So how’s the Dragon Award going?

It has been a couple of months since I last checked on the Dragon Award website. Nothing has changed in the interim. To recap:

  • The awards are supposed to open for nominations in November.
  • As far as I am aware no announcement for 2019 has been made.
  • The register to vote link at the top navigation bar…simply takes you back to the front page.
  • A 2017 post saying “Nominations are now live” (in the ‘Recent Posts’ side bar) does have a link to a nomination page.
  • That page says “Welcome to the third annual Dragon Awards!” which implies it is last year’s page but…
  • …says “Nomination Deadline: July 20, 2019” implying it is this year’s page.
  • To nominate using this page you have to agree to the rules of the competition but the “rules” link leads only to the generic Dragon Con page.
  • The “Process” page says a qualifying novel is “around 70,000 words long” implying it might be a bit less or a bit more.
  • The “?” hover text on the nomination page says a qualifying novel is “at least 70,000 words long” implying it cannot be less but can be any size bigger than that.

This remains the strangest way of promoting an award I have ever seen.

[ETA: There’s an extra outbreak of revisionist Puppy history at Mad Genius Club: https://madgeniusclub.com/2019/02/16/fanhistory/ It’s not substantive enough for a post because it’s a secondhand account of somebody’s else presentation. There’s points were nominations and final votes seem to be being confused but I don’t want to attribute the claim to either the post writer or the original presenter because it’s not clear enough. However, this line stood out: “Dave Doering thinks that the Sad Puppy legacy was good for fandom. They led to the development of a truly descriptive award, the Dragons.” Hmmmm…]

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34 thoughts on “So how’s the Dragon Award going?

  1. From the Revisionist History: “[Doering’s] voice turned sad: “There was a feeling… when a cheer went up. There was a viciousness that I’d never seen before.”

    My. People cheering because their vision of an award was vindicated. A “viciousness” he’d never seen before.

    That’s…an interesting world the pups live in.

    Over here in our world, of course, we have people cheering children put in cages, cheering women being killed by bulldozers, cheering as Trump destroys the civil rights of our families and friends, cheering blatant white nationalism….

    Liked by 2 people

    1. delagar: My. People cheering because their vision of an award was vindicated. A “viciousness” he’d never seen before.

      And that was nothing compared to the vicious and vindictive abuse which has been heaped on Worldcon members over the years by the Puppies. Either Doering never read any of the posts at MGC, or else he didn’t have a problem with the sort of vicious abuse which aligned with his political sensibilities.

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  2. Who is Dave Doering? Is he the guy at DragonCon who made up the Dragon Awards and got them approved by the con? My understanding was that the idea of an award at DragonCon had been bandied around as an idea for years, so Puppies claiming credit for its existence is a bit of over-reach. But it does seem to be true that once the Puppies realized the new Hugo rules would cut off their stunt and while they were trying to back away from Beale, that they threw all their efforts into having the Dragons, which they figured they’d control. That the Dragons were partly poached last year by the KU authors has created an interesting turf war that Puppies and Puppy adjacent have already pretty much lost, despite votes still be consulting rather than deciding.

    As we know, votes are more guidelines for the Dragons rather than an actual election. But if the Red Panda faction does make a rec list, it does continue to put pressure on the Dragons award runners so that when they start their engines up, they will at least try to hold up some appearances and try to have big names and avoid choices that look clearly rigged.

    I expect David Weber is going to get some love this year, though. With him seizing control of ConCarolinas, declaring Ringo a pure being and telling women SFF authors to suck it, I figure they’re bound to reward him. I also expect the gaming awards part of the Dragons to get expanded if they are continuing them. The main voting audience is much more games than books and continues to draw from the GamerGiggles contingent.

    But eventually DragonCon is going to have to crack down on the award runners. It was clear from the past year that the award runners got scolded and tried to fix things a bit, but they still seem to have been left in charge and are smoking joints back behind the shed instead of running the thing. Eventually it may become real and straightforward awards, but again, that will only occur if enough pressure is put on the DragonCon staff about how foolish and crooked the awards and award process looks to the public, enough that they boot the current award runners and put in some ones who will run it straight for the DragonCon brand.

    If the Puppies were smart, they’d try to distance themselves from involvement in the Dragons, so that the nominations that they do get thrown don’t look so rigged and become a burdensome problem for the Dragons, rather than taking credit for starting up the awards. In trying to claim the awards as their own, they put the award runners in a tight spot, appearance wise. But maybe the revisionist history is because they didn’t like the KU authors muscling in on their turf and pressuring the award runners to have to give them some of the nominations.

    And don’t forget the YA/Middle Grade Dragon Award. The Puppies have little interest in it and so the award runners have thrown the award to books/authors that are somewhat anathema to the anti-SJW crowd, probably because they did get a fair number of actual votes. So if the Red Panda Faction and others bang the drums for good YA works, they are actually likely to make headway there. And there seems to be more chances of that for the Dragon Award for Horror novel as well.

