other stories got much more creative in building off of their stolen first lines, while "The Big Whale" was simply a re- ...more
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Reviewers have been sometimes accused of not reading the works which they affected to criticize" (John Wilson Croker on Keats' Endymion) and I wish that this was not the case here. Each of these collected stories starts by ripping off and ribbing off a famous document's first line. Some are successfully good, such as "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a fortune must be in want of wife," reset in a smoke-filled corner bar inhabited by bookies, thugs, know- ...more
Aug 26, 2019 rated it liked it
The "assignment" given to the authors in this collection was to write an original short story that starts with the opening line from another work. "It was a dark and stormy night" and "Call me Ishmael" are two examples, the former rendered by Nancy Kress as a study of writers' block and the latter by Allen M. Steele presenting Moby Dick à la Mickey Spillane. "Fireborn" is a nice little fantasy world of fire dancers and "No Decent Patrimony" explores extended longevity for the rich. Most had an u ...more
Ray Campbell
Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2019
This is a collection of science fiction short stories with a twist. Each of the authors had to write a story that started with an opening line from a classic work. There is a story that begins "Call me Ishmael", one that starts "In the beginning..." and so on. Delightfully, each author not only chose a classic opening, but then riffed on the classic work. Most were very funny, but several were sober reflections on life, morality and reality - in other words, good science fiction.

I enjoyed this c
R. Andrew Lamonica
Aug 14, 2019 rated it liked it
I would say about 40% of the stories were solid.

My favorites were "Muse of Fire" (which was both serious and a complete tale), "The Big Whale" (which was goofy and was the story that most seemed to embrace the theme), and "The Evening Line" (which was bonkers and should 100% be made into a YouTube video).

The production value was weirdly uneven. The narration itself was just fine in every story, but the author's intros were unevenly paced (which is mostly forgivable considering the amateur statu
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Gardner Raymond Dozois was an American science fiction author and editor. He was editor of Asimov's Science Fiction magazine from 1984 to 2004. He won multiple Hugo and Nebula awards, both as an editor and a writer of short fiction.
Wikipedia entry: Gardner Dozois

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