Monday, March 16, 2009

March Madness: SF/Fantasy Bracket

Truth in Advertising: I like all of these guys. It was difficult for me to vote one way or the other for some of the match ups. Fortunately, my vote was only 1 of those cast by the staff to decide who won and who hung their head in shame. But enough, on we go...

Round One of the Science Fiction/Fantasy Bracket is in the books (yes, I'm going to continue to use that pun-- at least until someone comments on it, then perhaps I will relent). The Library staff has voted and the decisions are final. For a summary of the Mystery Bracket games, go here.

Isaac Asimov vs. Robert Heinlein
This one was strength on strength as two of the early titans of science fiction battled away at each other. Asimov had hard science, name recognition and a brilliant cross-over dribble on his side, but Heinlein has some serious chops of his own to go with a super fast first step that often leaves him with uncontested layups. It was a dogfight from the beginning, with Heinlein jumping out to an early lead on a hot start, 3-1, before Asimov steadied himself and reeled off the next four. From there it was back and forth all game long, with the decision still hanging in the balance until the last minutes, when Asimov faked right before blowing past Heinlein on the left for a 6-5 lead. Heinlein's hopes were then dashed when Asimov picked his pocket and went the length of the court for the final nail in the coffin, 7-5.

Ray Bradbury vs. J.R.R. Tolkien
Another nip and tuck contest, this time featuring the mercurial, but always deliciously good, musings of the sixth-seeded Ray Bradbury against the grandfather of fantasy as a genre, third-seed J.R.R. Tolkien. Tolkien's books have been made into movies more often than Bradbury's, but if the game were decided by sheer volume, Bradbury would win in a walk. Fortunately, the game wasn't decided by either of those things, instead featuring Bradbury's powerful inside game against Tolkien's tough man-to-man defense and silky smooth jumpshot. The two gentlemen did not disappoint, with another back and forth struggle that wasn't decided until the end. Bradbury jumped out to an early lead, undaunted by stately grace of Mr. Tolkien, and the old (yes, dead) gentlemen was never quite able to climb the hill and take the lead. He got close on several occassions, the latest at 6-5, but the final shot was Bradbury's and he buried it, closing out a tight 7-5 victory and moving him on to face Asimov.

Terry Pratchett vs. Kurt Vonnegut
A 4 vs. 5 seed match up featuring two of the more experimental, and funny, authors in the Authors Showdown. Pratchett and Vonnegut are both known for their satirical tone and content, though Pratchett's is a bit more mad-cap than Vonnegut's. What seemed like a battle of evenly matched, similar stylists soon turned into a blowout, however, as Pratchett rained 3-pointers down on Vonnegut in a brilliant display of shooting finesse and accuracy. A blistering 4-0 start had Vonnegut on his heels, and despite his height advantage he was never able to recover, falling 10-2 to Pratchett.

Orson Scott Card vs. H.G. Wells
The #8 seed, Card, scored first against the heavily favored #1 seed, Wells, and for a brief period it seemed an upset for the ages could be in store. But no-- Wells took the opening salvo in stride, shook it off, and then scored the next ten points in a row before Card was able to record a final, face saving second point at the end of the game. Wells might be long dead, but he muscled his way past Card with surprising speed, grace and defense, showing why he is considered the father of science fiction and the #1 seed in the bracket.

I will post an updated bracket tomorrow, along with the current point totals of our week one contestants. If you're scoring at home, hopefully you had Christie, Conan Doyle, Grafton, Evanovich, Asimov, Bradbury, Pratchett and Wells winning in your brackets. If you did, you're looking good! If you missed on most of these, don't worry-- there's always next week! Indeed, you can stop in and fill out next week's bracket any time between now and 4 pm on Saturday, March 21. Or, make your picks at home and email your choices to me. It's not too late to join the Madness!

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