The completed Battle of the Kids' Books brackets - including judges - have been published. The first round is completely filled in. And for the first time in three years I suddenly understand how the Battle team pairs the books up - in alphabetical order. It is so simple, that it's brilliant. Sometime, the books in a bracket have similarities but even that is an accident. Sometimes, the books seem to have originated on two different spheres. It just makes the judges' jobs that more complicated and their rationalizations that more enticing.
Who makes up this team of diabolic Battle moderators? Are they demons, like the Game Masters in Homeward Bounders, or mere mortals with brains, bent and gnarled by years of reading? We might know their names but do we know them - their true selves? I fear not.
And yet, we follow where they lead, into the arena. (Cue martial music with lots of swords crashing on shields.)