I'm writing this segment the morning after the American election, and it feels somehow frivolous to be continuing with this tournament, but on the other hand, this is keeping me from brooding over the results non-stop or bursting into tears, so on we forge!
I really didn't like Eifelheim. Not so much the history, the view of people in the past - most of it just got under my skin and irritated the hell out of me. Fortunate for me then that it's up against an older science fiction book that may not have rocked my world, but certainly gave me a great deal of enjoyment. Her new species and their first contact with an older woman left behind after a colony vacated was definitely better than how medieval towns dealt with aliens.
Winner: Remnant Population
This is a weird match-up. Stark slices of Berlin's life and viewpoint in short story form vs. fun but very traditional 1970sish science fiction with an underlying message that cities and leisure mean stagnation. I'm going to have to go with Berlin - these aren't easy stories to read, particularly those that have to do with alcoholism, but they are powerful and stark.
Winner: A Manual For Cleaning Women
Oh, ouch. This is a difficult choice. I really really enjoyed Ancillary Justice and what Ann Leckie was trying (and succeeding!) to do there. But...on the other side is Lila. This is a book that just about broke me. I get inarticulate when I try to explain why it is one of the most moving pieces of art that I have ever read, but realize that everything I say seems to trivialize it. I can't knock it out of the competition. It has barely left my mind.
These two books really couldn't be more different. I mean, you've got a sensitive-young-man-coming-of-age up against decidedly irreverent hilarious comic strips. Step Aside Pops seemed a little sparse in comparison to Beaton's first volume, but still, she's going to take this one easily. When laughs are hard to come by, you turn to the ones that send you into fits.
Winner: Step Aside, Pops
The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins vs. The Iron Council by China Miéville
Another very, very easy one. You can read my review of Hawkins' book for all the reasons I found it upsetting and unpleasant. Iron Council was by no means an easy read - it's got complicated politics and sexuality, all wrapped around a revolution on the rails. But man, did I ever enjoy it more.
Winner: The Iron Council