By David Goldfarb: National Academic Quiz Tournaments, LLC is an outgrowth of what used to be known as College Bowl — they provide College Bowl-style questions for people who want to run tournaments, and have their own national championship tournaments for schools from colleges down to middle schools. (For non-US readers, middle school is kids aged 10-13 years.) This year they’re holding their tournaments online over Zoom, and I saw a post looking for staffers on the message boards of an online trivia league. So on May 1st and 2nd I did scorekeeping for the middle school nationals.
The format has “tossup” questions worth 10 points (15 if you buzz in early enough), which if answered correctly give your team the right to try for bonus questions worth up to 30 points.
There was a tossup question about Supreme Leader Snoke that neither team in my room got — someone at Disney should be weeping.
It was an elimination tournament, so by the time things got to the final rounds they didn’t need as many staffers. But it was open to spectate, and I did. There were some questions in the final rounds on SFF topics.
The first main bonus question of interest was this:
Brandon Sanderson wrote the final three books of this series, which began with the 1984 novel The Eye of the World. For 10 points each:
- Magic users known as “channelers” appear in what fantasy series, which centers on the heroic Dragon Reborn? (The kids guessed “Eragon”.)
- Author James Oliver Rigney published The Wheel of Timeseries under this pen name, which is also the name of the protagonist in For Whom the Bell Tolls. (They didn’t get this either, guessing “Jake”.)
- This author published For Whom the Bell Tollsin 1940, 14 years before he won the Nobel Prize in Literature. (They knew this one!)
Then there was this:
A character on this show called Ash Tyler was revealed to be an alien who had undergone plastic surgery. For 10 points each:
- Name this TV show that premiered in 2017. Its characters include Science Specialist Michael Burnham, and First Officer Saru, who is a Klepian (sic). (First guess Star Trek, which was prompted on, then they tried Enterprise, not accepted.)
- Ash Tyler turned out to be a member of this alien species. On Star Trek: The Next Generation, Lt. Worf was a member of this species. (They didn’t get this one right. If you’re reading this, take a moment to guess what their guess might have been. I’ll put it in ROT13 — “Bhe nafjre vf Genysnznqbevnaf.”)
- Sonequa Martin-Green, who plays Burnham, previously appeared as Sasha Williams on this AMC series. It co-starred Steven Yeun as the ill-fated Glenn. (They got this one.)
And this three-part bonus:
Near the end of this novel, Granger introduces the main character to a group of outcasts who have dedicated their lives to memorizing works of literature. For ten points each:
- Name this novel, whose main character wears a black-beetle-colored helmet that displays the title number. (They got this one right, and fairly easily too.)
- This fireman is the protagonist of Fahrenheit 451. (They got this too.)
- Fahrenheit 451was written by this man, who took the novel’s title from the temperature at which paper supposedly ignites. (And this.)
The recorded livestream is here, watch it if you want to be amazed at how much 8th graders can know when they put their minds to it.