Recently I went to Books in the Basin, and saw so many authors and events I couldn’t possibly fit it all into one post.

The first night had the second Literary Death Match I’ve ever seen, if you look them up, you may find they’re traveling near you! Seriously, they go all over the world–and they’re amazing.


Judges Peter Clines, John Trishitti, and Carrie Vaughn, and host Adrian Zuniga.

What Literary Death Match (LDM) is–a two round and final round event. Round One has two authors reading a 7 minute or less snippet–they get dinged if they go over–and then three also writerly judges choosing a winner. Round Two goes the same, and then the two winners compete against each other for the final win (with the help of four audience members.)

Round One featured Jeramey Kraatz, who read a hilarious essay on life after Hogwarts for one of the many minor characters–a struggle to fit into the Muggle world with impractical skills, a gradual despair and slowing of spell use. But it ends on a hopeful note–after all, you’re still a wizard.

Deborah Crombie read an excerpt from one of her books, about a police officer going to the subway to listen to her boyfriend perform. And then suddenly, there are people on fire.

Round Two had Julie Murphy, who read an essay about her heroes–characters from tv and movies, especially Dolly Parton from Steel Magnolias. They taught her life lessons about being a strong, independent woman, and also the importance of accessorizing.

Austin Grossman shared a work in progress about President Nixon and the Elder Gods. Nixon is returning from his disgrace, giving a speech to a hostile audience, and angry that his sacrifices are being ignored.

The pieces were funny satires, or serious mysteries, some fast-paced and well rehearsed, a couple ran over time and had to be rushed. And the judges’ comments are generally funny, and barely on topic–whatever comes to mind, they’ll say. Murphy and Kraatz won their rounds, and went on to the final.


Semi-finalists Julie Murphy and Jeramey Kraatz play Lone Star Lit.

I’ve heard the final competitions are different, but this time I saw another Lone Star Lit–one star book reviews of classic literature, the first team to guess the title gets the points. It’s funny how competitive the teams can be–the bell ended up on the floor after a particularly enthusiastic ringing. It’s also funny–and terrible–what some people had to say about the classics.

The event is moves along quickly, what with the timed readings, the quick judges comments, and the host entertaining the audience as the judges deliberate. And of course, the final round is a question of speed, too, so the LDM brings a feeling of action and suspense to a literary event, which I highly recommend!


About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

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