About three months to the Dragon Award 2021 finalists

I’m behind on all sorts of regular topics but I want to keep an eye on the Dragon Awards because I always have. It’s a thing. Last year, the awards did a mainstream pivot and also improved some aspects of the website including more articles. The awards themselves collaborated with the Fulton County Library System to encourage readers. Will that direction continue?

One reason it might not is the January 2021 kerfuffle over the boogaloo-like content at Baen’s Bar and the subsequent disinvintation of Baen chief editor and publisher Toni Weiskopff as Guest of Honour at this years Worldcon. Baen (and specifically Eric Flint) have had an undefined relationship with the Dragons and also many Baen fans saw the Dragons when they started in 2016 as an antidote to the supposedly Baen unfriendly Hugo Awards.

What has happened since? There was an uptick in Dragon Award chatter in January and February. Superversive SF produced a crowd-sourced list of books http://www.superversivesf.com/?p=1755 which notes those books that are Dragon Award eligible. Declan Finn, as always, has been promoting his suggestions for the Dragon Awards but in a few more places (eg on some sites on MeWe). What there isn’t is much of a focused campaign from others I can see since. This may all pick up again in June or early July. (or it might not matter if the organisers mainly pick the finalists, which may or may not be the case)

The Dragon Award website is more up to date than it is usually. Some of the existing inconsistencies are still there (e.g. qualifying books as ‘at least 70,000 words’ versus ‘about 70,000 words’ but as nobody is checking and there’s no appeal it sort of doesn’t matter) and once again the link to the ‘rules’ (that you have to agree to when you nominate) doesn’t take you to the rules (an older version is here https://web.archive.org/web/20191013213140/https://application.dragoncon.net/dragon_awards_terms_conditions.php )

In short, we will see.

17 thoughts on “About three months to the Dragon Award 2021 finalists

  1. With seven different flavors of Best Novel there were 42 finalists last year — more in some categories than others (ties?) — it really says something that hard-working Puppies like Declan Finn still failed to campaign their way onto the ballot. And what that something is may relate to your question of whether the voting really determines the finalists.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I don’t think it really matters in the end. The Hugos are the only Award that I know of that allows an examination of its voting process. Everyone else seals theirs away in a black box.

      Liked by 4 people

  2. The Dragons are now, for better or worse, decidedly mainstream Awards. Far, far more than the Hugos have ever been or will be. There’s no way that any group, be they they Puppies or not, can hope to manipulate the outcome of them now. I sort of expect those Puppies will blame their losses on us, claiming we somehow corrupted the voting process.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Two years ago a president of SFWA helped present the awards. In hindsight, that seems to strengthen your claim.

      Like

    2. Cat Eldridge: The Dragons are now, for better or worse, decidedly mainstream Awards. Far, far more than the Hugos have ever been or will be. There’s no way that any group, be they they Puppies or not, can hope to manipulate the outcome of them now.

      Given that it appears the finalists and winners are currently arbitrarily chosen by Admin(s) who don’t appear to be DragonCon staff, who perhaps use the input from the nomination and voting processes as guidelines for their choices, I don’t think this can be said with any certainty. Should the Administrator or their thinking process change, who knows how the awards process would work then?

      Liked by 5 people

  3. With the Dragon Awards being an official award of DragonCon, even if they didn’t bother to run the thing themselves, it was inevitable that the Dragon Awards would become a regular, mainstream award if they kept going. DragonCon cannot have a set of niche awards for a small clique that has their name on it.

    But because they let the eager beavers set it up for them, as they often do with content, they ended up with the sweepstake rules where the administrators of the awards ultimately get to decide the nominations and winners rather than the voters, with the voters essentially being the recommenders. Since the administrator was a Puppy-friendly person who welcomed the Puppies’ enthusiastic support for the awards, the first year got to be Puppy-ful. But as soon as DragonCon turned their attention to the awards, it put pressure on that system, including the administrators begging and demanding decidedly non-Puppy authors to stay as nominations in only the second year and new rules having to be enacted that nominees could withdraw.

    The efforts of the Red Pandas and other people to get more DragonCon attendees to vote in the Dragon Awards paid off as pressure on the awards to be broader and on DragonCon to do more promoting of the awards as their official con award to convention attendees in the con packet, etc. Once they did that, the Dragons got decidedly mainstream, albeit with a Puppy-friendly bent to some of its bestsellers. The attempt to campaign for the awards by self-publishing groups created a rival block for the Puppies, though those groups mostly lost interest when they didn’t score any wins, only nominations. Two years ago, it looked like things were going backwards a bit in some categories of particular interest to the Puppies. But last year, when the convention had to be virtual, that trend was reversed.

    This year, DragonCon is attempting to have a real life convention again in September (which might go virtual if things get bad,) and that may make it a deciding year, though the data may still be rather skewed. The awards have been around now for several years, DragonCon seems unlikely to dump them at this point and does, within limits, promote them to the convention. More attendees will likely become aware of them and attempt to vote.

