Round 1 of Cage Match 2018 is officially behind us! Before the next round opens on Monday morning, March 12, let’s take a look back at how the initial matches played out:
- Cthulhu vs Temeraire: Match author Kim Wilkins gave this one to Temeraire, Naomi Novik’s powerful dragon, but voters disagreed, handing the match to the Great Old One (who was canonically beaten by, uh, *checks notes* a boat) with 65% of the vote.
- Deep Thought vs Sidra: Douglas Adams’ supercomputer and Becky Chambers’ AI-turned-humanoid had quite the adventure together in Michael Poore’s match write-up, facing down a virus and the very concept of death. And while Deep Thought triumphed with a whopping 83% of the vote, we like to think both characters learned something along the way.
- Harpy vs Mouse: Urban fantasy’s favorite semi-divine pup, Jim Butcher’s Mouse, more than held his own against the woman-faced bird creatures of myth in this match by Liana Brooks, bounding on ahead to Round 2 with 73% of the vote.
- Calcifer vs The Librarian: Kari Maaren’s hilarious Discworld-set match saw Diana Wynne Jones’ Calcifer and Terry Pratchett’s Librarian go head-to-flame in a madcap literal Cage Match. In the end, the Librarian swung to victory with 54% of votes. Pro-tip for future contestants: whatever you do, don’t call the Librarian a monkey.
- Aximili-Esgarrouth-Isthill vs Aunt Beast: The favorite match of former debate team kids everywhere. Animorphs’ Ax and A Wrinkle in Time’s Aunt Beast sat down to have a moderate, civilized debate about the fate of humanity in C.A. Higgins’ match. Ultimately, Aunt Beast, arguing for the Affirmative, prevailed with 68% of the vote.
- Mogget vs War: Neil Gaiman’s War finds a kindred spirit in Garth Nix’s Mogget in a match by Cass Morris, but it seems Mogget would rather have a snack and a bit of a nap, so War proceeds to Round 2 with 55% of the vote.
- Lord Brocktree vs The Corinthian: Round 1’s closest match, by Cassandra Khaw, saw Brian Jacques’ Lord Brocktree face down a literal nightmare, Neil Gaiman’s Corinthian. But Brocktree and his greatsword prevailed, squeaking by with the tiniest of margins, proceeding to Round 2 with 50.39%.
- Aslan vs The Shrike: If I may editorialize for a moment here: ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Somehow 66% of voters thought that Dan Simmons’ Shrike, a creature who can manipulate space-time and impales his victims on a steel tree in never-ending agony, a being known colloquially as the LORD OF PAIN, would be bested by C.S. Lewis’ Jesus-y lion. Okay. Alright. Fine.
- Loial vs Lying Cat: Laura Sebastian’s write-up of Robert Jordan’s Ogier, Loial, and Saga’s Lying Cat is a lovely reprieve from the more violent matches in Round 1. Loial’s tree-singing skills are on full display, but ultimately voters chose Lying Cat with 54%.
- Roy Batty vs Agrajag: Philip K. Dick’s Roy Batty met Arthur Dent’s feckless foe Agrajag in this comical match by Tina Connolly. Roy Batty won the vote with 55%, but given that Agrajag has died hundreds or thousands of times, what’s one more?
- Stormfather vs Iorek Byrnison: Brandon Sanderson’s Stormfather and Phillip Pullman’s armored bear engage in a battle of wills on the high plains in Jaime Green’s match – voters sent Stormfather on to Round 2 with 55% of the vote.
- Mike vs Oberon: Robert Heinlein’s sentient supercomputer engages in a hilarious Twitter battle with Kevin Hearne’s @IrishOberon, replete with trash talk, snarky hashtags, and threats of peeing on motherboards. Oberon and his Twitter followers continue on to Round 2 with 75% of the vote.
- Murderbot vs The Unicorn: Martha Wells’ cynical security bot may have watched one too many soap operas, but its encounter with Peter S. Beagle’s Unicorn, as written by Cassandra Khaw, is just dreamy. 63% of voters chose to send the Unicorn through to Round 2.
- Drogon vs The Watcher in the Water: George R.R. Martin’s fearsome dragon finds himself in a tussle with Tolkien’s Watcher in the Water, in a mirror of this round’s Cthulhu vs Temeraire match. Written by Leanna Renee Hieber, Drogon flies on to Round 2 with 68% of votes.
- Pennywise vs Shelob: Our most popular match of Round 1! J.R.R. Tolkien’s Shelob took an early lead, but Pennywise and the Deadlights (great band name, just saying) came roaring back to win with 59% of the vote in Seanan McGuire’s match.
- Doli vs Loiosh: Mary Robinette Kowal joins us to write Lloyd Alexander’s dwarf Doli vs Steven Brust’s Jhereg Loiosh, nailing the flying lizard’s snarky inner monologue. Two-thirds of voters agreed, sending Loiosh on with 66%.
So what’s coming in Round 2? Well, you can look forward to the following matches on Monday morning:
- Cthulhu vs Deep Thought: R’lyeh’s Citizen of the Year needs to make sure he’s asking the right questions when he meets Deep Thought.
- Mouse vs The Librarian: It’s a match of animal magnetism as Temple Dog faces down Orangutan with a fast pass to L-Space.
- Aunt Beast vs War: This round might as well be called War and Peace, given Aunt Beast’s facility for calm.
- Lord Brocktree vs Aslan: King of Beasts vs the Badger Lord? Strap in.
- Lying Cat vs Roy Batty: Can Roy stay honest enough? Can Lying Cat take down not just a man, but a replicant?
- Stormfather vs Oberon: An Irish wolfhound is no stranger to storms – but this is no ordinary storm.
- The Unicorn vs Drogon: We hope the Unicorn has some aloe growing in that beautiful forest.
- Pennywise vs Loiosh: Loiosh can sense the undead, but he’s never seen anything like this before.
Tune in on Monday morning to read the matches and cast your votes!