So, the Dragon Awards have come and gone, and I;m most definitely late to the after-awards discussion. However, I wanted to get a few thoughts it (and share a more comprehensive post on the main takeaways by Dragon Award nominee Richard Paolinelli.)
The first, is that the Dragons have demonstrated that no one group can game the system. There were several groups that campaigned during this awards season, in addition to individual authors who gave their own recommendations and/or campaigned for their own works. As Richard writes, it seems that every group ended up with one winner, and none dominated. This is a clear indication to me that, unlike the Hugos, or the other major sf/f awards, the Dragons is an award that truly allows all fans to vote for their favorite book (and other sf/f things.) And there is no awful “no award” option. Of course, as Richard mentions, there are those usual suspects who have alleged something fishy behind the scenes, even with no evidence.
Most of the things I voted for this year did not win, but some did, and that’s how a real fan award should be. The more popular things, which generate the most excitement, win. We saw a wide range of people and works win, books from large publishers and at least one indie published book, and we had winners of greatly varying political persuasions.
The second main takeaway is that, if things continue as they have been, the Dragon Award will become the premier award for sf/f works in the very near future. Already this year, it had more than twice the number of voters that the Hugos or Nebulas did, and a much higher voter retention rate from the nominating process to the final vote.
It’s no surprise, then, that those usual suspects on the left such as those at Vile 770, have been trying to delegitimize it. There have been allegations of funny business behind the scenes of the voting, as well as angry remarks about how not enough women and minorities won (though plenty were nominated.) To be mad about the gender or ethnicity of the winners, however, only demonstrates that to these people who the writer is matters more than what they have created–and the whole point of the award should be that the best, or at least most popular, works win. It’s very simple
That’s all I’ve got to say, really. I look forward to voting in the Dragon Awards in the future, and I hope to one day win one. G-d willing, the trend will continue, and the award will continue to grow, while those with a barrier to entry will remain largely the domain of the little cliques that use them to prop up their in-group and agendas.
In the event that any of those angry folk read this, stop whining about the Dragons. You’ll always have the Hugo Affirmative Action Awards.