March Madness WWIII Style: Round 1 Results Part II

March Madness: World War III Novel Tournament Round 1 Results Part II

Blue Region

There are a few underappreciated gems in this region’s pairings, and the book I selected for the #1 seed has caused some controversy among a select group of readers. 😊

#1 Alas Babylon vs #8 WWIII

Winner: Alas Babylon

There isn’t much I can say about Alas Babylon that hasn’t already been said. It is a classic piece of fiction. Some folks aren’t convinced it is a World War III novel, but I beg to differ. The military aspect played a significant role in the character and plot development and World War III was waged during the novel’s timeline. WWIII by Ian Slater isn’t as fortunate. It is a confused mess of a book that covers an American naval family through a US-Soviet Union Third World War. Kind of like a modern-day version of The Winds of War, but nowhere near as well written.

#3 Sword Point vs #6 The Red Line

Winner: Sword Point

Harold Coyle’s Sword Point is one of the very few novels to explore what a conflict between the United States and Soviet Union in Iran. The writing is brutally direct and the characters come to life magnificently. The Red Line is your typical mediocre World War III novel. It is essentially an 80s era NATO-Warsaw Pact clash re-boxed and dropped into the modern day. Same units, same geography, same result. The writing is clunky, and nowhere near as skillfully developed as other books in the genre.

#4 Third World War: The Untold Story vs #5 The War That Never Was

Winner: The War That Never Was

Sir John Hackett’s sequel to Third World War was something of a disappointment. Although it did manage to fill in some holes for readers, Untold Story was nowhere near the powerhouse that its predecessor was. The War That Never Was is probably one of the more interesting WWIII titles available. It is a naval-centric novel, covering a NATO-Warsaw Pact conflict in the late 80s. The central front is hardly mentioned since the focus is on the naval and air clashes between NATO/US and Pact/Soviet forces from Norway to the Sea of Japan. Well-written and an original concept.

#2 Arc Light vs #7 The Elephant Game

Winner: Arc Light

I’m a big fan of Arc Light. It is similar to The Sixth Battle in the sense that had it been released a couple years sooner, it would be regarded on the same level as Red Storm Rising. Eric Harry’s novel is deep, and exciting from the first page through to the last. The Elephant Game is Book 4 of the War Planner series by Andrew Watts. It covers the start of a contemporary World War III in the Pacific. China vs the US. Why it took Watt four books to get to the actual war is beyond me. This book is decent, nothing great. Characters are quite stereotypical and, for that matter, so is the plot.

Gold Region

Looking back now, it’s clear I created a relatively weak field of teams for the Gold Bracket. The #1 seed is quite vulnerable to an upset in future rounds.

#1 On The Beach vs #8 World War 1990

Winner: On The Beach

Some people don’t consider On The Beach to be a World War III novel. I beg to differ. If you take away the war, there’s no plot and half of the characters would vanish. And let’s not forget the impact this novel has had on popular culture. As for World War 1990, it never had a chance here. I’ve reviewed the book recently, so many of you are familiar with my take on it. 😊

#3 The Last Ship vs #6 Amerika

Winner: The Last Ship

The Last Ship has enjoyed a new lease on life since it was turned into a TV series loosely based on the novel a few years ago. In the novel, the crew of a US Navy destroyer searches for a new home after surviving a full-scale nuclear conflict between the United States and Soviet Union in the early 1990s. Amerika is the novelization of the miniseries of the same name. It’s a little less cumbersome than the miniseries, but that’s not enough to carry it through to the next round.

#4 Vortex vs #5 Tomorrow

Winner: Tomorrow

Vortex is Larry Bond’s novel about a near-global conflict erupting from the volatile situation in South African during Apartheid’s waning days. A solid read, but one which was obsolete even before it was released in 1991. Tomorrow is a book I came across by accident some time ago. It is a nuclear war story that centers around the bombing of two fictitious Midwestern cities in the mid to late 1950s. One has prepared for an attack through strong civil defense, while the other has not. Tomorrow is a solid and compelling slice-of-1950s-life/nuclear World War III story. Definitely underrated and without a doubt, a sleeper in this tourney.

#2 Team Yankee vs #7 Invasion

Winner: Team Yankee

Harold Coyle’s debut work became the quintessential tactical-level World War III novel of all time. He taps on his experiences as an armor officer who spent time in West Germany to build a realistic, believable story that sucks the reader in completely. Team Yankee is a classic work in nearly every regard. Invasion by Eric Harry is a novel about a future Chinese invasion of the United States. Enjoyable, but not exactly plausible. Yankee is the definite winner here.

14 Replies to “March Madness WWIII Style: Round 1 Results Part II”

    1. I’ll tell you what, I could’ve fielded a 64 book field easily. Survivalist would’ve been included then. 🙂 Next year I might widen the field.


  1. Interesting developments. You motivated me to pick up Red Metal for my long flights this week. Fairly tame so far.

    After someone mentioned Warday, I would nominate Red Hammer 1994 for next year. It is still the best attempt at showing how a nuclear war would really be waged.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It will pick up a bit as you get deeper into the novel. Not a great read but good enough for a long flight.

      I really like Red Hammer 1994. The problem is that its so similar to Arc Light. I couldn’t put both in this tourney but next year definitely!


  2. I was rooting for Invasion. Not too many focus on US/China and some of his concepts on the defense and infantry being ascendant again due to PGMs have some interesting echos today, if not totally on point. And his book Arc Light’s description of limited nuclear war was terrifying. I wish he had written more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Honestly, I was rooting for it too. It’s one of my favorite books and I enjoyed Arc Light too. He’s starting to write again, but its mainly sci-fi. Hope he goes back to the military genre soon


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