    So again, as the award rules baldly state, the votes don’t count to actually, straightforwardly elect the winners and nominations, but they do clearly count as data and recs for the award runners who decide the Dragons and they influence the development of the awards. So it’s probably worth keeping the pressure up. Eventually, the award runners have to come out from behind the shed for this year and do desultory fixing.

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    1. Kat Goodwin: If the Puppies were smart, they’d try to distance themselves from involvement in the Dragons, so that the nominations that they do get thrown don’t look so rigged

      An author who has twice been a Dragon Award finalist bragged over on File 770 that he was close friends with the awards administrator. I couldn’t believe that he was stupid enough to say that, since it certainly doesn’t make his appearances on the ballot look as though they are based on merit.

      But then no one has ever accused the Puppies of being brilliant at understanding the implications of the things they say.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “An author who has twice been a Dragon Award finalist bragged over on File 770 that he was close friends with the awards administrator. I couldn’t believe that he was stupid enough to say that, since it certainly doesn’t make his appearances on the ballot look as though they are based on merit.”

        Heh. That’s almost as funny as when the Creationists gloated over the fact that the judge in the Kitzmiller case was a conservative Christian, and thus they would win easily. This did not work out so well for them (afterwards, of course, they realized the the judge must have been a radical liberal activist – they just hadn’t noticed before).

        If it was whatshisname (the second-waver) who boasted that he was friends with the admin, I wouldn’t necessarily believe him – that guy frequently claims friendship (and later enemyship).

        Liked by 1 person

    2. As for young adult fiction, unfortunately I think that award will more likely be given to books like trigger warning, a Conservative fantasy in which a young conservative college student is mocked for his beliefs, only To save everyone when his campuss is invaded by terrorists.
      When it comes to David Webber, I knew he was very conservative but I didn’t realise that he had gotten so far down the misogyny Tunnel, especially since some of his earlier books were written in collaboration with feminists admire.

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      1. David Weber is as close to a perennial Dragon Award nominee there is, because he has been nominated every year so far and even won at least once. But before the ConCarolinas mess, he was actually on my “maybe check this out sometime” list.

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      2. You have to look at how they are doing the Dragons so far. And that is, the award runners choose who gets nominations and who wins, and are given fairly free latitude to do so by DragonCon because DragonCon staff doesn’t really care. They have boldly stated so in their award rules and when they talk about the awards in the media. But the clubhouse is using DragonCon’s brand name, so if DragonCon gets a lot of complaints and public pressure, if the Dragons continue to be treated by the public as mainly a joke, DragonCon has to reluctantly and with annoyance crack down on the award runners (and seem to have done so in the recent past to some extent.) So the award runners do use the vote tallies as guidelines, to one degree or another, to walk a fine line.

        The more public criticism and attention focusing on the awards occurs, such as the efforts of the Red Panda Faction, the less out-right rigging the award runners can visibly do and risk DragonCon staff’s attention. Which is why the Puppies shouldn’t brag about being pals with them — they are making it harder for the award runners. And why the award runners do so badly with the Dragons website/voter drive, trying to keep things vague and turn away casual voters (who are more likely to be “liberal” and younger.) At the same time, the award runners need to have more voters/attention each year and have big name bestselling authors involved even if they are liberal, non-Puppy approved, to make the awards look more important, legit, and consequently again, not piss off DragonCon staff. They are on the horns of a dilemma, those award runners.

        The first year, 2016, was the year that they could most throw nominations and awards towards Puppies or Puppy acceptable authors because not a lot of folks were paying attention to the new awards, and that’s what the results were. However, a fair number of non-Puppies did vote in the first Dragons to see just how far the Dragons might be rigged towards the Puppies or not or because they attended DragonCon and supported the new con awards. Those non-Puppies voted in the YA/MG award category. But the Puppy voting performance was clearly more variable in that category. While Puppies will support some titles (Freer got a nomination the first year,) their interest in YA/MG fiction is slim. It’s considered a twee field for mostly teenage girls with 60% women authors. It isn’t “manly” and sex-filled enough, not important enough, for most of their interests.

        And so in the first year of the Dragons, the Puppy majority year, the late Terry Pratchett, a liberal leaning author, won the YA award for The Shepherd’s Crown, a Discworld juvenile novel starring a female teen and a feminism-positive story. In the second, more public year, when the award runners were begging the most famous, Puppy-hated SJW authors to not reject their nominations because they wanted the popularity for the awards, and couldn’t throw things as often to the Puppy vector (and possibly because the Rabids had lost interest in voting,) the YA/MG award went to bestseller Rick Riordan, a social justice-leaning author with gay, disabled and feminist women characters in his stories. And in the third year, when the Puppies lost ground not only to bestselling, non-conservative authors but to some KU authors who mobilized their followers, the YA/MG award went to the bestselling Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, a book (and author) that is the epitome of everything the Puppies say they hate, that they say is tyrannical and corrupt and destroying Western civilization. None of the authors nominated for the YA/MG category last year was a Puppy or Puppy approved author as well (though perhaps that is because mysteriously there has been one less nominee each year in this category.)

