Today, millions of people will be watching armored gladiators bash themselves violently into other armored gladiators. The wounded will fall and limp, aided by small men half their size, off to the sidelines. The crowd will roar with each brutal collision. The victors will bask in the ecstacy of victory and the losers will hang their heads and slip off in silence to lick their wounds and nurse their disappointment.
One thing that has puzzled me about the science fiction and fantasy genre is the near-complete inability of an otherwise creative collection of authors to create credible futuristic or fantasy sports. As a longtime member of the SFWA I have observed that writers tend to be endomorphs. So, my pet theory is that the main reason for the relative lack of sports in the literature stems from a general lack of personal familiarity with sports combined with the intellectual tendency towards the obscure and the cerebral. I would venture to guess that there are more published fantasy authors with fencing experience than ever played high school football. On the other hand, the number of serious martial arts practitioners, a few of whom are physically imposing specimens, tends to belie this notion. But, it seems to me that given the high level of interest in sport across a wide variety of modern societies, it is remarkable that it’s not something that most fantasy authors are inclined to write about.
Of course, when one considers the complete silliness of the few attempts in this area, such as Quidditch and Warhammer’s Bloodbowl, it’s easy to conclude that perhaps the authors are doing the wise thing by leaving well enough alone.