Debarkle Chapter 55: The Dragon Award Begins

Dragon*Con (as it was initially styled) arose out of the world of role-playing games. In the 1980s a Georgia gamer and aspiring editor, Ed Kramer had been running an online bulletin board (BBS) called the Dragon Alliance of Gamers and Role-Players (DAGR)[1] and named after his Dragon Computer[2]. Club members Ed Kramer, David Cody, John Bunnell, Robert Dennis, Mike Helba, and Pat Henry used the 1986 Worldcon in Atlanta to promote their forthcoming 1987 convention in Atlanta. By the start of the 1990s Dragon*Con had allied with the Origins gaming convention and was hosting several thousand attendees.

By the millennium, Dragon*Con was 20 thousand+ pop-culture convention with multiple programming tracks spreading into films, TV franchises, books and games and a significant event in its home of Atlanta.

While Dragon*Con’s reputation was growing, Ed Kramer’s reputation took a sharply negative turn. In August 2000, Kramer was arrested for the molestation of three teenagers which followed a previous arrested in 1997 where the charges had been dropped[3]. Kramer’s arrest was simply the start of a long saga that would continue until 2013 when he finally plead guilty to the charges. In between times was a series of cancelled court dates, in-home detention, breach of bail conditions, imprisonment, injury and a lengthy campaign. Kramer had presented his situation to people in his personal and professional circles as a miscarriage of justice, blaming the delays on the court system. Multiple high profile people within science fiction were pulled into a campaign against a perceived injustice against Kramer including Harlan Ellison, Anne McCaffery and former SFWA President Robert Sawyer. Surrounding Kramer was a cloud of misinformation fuelled by critics of Kramer and Kramer himself. However, Kramer’s repeated breach of bail conditions and eventual confession revealed that he was very far from the innocent victim of a miscarriage of justice that he had portrayed himself as.

As discussed in chapter 25, Vox Day had attempted to use the Kramer case as a way to create negative publicity about the SFWA in 2014. Day had not focused on the misguided defence of Kramer by sci-fi luminaries but rather that Kramer had (like Day) been a member of the SFWA but that the SFWA had not expelled him (unlike Day). Unfortunately for Day, Kramer’s membership had lapsed by this point. However, at Day’s Castalia House Blog, the 2015 series on child abuse issues in science fiction communities spent more time on famous authors such as Anne McCaffery who had fallen for Kramer’s claims that he was being mistreated by the court system.

Dragon*Con itself attempted to maintain some distance from Kramer during the years between his arrest and eventual conviction. However, during that time Kramer remained as a part-owner of the convention. Only in 2013 did the convention find a legal means of separating themselves as a business from Kramer, buying him out. At around the same time, the convention dropped the asterisk from its name.

As a for-profit entity with a fixed location, Dragon Con continued to expand with multiple events held within the event including film festivals, e-sports competitions, concerts, as well as more conventional activities such as panels and talks. Among those events were award ceremonies. Dragon Con had hosted numerous awards over the years including the “Wizard Fan Awards” for comics and the ongoing Julie Awards.

During the events of the so-called Puppy Kerfuffle of 2015, Dragon Con became a key point of comparison with Worldcon for supporters of the Sad Puppies. For example, a guest post at Mad Genius Club in April 2015 compared the relative size of Worldcon with commercial pop-culture conventions:

“Worldcon is dying of old age, and failing to recruit younger fen. They’re going, instead, to places they find more congenial — Dragon Con, Gen Con, SDCC Comic Con, NY Comic Con, Salt Lake Comic Con, all sorts of other places. I have my own opinions about why this is happening — mostly about exclusive behaviors exhibited by the longterm fans when the Wrong Kind of People show up, or have differing political opinions.”

Many key figures in the Puppy campaigns regarded Dragon Con as part of the natural territory for their followers.

“If we call ourselves a religion, we can even accuse people of being racist when they pick on us. No, it’s not right, and of course, that will bother us, but it’s common usage, and it will make us seem even MORE normal. “What do you mean I can’t have the week off to drive to Dragon con? It’s part of my religion. Are you some kind of racist?”” [5]

The convention itself had a very broad and diverse set of attendees but there was a belief among many of the Sad Puppy supporters that the convention was a sympathetic place for them or at the very least not actively hostile. Larry Correia had been a convert to the excitement of the con from early in his professional writing career, describing it in 2011 as:

“DragonCon is like Mardi Gras for nerds… So it is Nerdi Gras, only bigger and more awesome. There isn’t anything else quite like DragonCon. Cram 45,000 official guests into 4 hotels in downtown Atlanta. That’s official purchased a ticket types. I don’t know how many thousand others just showed up and crashed the party. I’m guessing a lot.”

