I have picked The Anthologist to move on, but this is one of those pairings I wish was in the second round. Everything Ravaged has a fair claim to move forward for having one of the best titles in the field. But, as good as some of the stories are, I do not think the whole is as great as the sum of The Anthologist‘s parts. It is the nature of the short story collection versus a novel that a novel can, generally, burrow deeper into its subject. That is, I think, the case here. Add to that the fact that Baker’s work is more original in terms of subject and structure and I have to stick with Baker.
Still, Tower has some very, very good stories in this collection and even the weakest are quite readable. If he is declared the winner, I would not say that the result is unjust, simply that it is not the result I would have chosen.
If Baker wins, Lizzy will take over as the undisputed leader with five out of six available points and two matches to go in the First Round. If Tower wins, Chris and Christy share the five-of-six lead with an inevitable parting of the ways tomorrow. Still, any of five contestants could own or share the lead by Friday and everyone still has a mathematical shot as the vast majority of points are still up for grabs.
[Update: Baker wins; Lizzy has the lead. There is a four-way tie for second at 4/6.]