The Dragon Awards! My interest in these was mild curiosity and that maybe they would be a nice outlet for the Sad Puppies but things have got more odd of late.
To recap: Dragon*Con, the sprawling pop-culture expo/con in Atlanta (obligatory Wikipedia entry here) announced in late March that they would be running their own SF/F awards. Some general ‘OK’s from non-Puppies of various kinds and some excitement from actual Puppies. A website was created http://awards.dragoncon.org/ and various details were posted.
Because the award was new, the nomination period was going to be fairly short. I don’t know how much interest there was initially in nominating but in July Larry Correia posted a longer post about them http://monsterhunternation.com/2016/07/12/wrongfans-unite-only-a-week-left-to-nominate-for-the-dragon-awards/
This weekend I was at LibertyCon, and I ran into one of the organizers of the Dragon Awards. He said that he was kind of surprised that he hadn’t seen me talk about them online much. I told him that was because of Sad Puppies, I’m a controversial figure, there are just too many bitter harpies and poo flingers from fandom’s inbred pustulent under-choad who automatically flip out about anything I do, so I didn’t want to rock the boat for them.
But his response? Screw that. This award is for ALL FANS. And you have fans. So GO BUG THEM! We want so many people voting in this thing that no little clique or faction can sway it. The more fans involved, the better.
Fair enough I say. The people running the award (not sure who they are but then it isn’t like I know who anybody is) are OK with an award in which authors mobilise fans that is their business. Also, Larry is clearly somebody who can mobilise a fan base. It is a smart way of kick starting some interest. Maybe they also hoped for some Puppy-kerfuffle like action i.e. counter-sads running some sort of stop Larry campaign? Who knows! If they did, it didn’t happen.
Fast forward. Time went on and in early August there was no sign of any nominees and the Dragon Con awards website hadn’t been updated in months. Eventually on August 10 people who had signed up to nominate started getting notifications of how to vote. Declan Finn was one of the first to post the news here http://apiusman.blogspot.com.au/2016/08/dragon-awards-are-here-vote-early-vote.html He also posted how he had voted.
Larry Correia also posted a list of finalists and while he did mention people on the list who were his friends, he didn’t publish any kind of slate or suggest how people should vote: http://monsterhunternation.com/2016/08/11/son-of-the-black-sword-is-a-finalist-for-the-dragon-award/
Oddly, the list I saw and that was on Larry’s blog had a few extra nominees compared with the list Declan Finn published. Possibly he miscopied a few from the survey?
It is worth noting that Declan Finn’s “Honor at Stake” was a nominee in the Best Horror category. No offence intended towards Mr Finn but Honor at Stake was probably neither one of the best nor most popular horror novels in the eligibility period. The book itself is currently between publishers and despite what Timothy might say it is not currently set the horror fiction world alight. The upside is that it is a good marker for how people may have voted.
We know the size of Declan Finn’s online voting fan base from Sad Puppies 4. He got about 25 votes in SP4. Maybe the publicity from SP4 got him some more and maybe Larry’s fans looking for things to nominate in horror decided to vote for Finn? I don’t know but I’m guessing that 25 to 30 votes could get you a nomination on some of the less popular categories.
Moving on. August 11, Vox Day publishes his voting list here https://voxday.blogspot.com.au/2016/08/the-dragon-awards.html
Then, in the aftermath of the Hugos, Sad Puppy and Rabid Puppy commentary would touch upon the Hugos as an alternative. So it is fair to say that there was some degree of interest in the Dragon Awards from both Sad and Rabid Puppies.
Other people? Not so much. John Scalzi had already stated a blanket opt-out for all awards and specifically withdrew from the Dargon Awards. Ann Beckie, N.K. Jemisin didn’t express an interest. Jim Butcher (who was a guest of honour at Dragon Con) stated that he thought Larry Coreia’s book was better [I think – can’t find the quote now, so maybe I imagined it].
Baen books posted some promotion of the awards on its Facebook page. There was also some discussion of them on its community forum Baen’s Bar.
Maybe some of the other non-Puppy aligned authors did some campaigning among their fans – I don’t know but there doesn’t seem to be much sign of it.