With the devastating final results of the 2015 Hugo Award, some Puppy supporters thought that the right response was to walk away from Worldcon and the Hugo Awards altogether. This was matched by some of the rhetoric from critics of the Puppies, who had suggested that the Puppy leadership should set up their own awards.

So it was both notable and not wholly a surprise when on March 31 2016 Dragon Con announced the first inaugural Dragon Awards with their own new website[6]. Details were more forthcoming a few days later:

ATLANTA – April 4, 2016 – Dragon Con, Atlanta’s internationally known pop culture, fantasy, sci-fi and gaming convention, announced the introduction of the Dragon Awards, a program of fan-chosen awards to recognize outstanding achievement in science fiction and fantasy literature, comics, gaming and filmed entertainment.

The introduction of the Dragon Awards is part of the convention’s 30th Anniversary celebration.

Dragon Award winners will be selected by all fans – not just Dragon Con members or attendees – in an open nomination and final voting system.  To accommodate as many creative genres as possible, awards will be given in each of 15 categories covering the full range of fiction, comics, television, movies, video gaming and tabletop gaming.  Winners will be announced at the 30th Anniversary Dragon Con convention, which will be held September 2 to September 5, 2016 in Atlanta.”

The award categories divided the field by subgenres and different modes, reflecting many of the convention’s own programming tracks. The literary categories were all for novel-length works with no short fiction categories. The announced categories were:

  1. Best science fiction novel
  2. Best fantasy novel (including paranormal)
  3. Best young adult/middle grade novel
  4. Best military science fiction or fantasy novel
  5. Best alternate history novel
  6. Best apocalyptic novel [in subsequent years replaced by Best Media Tie In]
  7. Best horror novel
  8. Best comic book
  9. Best graphic novel
  10. Best episode in a continuing science fiction or fantasy series, TV or internet
  11. Best science fiction or fantasy movie
  12. Best science fiction or fantasy PC / console game
  13. Best science fiction or fantasy mobile game
  14. Best science fiction or fantasy board game
  15. Best science fiction or fantasy miniatures / collectable card / role-playing game

The announcement did not draw any direct parallels with the Hugo Awards and the timing of the new award was connected to the convention’s 30 year anniversary[7]. The lack of short fiction categories and the style of the other categories meant that the Dragon Awards were not intended to be directly compared with the Hugo Awards. In addition, the Dragon Awards had an eligibility period that would extend into the current year (i.e. for the first year, books published part way into 2016) meaning that not set of books eligible for the Dragons and the Hugos Awards were not exactly the same each year. Nonetheless, in the context of the events of 2015, the announcement drew comparisons with the beleaguered Hugos.

At Mad Genius Club, Sad Puppies 4 leader Kate Paulk described them as “Another Way To Help End Puppy-Related Sadness”, and stated:

“Even more interesting, the Dragon Awards are a complete people’s choice award. Anyone can sign up and vote, and it costs nothing. I’m really looking forward to comparing what comes out of the Hugo process and what comes out of the Dragon process – particularly in terms of numbers of voters and the like (hopefully the Dragon folks will be nice and give us that information to playahem… run statistical analysis with.”

The Puppy-sympathetic Conservative-Libertarian Fiction Alliance also saw the potential for the Dragon Awards to displace the Hugo Awards as the premier genre award:

“The Dragon Awards is already being talked about as a much-needed successor to the erstwhile industry pinnacle Hugo Awards, which have fallen into politicized controversy and disarray over the past few years.

Read the official press release here, visit, nominate, and vote. With 60,000 Dragon Con members, The Dragon Awards has the potential to become SFF’s most important recognition.”

Quite how these awards would operate was less clear. With a purely online voting system with no barriers to entry, the potential for the awards to be spammed was a potential weakness. At File 770 one of Dragon Con’s founding members Senior Director and Co-Chairman David Cody explained that the nomination stage would be partly curated and that the details of the process would not be fully transparent to prevent outside parties from gaming the system.

“We’re going to employ various tools to combat ballot box stuffing when the actual voting starts.

Also, for nominations, it won’t be possible to slate or overload the nominations for each category. We’re going to use experts in the various disciplines to create the final nomination lists after examining all the nominations.

Yes, I am being deliberately vague so that those trying to game the system won’t know what exactly we are doing to combat any shenanigans.”

