Elite Armageddon Eight of the 2020 Tournament of Zeitgeisty Writers is all wrapped up, and we now have our Final Four(horsemen of the Apocalypse).
Let’s go bracket by bracket:
Margaret Atwood kept it close with Aldous Huxley, but lost in the end. I was rooting for her. I’m a huge fan of Huxley’s under-read apocalyptic pre-postmodernist Ape and Essence, but I have to admit I was rooting for Atwood.
I was torn between Ballard and LeGuin in the second bracket—both authors described and diagnosed our zeitgeist. Ballard prevailed.
Ballard will square off against Huxley in the Dead British Writers bracket of the Final Four.
Pynchon and DeLillo both had tough roads to the Final Four. Pynchon beat out Anna Kavan and David Foster Wallace to get to the Elite Eight; DeLillo bested Pat Frank and Philip K. Dick. All of these writers are great, and, more importantly to our rubric, seemed to presciently capture the current dystopia the 20th century was brewing. (Okay, Frank isn’t great, but.)
Pynchon beat DeLillo easily though.
Like Pynchon, Cormac McCarthy pretty much thumped everyone he was matched against, including low seed José Saramago in the Elite Eight. While I’m sure a ton of folks will cite The Road as his zeitgeistiest novel, I’d argue it’s Blood Meridian (or even No Country for Old Men).
Pynchon will contend with McCarthy in the White American Authors in Their Eighties bracket of the Final Four. I’m not sure how to vote. In some ways, this is like, the final bracket for me.