Voting itself was in three stages
1. register your email address (if you had already done this nominate you didn’t need to do it again)
2. Get an email to a Survey Monkey ballot
3. Fill it in
The results were announced in a smallish ceremony at Dragon*Con. Declined Finn videoed proceedings. Other notable people present were Eric Flint and Toni Weisskopf.
[see table at the end for full results]
There aren’t any 🙂 Whether they will release any I don’t know. The only vague figure we have is a comment in the award ceremony that there had been “thousands and thousands of votes”. I guess that means at least 2 thousand and less then 10 thousand. However, the quote was “votes” not “voters” and so it is possible that the number counts each category separately.
Jim Henley treated the numbers as a Fermi problem here: http://file770.com/?p=30445&cpage=5#comment-477751 I’ll carry on in a similar vein.
If we assume each category counter separately and then totalled and take the upper estimate of 10 thousand votes we get an average of 666.67 votes per category. That certainly sounds plausible or if anything too small.
If we assume thousands of voters then we don’t have much to go on. However, we can work backwards.
Let’s assume Vox Day’s post mobilised his voters. He claims 400 vile faceless minion and a couple of hundred dread ilk. My magic number for an inner cadre of Vox supporters is 160. Given all that 600+ votes for Vox Day’s pick is a conservative estimate.
Larry Correia’s post probably mobilised at least that many people but with more variety in the way they voted. The Baen presence in the nominations and at the award would suggest a Baen vote as well but this would have some overlap with the Larry vote and the Vox vote.
The Baen presence in the nominations and at the award would suggest a Baen vote as well but this would have some overlap with the Larry vote and the Vox vote. The win by Terry Pratchett for best YA novel was unsurprising but it is reasonable to assume that many Sad Puppy aligned voters would have voted for Dave Freer’s book and reasonable to assume many of Vox Day’s voters would have followed his lead. That Pratchett won suggests at least as many non-puppies voting as puppies of either stripe (but split between more works).
The win by Terry Pratchett for best YA novel was unsurprising but it is reasonable to assume that many Sad Puppy aligned voters would have voted for Dave Freer’s book and reasonable to assume many of Vox Day’s voters would have followed his lead. That Pratchett won suggests at least as many non-puppies voting as puppies of either stripe (but split between more works).
John C Wright’s Somewither won best SF novel beating Baen favourite Chuck Gannon amongst others. Wright does have a section of fans that are independent of the general puppydom but even so I think this win is suggestive of a significant vote following Vox’s guidance. (Again – not against the rules or spirit of the award).
So a 1000+ puppies of either stripe is plausible. It could be roughly 1K Rabidish voters and 1K Saddish voters without stretching credibility too much. Likewise, it could be as low as 500 Rabidish and 500 Saddish voters. I think less than that is implausible as both Larry and Vox could persuade over 100 people each to spend money on voting in the Hugos.
Non-puppies? As the voting system was a simple first past the post system, the winner need not have got 50% of the votes. For example, if 1001 people voted for Somewither and 3000 people didn’t but split their vote evenly across the other nominees then Somewither would win easily. A combined total of 2000 saddish and rabidish voters could produce the same results as the dragon’s had the non-puppyish vote was close to 10 thousand if the non-puppy vote split evenly between works.
So my guesstimate range? About 2000 to 5000 voters is plausible, substantially less would be only a bit remarkable. Possibly it could be more. I’d looked at the number with a screwed up sceptical face if the total number of voters was closer to 10 thousand.
So was the result dodgy?
The result is what it is. If somebody really wanted to vote multiple times, then the only thing that would stop them was that the process of receiving the ballot after registering was slow and probably manual. In theory, somebody could register with multiple addresses with only marginally more effort than it takes to register an extra Gmail etc account.
The results, overall, are consistent with what we know about how the award was publicised and who took an interest in it. I strongly doubt that Larry Correia would countenance supporters voting more than once. Vox Day probably wouldn’t do so either – not because of any deep moral qualms but because he didn’t need to bother and he is smart enough to know that if he won too easily then the value of victory would be diminished.
Could somebody have voted more than once? Probably, just on the grounds that people do stuff.