Vox Day was not worried that he might be excluded by this process. Echoing again Donald Trump’s campaign slogan in a post entitled “Making SF awards great again”, Day stated:

“Yes, indeed, I think the Hugo Awards might have just taken a few hits over the last decade or two. In any event, I’m sure the science fiction fandom community is every bit as delighted about people taking their advice and setting up a new and alternative award as they were about people taking John Scalzi’s advice to nominate and vote for the Hugo Awards.

I am registered to vote in the Dragon Awards and I would encourage you to do so as well. I’ll post my recommendations here the week after the Hugo shortlist is announced, in the event that any of you might happen to be curious about them.”

Aside from Dragon Con Senior Director David Cody, it was not clear who was leading the Dragon Awards. However, in an interview at 2016 Worldcon, Baen author/editor Eric Flint and author/editor Bill Fawcett presented themselves as people with inside knowledge of how the Dragon Awards would operate[8].

Eric Flint had been a critic of the Sad Puppies during 2015 but not without his own criticism of the Hugo Awards and was in many ways sympathetic to some of the negative critiques of the Hugos. Flint’s association with the award and the existence of sub-genre awards such as the Military Science Fiction & Fantasy category, pointed to the Dragon Awards likely to be more sympathetic towards a Baen audience.

Bill Fawcett had a long career in both games and books, as well as a long association with Dragon Con[9]. That association had seen him get embroiled in the ill-advised defence of Ed Kramer when many sci-fi luminaries believed Kramer’s claims that he was a victim of a miscarriage of justice[10]. Fawcett’s broad career in multiple roles within science fiction & fantasy, including writing, editing and game design, made him a natural addition to Dragon Con’s award advocates.

One person’s initial reaction to the Dragon Award’s announcement was notably missing. Larry Correia appeared to have nothing to say about the new award. Correia’s uncharacteristic silence on the matter was broken in July when he explained why he had avoided talking about the new 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.”

Correia didn’t name the organizer who he had spoken to but Correia’s endorsement of the award was likely to bring in many more voters. Indeed, when fans raised issues around how the Dragon Award website worked, both Bill Fawcett and David Cody appeared in the comments of the post to help Correia’s fans vote.

By the time Correia had posted, the finalists for the 2016 Dragon Awards had already been announced. The nomination phase had not been a smooth ride as Doris Sutherland explained at Women Write About Comics:

“The Dragon Awards were announced back in April, and since then have suffered from definite teething problems. The eligibility period for nominations underwent a last-minute change; after this came a delay in the announcement of the finalists, which were supposed to have been made public on 2 August. But then, it is perhaps to be expected for a new awards initiative to have a rocky road in its first year.”

The finalists were a mixed bag of works from across the field but included authors such as John Scalzi and N.K.Jemisin[12] as well as Larry Correia, Marko Kloos, Eric Flint and Dave Freer. Vox Day was not a finalist but the Castalia House published novel Somewither by John C Wright was. Baen had seven works as finalists and Tor had five (including a Tor Teen book). Smaller publishers were represented as well. The book club/podcast Sword & Laser had run its own book publishing contest in 2015 using the publishing platform Inkshares[13]. That contest had led to multiple finalists in the Dragon Awards as well.

Sad Puppies 4 appeared to have had some impact on the awards as well. In the Horror category, both Declan Finn’s Honor at Stake and Brian Niemeier’s Souldancer were finalists. The two writers had been emboldened by their Sad Puppy 4 campaigns to encourage their fans to vote in the Dragons.

The resulting set of finalists looked a lot like what Puppy-inspired critics of the Hugo Awards had claimed was lacking from the Hugo Awards. There was a greater number of Baen authors, as well as authors from smaller publishes and self-published authors[14].

The critique of the Hugo Awards not representing independent or self-published writers was incoherent for the awards overall given that there were whole categories devoted to fan-produced works. However, the unspoken part of the critique was that it was applied to Best Novel. The Dragon Awards having seven novel categories with multiple finalists was indeed far more capable of representing more categories of novels and more approaches to publishing.

However, if the Dragon Award finalists were more diverse by publisher, they were less diverse in other ways. Of the 44 novels that were finalists, only 10 were by women[14].

We’ll return to the outcome of the 2016 Dragon Awards in a later chapter. In the meantime, we need to return to the wider world of politics where 2016 was proving to be a busy year.


