This year's edition of io9 March Madness is dedicated to finding the greatest, most classic work from all of science fiction and fantasy. Today we wrap up the Round of 64 with the likes of George Orwell, Doctor Who, Harry Potter, and the Dread Lord Cthulhu. The competition is fierce!
Top image: ZachSmithson.
After deciding the top half of the bracket last week, it's now up to you to pick the 16 First Round victors from the bottom half of the bracket. All the polls are at the bottom of this post and will remain open until midnight Pacific time tonight! So VOTE NOW, and let's keep the madness rolling!
For those who missed last Wednesday's introductory post, we've selected 68 classic works spanning all media and all sub-genres of science fiction and fantasy and are now having them duke it out for total genre supremacy in this tournament. The Space Opera and Epic Fantasy regionals were voted on last Friday, so today it's time for you to vote on the Dystopia & Mad Science and Magic & Monsters regionals. For the complete explanation of the rules and thinking behind the tourney, go here. The updated bracket is below, and you can click here for a really big version of it.
I'll be honest, folks: Last Friday didn't feature a whole lot of Madness. Seven of the eight favorites in the Space Opera Regional advanced (and no, I don't think anyone is going to be all that surprised by the one underdog that advanced). Star Wars rolled up 80% of the vote against Stargate, but that's nothing compared to Star Trek's 90% share against Hyperion, and even that looks underwhelming compared to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which looked damn impressive notching 95% of the vote against the Hainish Cycle, a terrific series of books that had the misfortune of going up against a series that has all the makings of a tourney powerhouse. Meanwhile, the lone squeaker of the Space Opera regional saw Ender's Game rally to edge out Cowboy Bebop.
The fantasy regional was a little less predictable, as 13-seed The Neverending Story sprang the tourney's first big upset by taking down Dragonriders of Pern. Play-in winner Highlander won its second battle by taking down 6-seed John Carter, and this just generally was not Ursula K. Le Guin's day as Earthsea, her other work in the tournament, fell to Terry Prachett's Discworld. We also may have identified the tourney's first paper tiger, as 3-seed The Chronicles of Narnia only barely edged out The Dark Tower, 52 to 48. That's got to be exciting news for Highlander, which will be looking to pull of its own VCU-style run from the Play-In Round to the Final Four.
So what about today? Well, I think it's safe to say there's no regional more ridiculously stacked than Dystopia & Mad Science, where the bottom 4 seeds are the X-Men, the Hunger Games, The Matrix, and Mad Max. There doesn't look to be much separation at all between those and their opponents - George Orwell's dystopia-defining classic Nineteen Eighty-Four, Doctor Who, Back to the Future, and Jurassic Park — so could we be headed to some major, major upsets? And remember, it's up to you to decide which version (or versions) of a work you want to focus on. We're guessing most of you are going to choose the H.G. Wells version of The Time Machine over the Simon Wells version, but what about its opponent Blade Runner? How many of you consider the real entrant there to Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Instead of the Ridley Scott adaptation?
On the Magic & Monsters side, we've got some truly insane match-ups of classic fantasy novels against modern horror classics, with The Wizard of Oz vs. The Exorcist being the most deliriously goofy match-up. Can beloved supernatural comics characters John Constantine and Hellboy make a stand against genre titans Cthulhu and Godzilla? (And, more to the point, when are we going to see those crossover comics?) And what about Ghostbusters, slotted in as a 15-seed against Harry Potter? Can Peter Venkman and company prove to be the Florida Gulf Coast of this tournament? (I mean, if any sci-fi or fantasy franchise embodies the Dunk City ethos... nah, this is silly. Moving on!)
The only ones who can sort out all this madness are YOU, so VOTE NOW! Polls remain open until midnight Pacific time tonight! And be sure to come back on Wednesday for the second round, and check out the complete upcoming schedule at the bottom of this post.
Wednesday, March 19: Round of 32
Friday, March 21: Sweet Sixteen
Monday, March 24: Elite Eight
Wednesday, March 26: Final Four
Friday, March 28: Championship