    But, the administrator still hasn’t cleaned up the Dragon Awards site and made it clear and easy for people to vote and know the schedule — there’s still an attempt to sway it for the Puppy clubhouse. And if they don’t change the rule that it’s the administrator and not the voters who ultimately decides who gets noms and wins, the Dragon Awards will not be seen as a legitimate award for many in the field. But if the nominees and winners continue to look more and more like those for other awards in the field, it might not make much of a difference that it’s basically one guy picking based on feedback from voters. Ultimately though, that situation could end up leading to some real conflicts when the awards get older and more widely accepted, pressuring DragonCon to clean up the process perhaps. So it will be interesting to see what the social pressures on these awards produce.

    One thing that you want to pay attention to this year, Camestros? Media coverage of the Dragon Awards, both category SFF media and mainstream media. If there’s more media coverage and it’s more detailed, especially non-SFF media, that means a different set of social pressures on the awards. Another thing in your particular area of interest — see if the Puppies who are campaigning are doing so mainly for only particular categories in the awards.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. A long, long time ago,
    The Hugo Awards came along to honour sci-fi at its height
    And I knew when I’d had a look
    That each winner had been a classic book
    Except perhaps for They’d Rather be Right

    Then Puppies made some voting slates
    The ’15 Hugos weren’t so great
    The big winner was No Award
    In science fiction’s culture war

    The Puppies said the Hugos lied
    “A new award” they called and cried
    An Atlanta convention soon complied
    The day the Dragons arrived

    So…
    Fly, fly, you Dragon Award guys
    They mentioned a convention where a poll would be tried
    Some right-wing boys were getting their hopes real high
    And they were singing,
    Some day that Dragon will be mine
    Some day that Dragon will be mine

    Larry Correia had an award that night
    And so did Nick Cole and John C. Wright
    ‘Cause that was how the first Dragons rolled
    And Brian Niemeier won a prize
    For a book that was rated by about twelve guys
    All of it made those Puppies real bold

    So together they made a noisy scene
    “The fans all love us” was the cry of ’16
    Vox Day thumbed his nose
    At Worldcon’s old Hugos

    They drank a toast to having beat the cucks
    Their eyes were filled with big green bucks
    They thought next year they’d still have luck
    The day the Dragons arrived

    They started singing…
    Fly, fly, you Dragon Award guys
    They mentioned a convention where a poll would be tried
    Some right-wing boys were getting their hopes real high
    And they were singing,
    Some day that Dragon will be mine
    Some day that Dragon will be mine

    In ’17 contestants asked to go
    But the organisers went and told them “no”
    It seemed the culture war had been gaining traction
    But John C. Wright lost to a Riordan story
    While Niemeier fell to James S. A. Corey
    Amid cheers from the Red Panda Fraction

    In one category a board game did win
    That had contributions from Zoe Quinn
    The hard truth had to be faced:
    The Dragons were no longer based

    And look at poor old Declan Finn
    Who told everybody that he would win
    And then he lost to LaValle’s Changeling
    The day the Dragons arrived

    We were singing…
    Fly, fly, you Dragon Award guys
    They mentioned a convention where a poll would be tried
    Some right-wing boys were getting their hopes real high
    And they were singing,
    Some day that Dragon will be mine
    Some day that Dragon will be mine

    White Sands brighter than Chicago Typewriter
    In 2018 things might have been tighter
    And the Puppies were losing the war
    ‘Cause Sarah A. Hoyt won but no more
    Then Best Comic went to Lady Thor

    While Brian Niemeier was getting grief
    Because he went and supported an art thief
    He yelled about demonic possession
    And a lesser malady he called obsession

    Mark Wandrey wanted to take the field
    But King and son just wouldn’t yield
    Do you recall what was revealed
    The day the Dragons arrived?

    We started singing…
    Fly, fly, you Dragon Award guys
    They mentioned a convention where a poll would be tried
    Some right-wing boys were getting their hopes real high
    And they were singing,
    Some day that Dragon will be mine
    Some day that Dragon will be mine

    In ’19 the Puppies weren’t so sad
    Because Larry wona and so did Brad
    They felt there was still a reason for playin’
    But small-press Puppies had to enquire,
    “Where the hell is Silver Empire?”
    When they realised the big winners were Baen

    Then the Puppies found they’d missed their mate
    With no sign of Comicsgate
    And the voters turned out more
    For the Goodreads Choice Awards

    By the end of the month DragonCon had left the town
    It looked like thigns were winding down
    Fewer Puppies cared who won the crown
    The day the Dragons arrived

    And we wee singing…
    Fly, fly, you Dragon Award guys
    They mentioned a convention where a poll will be tried
    Some right-wing boys were getting their hopes real high
    And they were singing,
    Some day that Dragon will be mine
    Some day that Dragon will be mine

    In 2020 the pandemic changed a lot
    Declan Finn ran around an airport
    And Conventions all over were taking knocks
    The Dragons saw few right-wing chancers
    But rather a lot of gay necromancers
    And one winner was Scalzi’s Last Emperox

    The Puppies weren’t pleased with this result
    Some even blamed a Satanic death cult
    Some angry words were spoken
    About the Dragons getting broken

    This year things are up in the air
    The Puppies may not even be there
    Aside from Declan, will any care
    The day the Dragons arrive?

    Will they be singing…
    Fly, fly, you Dragon Award guys
    They mentioned a convention where a poll would be tried
    Some right-wing boys were getting their hopes real high
    And they were singing,
    Some day that Dragon will be mine
    Some day that Dragon will be mine

    Liked by 11 people

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