2016 Dragon Award Finalists

  • 1. Best Science Fiction Novel
    • Agent of the Imperium by Marc Miller
    • Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie
    • Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson
    • The Life Engineered by J-F Dubeau
    • Raising Caine by Charles E. Gannon
    • Somewhither: A Tale of the Unwitheriing Realm by John C. Wright
  • 2. Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal)
    • Asteroid Made of Dragons by G. Derek Adams
    • Blood Hound by James Osiris Baldwin
    • Changeling’s Island by Dave Freer
    • The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher
    • The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
    • Grave Measures by R.R. Virdi
    • Son of the Black Sword by Larry Correia
  • 3. Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel
    • Calamity by Brandon Sanderson
    • Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
    • Changeling’s Island by Dave Freer
    • The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett
    • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
    • Steeplejack by A.J. Hartley
    • Trix and the Faerie Queen by Alethea Kontis
    • Updraft by Fran Wilde
  • 4. Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel
    • Allies and Enemies: Fallen by Amy J. Murphy
    • Blood in the Water by Taylor Anderson
    • Chains of Command by Marko Kloos
    • The End of All Things by John Scalzi [withdrawn]
    • Hell’s Foundations Quiver by David Weber
    • The Price of Valor by Django Wexler
    • Wrath of an Angry God: A Military Space Opera by Gibson Michaels
  • 5. Best Alternate History Novel
    • 1635: A Parcel of Rogues by Eric Flint & Andrew Dennis
    • 1636: The Cardinal Virtues by Eric Flint & Walter H. Hunt
    • Bombs Away: The Hot War by Harry Turtledove
    • Deadlands: Ghostwalkers by Jonathan Maberry
    • Germanica by Robert Conroy
    • League of Dragons by Naomi Novik
  • 6. Best Apocalyptic Novel
    • Chasing Freedom by Marina Fontaine
    • Ctrl Alt Revolt! by Nick Cole
    • Dark Age by Felix O. Hartmann
    • The Desert and the Blade by S.M. Stirling
    • The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
    • A Time to Die by Mark Wandrey
  • 7. Best Horror Novel
    • Alice by Christina Henry
    • Chapelwood by Cherie Priest
    • Disappearance at Devil’s Rock by Paul Tremblay
    • Honor at Stake by Declan Finn
    • An Unattractive Vampire by Jim McDoniel
    • Souldancer by Brian Niemeier
  • 8. Best Comic Book
    • Astro City – Vertigo
    • Saga – Image
    • Civil War II – Marvel
    • Daredevil – Marvel
    • DC Universe: Rebirth – DC
    • Ms. Marvel – Marvel
    • Providence – Avatar
  • 9. Best Graphic Novel
    • Chicago by Glenn Head
    • Killing and Dying by Adrian Tomine
    • March: Book Two by John Lewis & Andrew Aydin
    • Sacred Heart by Liz Suburbia
    • The Sandman: Overture by Neil Gaiman and J.H. Williams III
    • Virgil by Steve Orlando and J.D. Faith
  • 10. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series
    • Daredevil – Netflix
    • Doctor Who – BBC
    • The Expanse – Syfy
    • The Flash – CW
    • Game of Thrones – HBO
    • Jessica Jones – Netflix
    • Outlander – Starz
  • 11. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie
    • Ant-Man, dir. Peyton Reed
    • Captain America: Civil War, dir. Joe and Anthony Russo
    • Crimson Peak, dir. Guillermo del Toro
    • Deadpool, dir. Tim Miller
    • The Martian, dir. Ridley Scott
    • Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens, dir. J.J. Abrams
  • 12. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy PC / Console Game
    • Darkest Dungeon by Red Hook Studios
    • Fallout 4 by Bethesda Softworks
    • Metal Gear Solid V by Konami Digital Entertainment
    • Overwatch by Blizzard Entertainment
    • Undertale by Toby Fox
    • XCOM 2 by 2k Games
  • 13. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game
    • Fallout Shelter by Bethesda Softworks
    • Hyper Burner by Patrick Cook
    • PewDiePie: Legend of the Brofist by Outerminds Inc.
    • Quaser One by Emre Taskin
    • Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes by Electronic Arts
  • 14. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Board Game
    • Blood Rage by Cool Mini or Not
    • Codenames by Vlaada Chvatil
    • Pandemic: Legacy by ZMan Games
    • Monopoly: CTHULHU by USAopoly
    • Star Wars: Rebellion by Fantasy Flight Games
    • Talon by GMT Games
  • 15. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Miniatures / Collectible Card / Role-Playing Game
    • Call of Cthulhu Roleplaying Game (7th Edition) by Chaosium Inc.
    • Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls by Flying Buffalo
    • Magic the Gathering: Battle of Zendikar by Wizards of the Coast
    • Magic the Gathering: Shadows over Innistrad by Wizards of the Coast
    • Mousguard (2nd Edition) by David Petersen & Luke Crane
    • Star Wars: Armada by Fantasy Flight Games

58 responses to “Debarkle Chapter 55: The Dragon Award Begins”

  1. Clube members Ed Kramer, David Cody, John Bunnell -> is that supposed to be “Club”?


    • I thought, looking at the longer phrase, that “meaning that not set of books eligible for the Dragons and the Hugos Awards were not exactly the same each year”

      That it was meant to be: “meaning that *no* set of books eligible for the Dragons and the Hugos Awards were exactly the same each year” (reduce first not to no, remove second not)

      Either way works for logic.