Having said all that, this was year one of an under-publicised award. It was an opt-in internet poll with only a limited connection between the con and the poll. It has all the flaws of an internet poll. In particular, if people begin to suspect that some faction/fandom/whoever is stuffing the ballot box, then this is likely to result in many voters walking away or other groups counter-stuffing in retaliation. But those are problems for the Dragon Awards next year.
Is it a particularly notable victory or vindication of the puppies? No, but I’m happy for them to think that it is. The winners went to those who could and did mobilise fans to vote. As currently set up this is an award for who can bring the most fans to come and vote. If you think about it that way, then the result are deserved. Prior to the awards, if I asked people “If there was an award for mobilising a distinct set of fans to go and vote in a particular way, who should win it?” then I think we’d probably hum and ha over whether Larry Correia or Vox Day should win and then probably pick Larry because who wants Vox to win anything? As it happens they get to share bragging rights 🙂
||Nominee List [MHI]||Vox Day’s Picks||Winners|
|1. Best Science Fiction Novel||The Life Engineered by J-F Dubeau|
|1. Best Science Fiction Novel||Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie|
|1. Best Science Fiction Novel||Agent of the Imperium by Marc Miller|
|1. Best Science Fiction Novel||Somewhither: A Tale of the Unwitheriing Realm by John C. Wright||Somewhither: A Tale of the Unwithering Realm by John C. Wright||w|
|1. Best Science Fiction Novel||Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson|
|1. Best Science Fiction Novel||Raising Caine by Charles E. Gannon|
|2. Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal)||Blood Hound by James Osiris Baldwin|
|2. Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal)||The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin|
|2. Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal)||Son of the Black Sword by Larry Correia||Son of the Black Sword by Larry Correia||w|
|2. Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal)||Asteroid Made of Dragons by G. Derek Adams|
|2. Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal)||Changeling’s Island by Dave Freer|
|2. Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal)||Grave Measures by R.R. Virdi|
|2. Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal)||The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher|
|3. Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel||Changeling’s Island by Dave Freer||Changeling’s Island by Dave Freer|
|3. Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel||Carry On by Rainbow Rowell|
|3. Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel||Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo|
|3. Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel||Steeplejack by A.J. Hartley|
|3. Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel||Trix and the Faerie Queen by Alethea Kontis|
|3. Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel||The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett||w|
|3. Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel||Calamity by Brandon Sanderson|
|3. Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel||Updraft by Fran Wilde|
|4. Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel||Chains of Command by Marko Kloos|
|4. Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel||The End of All Things by John Scalzi|
|4. Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel||The Price of Valor by Django Wexler|
|4. Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel||Hell’s Foundations Quiver by David Weber||Hell’s Foundations Quiver by David Weber||w|
|4. Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel||Wrath of an Angry God: A Military Space Opera by Gibson Michaels|
|4. Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel||Allies and Enemies: Fallen by Amy J. Murphy|
|4. Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel||Blood in the Water by Taylor Anderson|
|5. Best Alternate History Novel||Germanica by Robert Conroy|
|5. Best Alternate History Novel||Bombs Away: The Hot War by Harry Turtledove|
|5. Best Alternate History Novel||1635: A Parcel of Rogues by Eric Flint & Andrew Dennis|
|5. Best Alternate History Novel||League of Dragons by Naomi Novik||League of Dragons by Naomi Novik||w|
|5. Best Alternate History Novel||1636: The Cardinal Virtues by Eric Flint & Walter H. Hunt|
|5. Best Alternate History Novel||Deadlands: Ghostwalkers by Jonathan Maberry|
|6. Best Apocalyptic Novel||Dark Age by Felix O. Hartmann|
|6. Best Apocalyptic Novel||The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin|
|6. Best Apocalyptic Novel||The Desert and the Blade by S.M. Stirling|
|6. Best Apocalyptic Novel||Chasing Freedom by Marina Fontaine|
|6. Best Apocalyptic Novel||Ctrl Alt Revolt! by Nick Cole||Ctrl Alt Revolt! by Nick Cole||w|
|6. Best Apocalyptic Novel||A Time to Die by Mark Wandrey|
|7. Best Horror Novel||Honor at Stake by Declan Finn|
