Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday's List: March Madness #1

In anticipation of National Library Week (April 12-April 18), the Library will be "hosting" its own March Madness contest, based on the college men's basketball tournament that begins March 19. We have selected 64 authors, in eight different areas or genres, to face off against one another, with the winner being "crowned" on Monday, April 13-- a kind of kickoff to National Library Week. The contest will last for five weeks, with the early round match-ups occurring March 9-14, March 16-March 21, March23-28 and March 30-April 4, and the final eight showdown occurring April 6-April 11. Here's what the Week One bracket will look like:
The winners will be picked by the library staff, but everyone who wants to participate can fill out there own bracket, one per week, and join the fun. The person with the most points each week will win a prize, and the person with the most points overall, will win the grand prize.

So, here are the list of 16 participants for Week One, along with a little "bio" to illustrate their merits for inclusion in the contest. The contestants are not ranked, and all have earned their way into the tournament on the basis of their writing ability, popularity and influence on the genre.

  • Agatha Christie: The grand dame of mystery writers, and still one of the biggest selling authors of all time.
  • P.D. James: One of the many writers that followed Christie's lead in the mid-20th century, James' work are often set against the backdrop of British bureaucracies.
  • Mickey Spillane: Introduced the world to Mike Hammer, a hard-boiled detective living in a dangerous and gritty world.
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: The creator of Sherlock Holmes, still the best-known detective in the world. He was also prolific in other literary fields.
  • Sue Grafton: A prolific mystery writer, best known for her "alphabet novels" (A is For Alibi, B is for Burglar, etc.) which featured private detective Kinsey Millhone.
  • Elmore Leonard: Leonard's works are best known for their grittiness and realism, and unlike the others on this list, he does not have one or two detectives that are featured in most of his works.
  • Dorothy Sayers: A contemporary of Christie, Sayers' works most often featured Lord Peter Whimsey as the detective.
  • Janet Evanovich: The creator of Stephanie Plum, a bounty hunter and sleuth, Evanovich's work are often overlayed with elements of romance novels and thrillers.
Fantasy & Science Fiction:
  • Isaac Asimov: He didn't invent science fiction, but he did bring the science portion of it to the forefront. And he was ridiculously prolific, with several hundred fiction and non-fiction books to his credit.
  • Terry Pratchett: His works are funny, satirical, inventive and thought-provoking. He has a flair for language that few can rival.
  • Ray Bradbury: Bradbury's works cross many genre-lines, science fiction, fantasy, horror, mystery, but they are universally well-written and reflective of the human soul. Good stuff, in short.
  • J.R.R. Tolkien: He brought fantasy into the mainstream, made it legitimate. Along the way, he influenced hundreds of writers and thousands of readers for generations.
  • Robert Heinlein: As with Asimov, Heinlein brought a lot of science to his science fiction, but he was also an incredibly imaginative and prolific author.
  • Kurt Vonnegut: Vonnegut's works are satirical, filled with black humor, and brilliant. And Kilgore Trout may be the best name for a protagonist ever.
  • Orson Scott Card: His novel, Ender's Game, is considered one of the finest novels for young adults ever, and deservedly so. The rest of his writing is awfully fine, as well.
  • H.G. Wells: The granddaddy of them all, he invented many of the themes we now take for granted in science fiction-- time travel, alien lifeforms and alien invasions, and the altering of mankind through science and medicine.
The week one contest brackets will be available on Monday, March 9.
Have a good weekend!

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