Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Group of Death

Jeff VanderMeer has organized a World Cup of Fiction, which groups the thirty-two nations of this year's soccer World Cup and asks readers to handicap the field in fiction instead of football. I'm refining his terms and restricting myself to crime writing.

Group A is the tournament’s Group of Death (and where is that term more meaningful than in a crime-fiction competition?)

For South Africa, Roger Smith, Deon Meyer, Margie Orford, Richard Kunzmann, James McClure (no one said the players had to be alive), Michael Stanley and Jassy Mackenzie head a lethal group of strikers that could be deep for years.

The French have Dominique Manotti, Fred Vargas and Tonino Benacquista in a midfield that plays a less attacking style than the vuvuzela-tooters but is capable of deadly surgical strikes.

France could wangle for Yasmina Khadra on its side, too, though he could make a dangerous striker for Algeria in Group C.

In Group D, Peter Temple, Shane Maloney, Leigh Redhead, David Owen, Chris Nyst, and Adrian Hyland are just a few of the names on an Australian side that is a strong dark-horse contender, just as the Socceroos were in the real World Cup – at least until the competition started. (Temple, by the way, was born in – you guessed it – South Africa.)

Italy has Group F wrapped up, and I'll tab New Zealand to sneak into the knockout stage.

The Netherlands and Japan should fight it out in Group E of the Crime Fiction World Cup, hampered only by the fact that their stars, Janwillem van de Wetering and Seicho Matsumoto, are both dead.

England and the United States could make some noise in Group C.

Who do you think wins the 2010 World Cup of Crime Fiction?

© Peter Rozovsky 2010

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29 Comments:

Anonymous solo said...

This competition at least has the advantage that the women get to play, too, rather than just watch from the sidelines.

Although, if the competition ever reaches a climax, I bet the men will still come out on top.

June 15, 2010  
Anonymous solo said...

Peter, I foresee an opening day victory for the French with their entry Wash This Blood Clean From My Hand by that, er, famous French novelist Thierry Henry.

June 15, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

Where's Ireland in all this?

June 15, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, Ireland is sitting out soccer’s World Cup because it didn’t know what to do with its hands, or rather because the French did. Too bad. They could give anyone a run for their money in the World Cup of Crime Fiction.

If they let Northern Ireland and the Republic send a joint team, fook, they might be unbeatable. They'd be a lot more entertaining than most of the other teams, too.

June 15, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

Oh, I thought this was the World Cup of crime fiction. I'll check back whenever you get around to that one.

June 15, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, this World Cup of Crime Fiction started with the same field as the World Cup of soccer. But if there is sufficient demand, I could let the Irish in.

Hmm, then who would get the boot?

June 15, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

My favorite soccer game in the history of the game and of humor is that played by the German vs. Greek philosophers staged by Monty Python.

Every time I see it, I fall over laughing. It is priceless!

Can this be a contender?

June 15, 2010  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

solo said

"The women get to play, too, rather than just watch from the sidelines. Although, if the competition ever reaches a climax, I bet the men will still come out on top."

Nice, very nice.

June 15, 2010  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

N Korea FTW. What other nation has roving art agitation squads.

From an April 2010 N K NA press release:

General Secretary Kim Jong Il enjoyed a combined performance given by participants in the field of mass art of the Second April Spring People's Art Festival.

Members of art groups of various factories, enterprises and cooperative farms and members of art squads and itinerant art agitation squads put on the stage chorus "Song of Loyalty", agitation and song "Long Live Generalissimo Kim Il Sung", dialogic poem "Vinalon of the General", small chorus "Eternal Spring of the Sun" and poem and chorus "Push Back the Frontiers of Latest Science" and other colorful numbers of diverse genres.

The performers enthusiastically sang of the immortal feats of President Kim Il Sung to shine forever and the happiness of the Korean people who fully enjoy an independent and creative life in the socialist country of Juche and successfully represented the revolutionary spirit and strong will of the servicepersons and people of the DPRK to dash ahead like the wind toward the eminence of a great prosperous and powerful nation.

June 15, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

solo has left a new comment ...:

Peter, I foresee an opening day victory for the French with their entry Wash This Blood Clean From My Hand by that, er, famous French novelist Thierry Henry.


I like that. I hope I can come up with equally suitable crime-novel or -story titles for other teams.

June 15, 2010  
Anonymous solo said...

Peter, I'm sure you know what Kathy was talking about, but for anyone else who mightn't, thanks to the wonders of YouTube, here it is.

Thanks, Kathy, for reminding me of that. Hilarious.

I especially like the Karl Marx warming up bit. Substitutes, they're always a bit mad, aren't they?

June 15, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Kathy, you mean this?

June 15, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian: I like "Push Back the Frontiers of Latest Science" myself.

June 15, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Man, I am envisioning juvenile-delinquent movies as rival gangs in the PRK battle over who gets to agitate art in the streets.

June 15, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Yes, the Philosophers' World Cup, that's it. I love it. Yes, I like Karl Marx warming up, too.

But I just clicked on this and saw the German team coming out of a doorway led by Hegel, started laughing and had to turn it off as I have stuff to do now. Otherwise, I'll laugh and then start watching other Monty Python videos.

June 15, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Yep, Marx warming up and Socrates' heading the winning goal home were the highlights for me.

June 15, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Otherwise, I'll laugh and then start watching other Monty Python videos.

I think I'll listen to "The Philosophers' Song" next.

June 15, 2010  
Blogger Stan Trollip (of Michael Stanley) said...

McClure prepared South Africa for the event with his 1984 Cup World, but was accused of helping the Americans in his out of series Rogue Eagle.

June 16, 2010  
Blogger Kiwicraig said...

Like many sports teams in many codes, New Zealand's crime fiction squad would largely have a team of talented but relatively unknown players, with only one or two 'known' stars (e.g. Dame Ngaio Marsh) - but who given the chance to go head to head on a level playing field, would upset many of the favoured countries with bigger 'star names'.

June 16, 2010  
Blogger seana said...

Oh, I'm liking the idea of seeing Dame Ngaio on the squad! Bet she's got some good footwork.

June 16, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Craig, the Kiwi stars are going to be better known by the time of Brazil 2014 -- the World Cup of Crime Fiction.

June 16, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Stan Trollip (of Michael Stanley) has ...

McClure prepared South Africa for the event with his 1984 Cup World, but was accused of helping the Americans in his out of series Rogue Eagle.


... and of chronicling what the English have laid in every competition since 1966 in The Artful Egg.

June 16, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Seana, Dame Ngaio's theater background ought to make her more convincing than most at the dives soccer players execute so dramatically when they want to simulate injury and draw a foul call on the opposition.

June 16, 2010  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

No contest. The holders Italy with their striking force of Camilleri, and Sciascia [yes they are old and dead but very experienced] and a defensive wall of Carlotto, Carofiglio, Amannitti and Lucarelli must be hot favourites.

June 16, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Especially if Carlotto avoids falling victim to bad referees' decisions.

June 16, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

The "Philosophers' Song," is fun. I had never heard it before. I sent it on to nephew who loved it.

June 16, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Who could resist a rude rhyme about Rene Descartes?

June 16, 2010  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Could the saying attributed to Descartes really be, "I drink, therefore, I am."

June 17, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Loosely translated, why not?

June 17, 2010  

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