This week brought the second half of the Quarterfinals, the Semifinals, and the first Zombie Round. It started off with intense desolation, that two of the only books from the list I didn’t read were killing it in the Tournament. BUT THEN – Friday happened, and all was well. REDEMPTION!
If you need to catch up:
Click on each date to be taken to The Morning News judging for that day.
Click on the book covers to be taken to the Goodreads synopsis.
An Untamed State was victorious, which I was very happy about. Although in reading some of the comments, A LOT of people preferred Annihilation and were upset by the ruling here. I really did not get into the Area X intrigue, so go Roxane Gay!
Today stirred the controversy pot a little bit, on several levels. The judge, Victor Vazquez didn’t have the nicest things to say about Redeployment. He seems to let his overall feelings about war in general, deeply influence his reading of this story collection.
It’s a quick and easy read and I would have found the gruff, unpretentious style to be charming, and even strangely “fun” if the story didn’t essentially ask the reader to feel more emotion for the death of a dog than the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi humans—a million by some counts, and around 120,000 of them civilians—who have died since the US’s brutal and illegitimate invasion of Iraq in 2003.
It [U.S. Military] is a force of global imperialism pretty much unprecedented in human history, and to be a soldier in that army and write a book with the opening line “We shot dogs,” is, in my opinion, not the classiest look. I understand the intention may have been to be “edgy,” confrontational, ugly like how war is ugly, but I already know war is ugly, and I just don’t feel like musings about America’s military action abroad are best led with a dog-killing metaphor.
I’m not going to get into my opinions on the subject of war here, and I definitely think Redeployment is an important book overall. My personal feelings aside, I DID find his opinions interesting, in the very least, and he definitely didn’t hold back. I also enjoyed reading the commentary thoughts on Vazquez’s judging – now THAT, is how you respectfully acknowledge, and disagree. Also, the discussion of war narratives as a “vote for war” or “propaganda” was intriguing – so much to think about today!
Needless to say, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay took the win here. Although I’m upset about the inclusion of a THIRD book in a trilogy in the Tournament, because really, isn’t trying to get through 16 books enough… BUT, the wide praise of this is compelling, and I will likely end up reading these books in the future.
This was basically more of why A Brief History is ambitious, but amazing, and obviously knocked out The Paying Guests. Despite all the mad praise of A Brief History, I just don’t see myself ever getting to it. Meh, oh well.
By this point, realizing I probably missed out by not prioritizing Ferrante, I didn’t have too much of an opinion here. I did really love An Untamed State, but who’s to say I wouldn’t have put Those Who Leave above it. Ultimately, An Untamed State pulled the win, to mixed emotions from the crowd.
Enter zombie #1. Ya’ll know I loved Station Eleven, but I really thought there was no way it could take on the beast A Brief History, based on how the Tournament had gone so far. I LOVE WHEN I’M WRONG – not really, but I was happy about it in this case. I thought A Brief History would go all the way, and I was really working myself into a colossal temper tantrum, but this is way more fun.
Monday will bring Zombie #2, and honestly I think I’m fine either way it goes. I *think* All the Light will take it, but part of me is kind of rooting for a re-match of Station Eleven versus An Untamed State. What do you think? Who do you want to take the Rooster?