|7. Best Horror Novel||Souldancer by Brian Niemeier||Souldancer by Brian Niemeier||w|
|7. Best Horror Novel||Disappearance at Devil’s Rock by Paul Tremblay|
|7. Best Horror Novel||Chapelwood by Cherie Priest|
|7. Best Horror Novel||An Unattractive Vampire by Jim McDoniel|
|7. Best Horror Novel||Alice by Christina Henry|
|8. Best Comic Book||Civil War II||don’t know, don’t care’|
|8. Best Comic Book||Ms. Marvel||w|
|8. Best Comic Book||Providence|
|8. Best Comic Book||Saga|
|8. Best Comic Book||Astro City|
|8. Best Comic Book||Daredevil|
|8. Best Comic Book||DC Universe: Rebirth|
|9. Best Graphic Novel||The Sandman: Overture by Neil Gaiman||The Sandman: Overture by Neil Gaiman||w|
|9. Best Graphic Novel||Virgil by Steve Orlando|
|9. Best Graphic Novel||Chicago by Glenn Head|
|9. Best Graphic Novel||Sacred Heart by Liz Suburbia|
|9. Best Graphic Novel||Killing and Dying by Adrian Tomine|
|9. Best Graphic Novel||March: Book Two by John Lewis & Andrew Aydin|
|10. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series||The Expanse – Syfy|
|10. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series||Jessica Jones – Netflix|
|10. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series||Daredevil – Netflix|
|10. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series||Outlander – Starz|
|10. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series||Doctor Who – BBC|
|10. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series||Game of Thrones – HBO||Game of Thrones – HBO||w|
|10. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series||The Flash – CW|
|11. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie||Deadpool||Deadpool|
|11. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie||Captain America: Civil War|
|11. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie||Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens|
|11. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie||Crimson Peak|
|11. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie||Ant-Man|
|11. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie||The Martian||w|
|12. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy PC / Console Game||Undertale by Toby Fox|
|12. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy PC / Console Game||Overwatch by Blizzard Entertainment|
|12. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy PC / Console Game||Fallout 4 by Bethesda Softworks||w|
|12. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy PC / Console Game||Metal Gear Solid V by Konami Digital Entertainment||Metal Gear Solid V by Konami Digital Entertainment|
|12. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy PC / Console Game||Darkest Dungeon by Red Hook Studios|
|12. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy PC / Console Game||XCOM 2 by 2k Games|
|13. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game||Fallout Shelter by Bethesda Softworks||Fallout Shelter by Bethesda Softworks||w|
|13. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game||Hyper Burner by Patrick Cook|
|13. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game||Quaser One by Emre Taskin|
|13. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game||Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes by Electronic Arts|
|13. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game||PewDiePie: Legend of the Brofist by Outerminds Inc.|
|14. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Board Game||Codenames by Vlaada Chvatil|
|14. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Board Game||Star Wars: Rebellion by Fantasy Flight Games|
|14. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Board Game||Monopoly: CTHULHU by USAopoly|
|14. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Board Game||Talon by GMT Games||Talon by GMT Games|
|14. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Board Game||Blood Rage by Cool Mini or Not|
|14. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Board Game||Pandemic: Legacy by ZMan Games||w|
|15. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Miniatures / Collectible Card / Role-Playing Game||Magic the Gathering: Shadows over Innistrad by Wizards of the Coast|
|15. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Miniatures / Collectible Card / Role-Playing Game||Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls by Flying Buffalo|
|15. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Miniatures / Collectible Card / Role-Playing Game||Mousguard 2nd Edition by David Petersen & Luke Crane|
|15. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Miniatures / Collectible Card / Role-Playing Game||Star Wars: Armada by Fantasy Flight Games|
|15. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Miniatures / Collectible Card / Role-Playing Game||Magic the Gathering: Battle of Zendikar by Wizards of the Coast|
|15. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Miniatures / Collectible Card / Role-Playing Game||Call of Cthulhu Roleplaying Game (7th Edition) by Chaosium Inc.||Call of Cthulhu Roleplaying Game (7th Edition) by Chaosium Inc.||w|