Well Here’s a Dragon Award Cheating Allegation…

It’s Dave Freer again! This time in the comments of his recent post. For context it is in reply to a longer comment by ‘Papa Pat’. That’s the chap who attempted to read most of the Dragon Award Novels:

PapaPat .Patterson #
When I saw the titles that were on the finalist list, I feared for the worst.
Particularly when I read the earliest pieces applauding the “mainstream” move for the Dragons; which apparently was the result of a concerted effort by one or more special interest groups. I posted what I discovered on two of my blog entries.
Alas, when I actually READ the entries, in the SF, Fantasy, Mil SF, and Alt Hist categories, I discovered rancid things. There were notable exceptions: in particular, the very last book I reviewed, “Spinning Silver” by Naomi Novik, was OUTSTANDING, and others were very, very good.
But that which I feared most did NOT take place. While invasive species did supplant some deserving titles on the finalist list, they were not given the award.
I would sho’nuff love to know how that took place, ‘deed I would. September 2, 2019″

davefreer # They cheat. It’s what they do in the other awards, why would this be different? They colluded around agreed in secret candidates. September 2, 2019

Weirdly, Dave earlier in the comments was claiming the Dragon Awards as one “which is broadly in synch with sales and population demographics in its nominations.”

The ‘rancid’ things Papa found were, gasp, characters whose gender wasn’t immediately obvious. Apparently he managed to survive that trauma.

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33 thoughts on “Well Here’s a Dragon Award Cheating Allegation…

  1. The Papa Pat reviews were a real hoot. Though I’m surprised that he enjoyed Spinning Silver, since it would seem very much not to be his kind of book.

    As for the cheating allegations, it’s quite stunning that people nominating books they like in a public vote award is now cheating, if the books are the wrong kinds of books. And given how the Dragons work, even active campaigning and slating is not frowned upon. So how exactly was anybody cheating? Maybe – shocking I know – some people just enjoy different books than Dave Freer and Papa Pat.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Yes, come to think of it, he did, which was just as surprising. Though he resoundingly hated The Light Brigade and accused Kameron Hurley of wanting to destroy the military science fiction genre.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Given Freer’s known record of arriving at conclusions form publicly available data, I think that his accusation of cheating may be met with gales of derisive laughter.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. I love how the Puppies pretend they’re not a “special interest” group with a particular political outlook even as they say that conservative authors are being overlooked, etc.

    Slating, colluding and other forms of organizing votes are all considered perfectly within the rules for the Dragon Awards. I honestly don’t know how you’d “cheat” at it, especially since the admins decide the outcomes. Blackmail the admins? And if the imaginary liberal special interest groups were (completely legally according to the rules) colluding, etc., to get nominations, why didn’t their authors, whichever ones they think are their authors, win then? Me thinks the Red Panda Faction promoting the existence of the awards to attract more voters is beginning to freak them out.

    Notice here again that this Papa character did not read any of the entries in the Horror and YA/MG categories. And in those two categories, the spread of nominations were non-Puppy-approved, largely bestsellers and won by bestselling women who are probably not far righters. The Puppies are not focused on these categories, are not concerned about them and do not seem to be mobilizing votes for them. Only in Horror for the first year did the Puppies do a push. And this for me has been one of the most interesting aspects of the Dragons saga, that choice. Even more so that they aren’t saying those categories have been taken over by cheating SJW’s; it’s not even in the conversation.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Papa Pat does not read horror by his own admission and indeed was so horrified at the Lovecraftian elements in Deep Roots that he refused to read it and railed about it being misclassified.

      But then, Papa Pat does not seem to read a lot of books that are not indie published KU books anyway. He wasn’t even familiar with The Expanse, which is after all a hugely popular SF series and the basis for a popular TV series.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There are quite a few right-leaning self-published authors (and many who are not) and some of the prominent self-publishing blogs have a rightwing libertarian slants, which is why I stopped reading and commenting there. Also, extolling the virtues of indie publishing feeds both into the “evil publishers are keeping us out” persecution complex among the puppies as well as into their libertarian self-reliance fantasies. The moneymaking ethos of the 20Booksto50K group, which is not explicitly political otherwise, also appeals to them.

        Furthermore, the military science fiction and space opera subcategories in the Kindle store have been taken over by the sort of “manly space marines doing manly things in space” SF that the puppies like and these books are almost all in KU. In fact, a lot of self-published military science fiction and space opera deliberately copies Baen’s covers, which strikes me as a supremely bad idea, given how disliked Baen’s covers are. Some of the authors/publishers are puppies (Nick Cole and co-author Jason Anspach) or at least friendly with them (Chris Kennedy, Marc Wandrey and friends). Many others are not explicit puppies, but still fail to distance themselves from that strain of SFF fandom, either because they are completely ignorant of what is going on in the wider genre community or because they just don’t care. Maybe some of them even tacitly agree. At any rate, my warnings of “Check out who these people are, before you associate with them” usually went unheeded.

        Of course, there are also a lot of self-published SFF authors, maybe even the majority, who want nothing to do with puppies and the kind of SFF they favour. But particularly in the military SF and space opera categories, these authors and books are drowned out by the KU enabled flood of “manly space marines doing manly stuff in space” books.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Yes, from the beginning the Puppies were quite fixated on military SF as the epitome of SF, and their interests shaped the Dragon categories, since it was founded by friends of Puppies. They are fixated on what they see as the four core categories: SF, Fantasy, Alt History and Military SF, with some interest in Media Tie-In Novel. The Apocalyptic Novel category was dumped in favor of Media Tie-In, which was an interesting change but not one we’ll probably ever get the full story on. Was Doctorow’s win in the second year of the Apocalyptic category concerning, along with Jemisin’s withdrawal? Did the high multi-media games make-up of DragonCon indicate that Media Tie-In would be more valued? Did they just think it was overlapping?

        But after the Year One where Puppy and Puppy-approved works dominated except in YA, which they’ve never seemed to care about and maybe was just added to the Dragons because of the Hugos situation, they’ve quite narrowed down their interests, it seems. Comic book, graphic novel, games and tv and movie awards are all wide open. YA is open, horror is now open. My guess is that SF will be wider open next, though if LC decides he has enough Dragons and withdraws (which he was perfectly able to do this year but chose not to,) then maybe Fantasy.

        But I can certainly understand why Hurley concerns them. One of the worst areas of discrimination in the field has been women authors being largely kept out of military SF on the grounds that “women don’t sell” there and the myth that the audience is mainly manly men who are scared of girl cooties. Women have gotten through and done well, but it’s been a challenge. Linda Nagata’s account of the obstacles she went through with getting Red published are just infuriating. Hurley’s career has been leading up to The Light Brigade and it offers crunchy, expert military material, lots of women military characters on equal footing with the men, most of the characters being openly and happily queer, anti-corporate material (which they are now against despite her worldbuilding scenario being a 1980’s SF favorite,) etc., launched by a major imprint. And she is of course not the only woman doing it, but she’s got a strong base, got a lot of attention for this work, etc. That builds a beachhead most of the Puppies do not like politically, even if Hurley never writes another military SF novel. Military SF is their best bet, but what they want politically in it is already cracking up.

        So will they narrow their focus from four categories to three or two and which ones? Like we’ve gone over before, even with the current admins for the awards, the pressures of what’s hot in the field itself and more attention towards the awards over time will push the awards towards a fully legit popular vote election eventually.

        Liked by 3 people

    1. Hugo: Is manly marines syle military SF really puppy territory? John Scalzi is in that lane.

      Scalzi’s pink and poufy marines aren’t manly enough, according to the Puppies, so he doesn’t count.

      Liked by 3 people

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