My Personal “March Madness”


I’ve always loved games. Since I was a child, I’ve rarely been without a current game “relationship.” Some were/are long running (chess, trivia) and some flared up brightly and then quickly burned out (e.g., poker). I also spend a lot (too much, if you’ve got to know the truth) of time and effort as a fan (football, basketball, chess, tennis, or sometimes just whatever’s available at the time). If there wasn’t a game to be found, I’d invent one. (and yes, of course, the above is from the classic movie, “Wargames,” starring Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy)

This month, I’m going to try a “Vonnegut Short Story Madness” game. I’ve picked 32 of his short stories, sorted them into four regions (Love, War, Technology, and Humanity) and throughout the month will pit them against each other in a single-elimination competition for my reading affections to determine my “2013 favorite”…

My plan is to write about each “matchup” and justify my selection of the “winner.” The further the stories advance in my “tournament” the more detailed the write ups may become. Maybe, if I have time, I will read the stories yet again for each new round of the tournament. I know, I know, I can hear the “Nerd Alert!” sirens blaring, but it should also be fun…

I will also welcome lobbying from my fellow citizens of Bibliophilopolis, and am willing to be swayed if the argument is convincing. Just add a comment in support of a story that’s one of your favorites – or rake me over the coals for eliminating another!

All the stories may be found in the following four Vonnegut short story collections:

Welcome to the Monkey House
While Mortals Sleep
Bagombo Snuff Box
Armageddon in Retrospect

By my count, these collections include 75 stories, but I picked the 32 I remembered enjoying at least to some degree.

Below are my “regional brackets” (seeding is not quite random), and the winners of each region will meet in my Vonnegut Short Story Final Four. I’ll try to summarize a bracket’s round 1 results every four days or so, then slow down the pace a little for the later rounds. If this project works out, I already am contemplating a “Ray Bradbury Short Story Madness” next year. 🙂

What do YOU think of my new game?






  1. jenvolk5 said,

    March 1, 2013 at 9:27 am

    This is a great idea!! Can’t wait to see how this turns out. It almost makes me want to read along 🙂


    • Jay said,

      March 1, 2013 at 9:36 am

      I’m excited to get going. I wish I didn’t have to work today so I could start reading now! 🙂


  2. Dale said,

    March 1, 2013 at 10:22 am

    I’m looking forward to seeing how this goes! It sounds incredibly fun!


    • Jay said,

      March 2, 2013 at 7:10 am

      Me too! I’m going to try to get through 4 stories today. It may be hard for me to keep up with this project!


  3. Melissa said,

    March 6, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    Wonderful idea! Can’t wait to see how it goes.


    • Jay said,

      March 6, 2013 at 6:14 pm

      It’s been fun so far. I’ve finished eight stories and have a rough draft of two of the ‘matchups’ about ready to post. It’s going to be hard to finish this one on time… 🙂

      I was thinking next year I’ll find 32 authors who I have at least 5 stories from, that way the authors can fill out the brackets and I can read different stories for each round.


  4. March 11, 2013 at 10:57 am

    Absolute madness,! Love it.


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