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3.43  ·  Rating details ·  535 ratings  ·  104 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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3.43  · 
Rating details
 ·  535 ratings  ·  104 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
Mar 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, mystery, 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
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
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
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
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).
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 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."
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.
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.
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
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
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
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: appeal-intellect
Famous first lines launch all new stories. Normally, I don't enjoy short stories because, well, they are short. However, I LOVED nine of these stories and really enjoyed the rest of them. These short stories I will listen to multiple times. Each is short, but complete. The narrators are perfect complements to each story. A collection not just for short story fans, but for all speculative fiction fans!
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
On average these short stories were really good, below are the ones I found outstanding:

"Fireborn" by Robert Charles Wilson
"No Decent Patrimony" by Elizabeth Bear
"The Red Menace" by Lavie Tidhar
"Muse of Fire" by John Scalzi
"Writer’s Block" by Nancy Kress
"Highland Reel" by Jack Campbell
"Karin Coxswain or Death as She Is Truly Lived" by Paul Di Filippo
"Every Fuzzy Beast of the Earth, Every Pink Fowl of the Air" by Tad Williams
Rich Maloy
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a fun book. Short story is an important form in sci-fi. Many of the greatest authors got their start by getting short stories published that caught the attention of book publishers. Giving proven authors a starting point with a single line from a famous books is kind of a silly idea, but it results in some very good stories.  
Oct 04, 2017 rated it liked it
An entertaining collection of fairly meaningless experiments. Some of the stories were good, others not so much. Declaration should be turned into a full-length novel -- it's pretty great and garners the 3 stars on its own (with backup support courtesy of Begone).

I wanted to like this collection more, but it was kind of a trudge getting through.
Aug 24, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: matte
gave up on this mid way in the 3rd or 4th story. I'm not the biggest fan of short stories, but started on this onr because I'm a huge Scalzi fan. Unfortunately none of the stories managed to engage my interest.
Desirée Whittington
It's hard to rate a collection of short stories. There were two that SUCKED, three that were pretty good, and the rest were pretty okay (but predicable). I probably wouldn't recommend this to anyone, except for John Scalzi's story, the one about Mars, and the last one.
Aug 02, 2018 rated it liked it
- "Fireborn" by Robert Charles Wilson
4/5 Interesting story, artistic fun

- "The Evening Line" by Mike Resnick
2/5 Not really my thing a bit too weird

- "No Decent Patrimony" by Elizabeth Bear

- "The Big Whale" by Allen M. Steele
2/5 Not really believable, weak premise

- "Begone" by Daryl Gregory
2/5 Didn't really work for me

- "The Red Menace" by Lavie Tidhar

- "Muse of Fire" by John Scalzi
3/5 Interesting but ...

- "Writer’s Block" by Nancy Kress
2/5 Stupid story, didn't like this

- "Highland Reel" by Jack
Budd Turner
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good collection of short stories with an interesting premise.
Rounded up from 3.5. More review to come
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great idea, great execution.
Woody James
Not my favorite anthology. All of the stories were pretty weird.
Jan 11, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not for me. I liked the premise, but the stories themselves weren't that interesting to me.
Oct 12, 2018 rated it liked it
The only story in this that was worth the read was "The Lady Astronaut of Mars" by Mary Robinette Kowal. It was done in the style of Ray Bradbury and it was an EXCELLENT tribute to the author.
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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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