Cage Match 2017: Sci-Fi vs Fantasy

Round 2

Ragnar Volarus vs Owen Kennedy


Ragnar Volarus

Red Rising

Owen Kennedy


Ragnar Volarus

Red Rising
  • Age: 40+
  • Species: Stained (Obsidian)
  • Weapons: IonBlade
  • Special Attack: Being bigger and badder than you


  • Enormous & physically powerful
  • Stoic and wise
  • Skilled with his blades


  • Devotion to his sister
Cover art for the book Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Red Rising

By Pierce Brown

Owen Kennedy

  • Age: Mid-40s, give or take a couple millennia
  • Species: Human/Druid
  • Weapons: Enchanted brass knuckles, shapeshifting, camoflauge
  • Special Attack: Shapeshifting


  • Draws power from the earth
  • Able to shapeshift into one of four animal forms
  • Can disguise himself from sight


  • Ill-tempered & crude
  • Poorly adjusted to the 21st century
Cover art for the book Shattered by Kevin Hearne


By Kevin Hearne
See Less

Match Prediction

By Emily Hughes

The first thing Owen noticed was the cold.

The second thing Owen noticed was Gaia’s absence. He’d felt it before, of course, when he’d been in those tall modern buildings he loathed so much, and the time Siodhachan had coaxed him onto an airplane – fecking hell, he still shuddered at the thought – but he could still feel her proximity, at least. This was something else. This was a vacuum, a total absence. There was ground under his feet, but he felt no connection to it, drew no power from it. It was a punch to the gut on a scale he’d never experienced. He felt too light. He gasped.

The third thing Owen noticed was the enormous man half-cloaked in darkness, silent and staring, wearing heavy armor. Fecking wonderful. This would end well, he was sure.

Owen raised a hand in greeting. “I don’t suppose ye know where we are, do ye?”

The gigantic man, preternaturally still, answered in a low, seismic voice. “Mars.”

Well, feck.


Ragnar waited, ready to deploy his ionBlades. The smaller man with the nearly incomprehensible accent was his adversary, that much he knew. But the man had no visible weapons, no armor. This was some kind of trick. Ragnar waited.

“And let’s say I felt very strongly about not being on Mars any longer, then,” the smaller man said, rising to his feet, “how would I get back to Earth?”

Ragnar shifted his weight, which had the same general effect as a mountain turning over in its sleep. “There’s a ship waiting. But you have to go through me first.”

To Ragnar’s surprise, the smaller man rolled his eyes and sighed. “Of fecking course I do.”

The nonchalance unnerved Ragnar, just a bit. With the smallest motion, he unsheathed his ionBlades.

But then the smaller man was gone. Ragnar blinked. No, not gone. In his place, there was a small creature perched on the flat ground. Before he could react, it spread its wings and launched itself at his face.

Ragnar brought up one of his ionBlades but the bird was too close – he caught the front of one of its wings near the hilt of the ionBlade, but not before it raked its talons across his face and flew upwards past him, screeching in pain. He pressed both hands to the gashes on his cheeks and forehead, gasping, and so he never saw the split-second transformation as the bird, six feet above his head, became a 2500 pound walrus.

It fell directly downwards, as walruses suspended in midair are wont to do. Ragnar crumpled, and saw black.


Owen gingerly disentangled himself from the unconscious giant. “Something’s arsed about the gravity here. If we’d been on Earth, that would’ve killed ye.” He groaned as he pressed down on his bleeding shoulder, staggering toward the spaceship dock’s airlock with his last reserves of strength. “Now to go poke some buttons until I find one that takes me back fecking home.”

Predicted Winner: Owen Kennedy

Tally of Votes Cast:

Ragnar Volarus:


Owen Kennedy:

A photo of Emily Hughes

Emily Hughes

Emily Hughes talks about books on the internet, both professionally for Penguin Random House and for fun everywhere else. She's the site manager of Unbound Worlds. For more book talk, pop culture musings, and bad puns, find her on Twitter @emilyhughes.