        And as far as I’ve heard from those who watch them, the Puppies haven’t bothered to do much griping about how the YA/MG award is therefore now corrupted by SJWs and big publisher conspiracies, etc. I don’t think it’s a big focus for them. (Or maybe that would make it look like they lack power over an award they’ve claimed is their baby, don’t know.) So that means calling attention to that award category is likely to make that one be more legitimately a vote-count award than maybe some of the other categories at the moment. And the Dragon Horror award went last year to Stephen and Owen King, and had little in the way of Puppy approved nominees. So vote count, which the award runners do use as guidelines, is shifting around a bit, as expected as the awards get established and get more attention. Bringing attention to award categories that the award runners are already less bothering to rig for Puppy interests helps speeds things up.

        It’s not a culture war scenario because this is a natural, legitimizing, evolutionary process for this type of award as it becomes more known and gets a wider swath of voters. That means more pressure on the award runners to do less rigging, and more pressure from DragonCon staff not to embarrass and bother them with rigging. Pretty much the Puppies lost their clubhouse after the first year. They will still continue to say that the Dragons are better than the Hugos because it’s a public vote award instead of one voted on by the members of a convention and because they don’t have much choice at this point. And they will still get some help from the award runners as long as the current award runners stay in the position. If DragonCon replaces the award runners with non-Puppy pals, the awards will become legitimate vote-count awards and probably much better run. The more complaining and publicity people like Red Panda Faction bring to bear with DragonCon, the faster the process, (though it’s already been pretty fast.)

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      3. Ha, I had a look at Johnstone’s _Trigger Warning_, and you’re right: it’s aimed straight at the Puppies. Chapter Six even has our brave hero being threatened with death by the billionaire-funded Leftists for the crime of ‘Wrongthink.’

        An hilariously bad novel. Worth reading just for the yuks.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Oh dear, that book sounds awful. And it was published by a mainstream publisher, not by a puppy micro-press or self-published, which proves that mainstream publishing does not discriminate against right wing writers and books, as long as someone buys those books.

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      5. Yeah, impressive that it got Pinnacle to mm paperback it. I gather the one co-author is actually dead but was big in westerns and so the other — the son? — writes with the dead author’s name as co-author and does conservative thrillers. But this one is a straight thriller, not a SFF title.

        Which isn’t to say that they don’t have some others that are SFF that they can try to get nominated. It just seems that they are losing interest in that YA/MG category and the vote count is high enough for other big names to be used by the award runners as the guideline. Without actual vote breakdowns (and no way of knowing their accuracy even if we got them,) all we can do is look at nomination and winner patterns. And they are showing shifts.

        The award runners don’t want any transparency on the votes and can thus do as they see fit with them. But remember, DragonCon can demand to see a vote breakdown at any time and get whatever info they feel like. So again, it’s what DragonCon staff bother with that is going to affect a lot of what the award runners do. And that they begged N.K. Jemisin to not withdraw her nomination — that she received one in the first place — in the second year means that there has definitely been some scolding going on after that first year about getting more big names and making the awards look more legit.

        Which also makes it curious why the 2019/18 site/process is such a mess still. That’s a rather risky thing for the award runners to do. So it will be an interesting year for the Dragons. It would certainly help the awards out if they got new award runners who made more of an effort.

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      6. Ah, so a reactionary Brian Herbert. 🙄

        There are some angry reviews from fans of Johnstone Père who feel bait-and-switched into buying a piece of shit. I suspect that Johnstone Fils will struggle to get Pinnacle to publish his next book.

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      7. J.A. Johnstone is the original Johnstone’s niece. Apparently she did all his typing and research for him, as he wrote 6 to 10 books a year. Once he died, she kept writing books, while pretending (to his readers) that he was still writing them.

        So long as these novels were westerns, she was okay. But yeah, with this pile of nonsense, she’s got some unhappy readers. Apparently “most readers” don’t actually want to read MAGA-American propaganda.

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      8. Thanks for suffering on our behalf, delagar.
        I guess J.A. Johnstone assumed that all western readers were conservative and got an unpleasant surprise. And even if western readers are conservative, that doesn’t necessarily mean they want to read political nonsense rather than westerns.

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      9. Camestros: It’s not *quite* goofy to be a parody. It reminds me when Brad T. was saying all those odd things, about the Left loading him and his fellow pups on trains to ship them off to the Gulag. It really seemed like that must be parody, and yet…no.

        I mean, I’m only up to Chapter 10, so maybe J.A. tips her hand later?

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