  2. Somewhere you might mention the near-insanity of having an eligibility window that falls in the middle of the year. For most people, this makes it just too hard to figure out if a work is eligible at all. Unless the idea was to design an award where you just about have to have a slate in order to vote at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I might when I pick up the Dragon thread in later chapters. The eligibility window in 2016 was even more confusing and they also messed it around. So I skipped that bit as it was only going to be confusing


  3. “Only in 2013 did the convention find a legal means of separating themselves as a business from Kramer, buying him out.”

    I have a problem with the public relations gloss of this abbreviated explanation. In 2013, under growing threat of a boycott because Kramer was still a co-owner, the other shareholders did a transaction that they could have done anytime they were willing over the years. Kramer did not sell, he was cashed out by his co-owners who moved the convention business into a new entity. His representative indicated it was not done with his agreement — so his Dragon Con pals struck first and sued him! Later in 2013, right before Kramer’s trial was due to begin, everybody settled —

    Liked by 3 people

    • This is a really important point.

      They could have jettisoned Ed *at any time*, but didn’t bother till 2013. It took them AT LEAST 13 years too long to dump his molesting scumbag self.

      So maybe throw in an “eventually” or “tardily” or “finally” or something else to indicate they only quit giving him money when the PR started to look bad, not when he was actually assaulting children.

      It’s a powerful piece of evidence showing more Puppy projection, and how what they say bears no resemblance to reality.

      (stern look @Cam) >:-(

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Pleeease, when talking about the random and shambolic nature of the awards, don’t forget to mention the sweepstakes boilerplate. That stayed there for years.

    At least in a footnote. It really reflects how half-assed the implementation is/was and how it could be gamed.

    Somewhere between footnotes 7 and 8?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Camestros Felapton: In addition, the Dragon Awards had an eligibility period that would extend into the current year (i.e. for the first year, books published part way into 2016) meaning that not set of books eligible for the Dragons and the Hugos Awards were not exactly the same each year.

    There is a comment posted by me – either on this blog or on File 770 – shortly after the Dragon Awards were announced, where I researched which Puppy books I believed had been behind the odd choice of eligibility period (which was originally April 1, 2015 to July 25, 2016). There was one that had come out in April 2015 by an author who had nothing else published between then and July 2016, but I can’t remember which Puppy had written it. And there were several Puppies who had published something in 2016, and I guess they weren’t willing to wait a year for a chance to get themselves recognized.

    And it’s worth pointing out that the DragonCon Awards had a completely different website than DragonCon the convention, and there was no Awards Division listed on the DragonCon website (nor has one ever been listed since its inception) which made it pretty clear that the awards weren’t actually being run by DragonCon.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I believe this is the comment in question. So, a comment on a Camestroid post, rather that a Fileological post. Book in question seems to be Nemesis Games, James S.A Corey. If so, seemingly no Puppy author at all, but an authorial complex many Puppies read.

      At least, that was the only comment by yourself commenting on sliding eligibility windows, in what seems to be about the right timeframe. May WELL be worth highlighting in the writeup.


      • No, that’s not the comment I’m thinking of, that’s not a Puppy work. There was a Puppy work that came out in April 2015 which was originally eligible based on the dates initially specified for the Dragon Awards. And once they changed it to August 1 to July 30 (or whatever), that work was no longer eligible. And the comment I’m thinking of was made in April 2016, shortly after the Dragon Awards launch announcement.

        But thank you for taking the time and trouble to look!


          • I have now gone through most (if not all) File770 posts in April 2016, as well as those here. Nothing seems to fit (I found one comment where you are explicitly wondering about the eligilbility window, as of 2016-04-16).

            But, I also discovered that April 2016 is the month when File770 had a server crash, with a possible loss of comments, and it is entirely possible that it got eaten by that.

            Sorry, it would’ve been an interesting addition.


            • Ingvar: I also discovered that April 2016 is the month when File770 had a server crash, with a possible loss of comments, and it is entirely possible that it got eaten by that.

              Ohhhhh… you’re right, I had completely forgotten about that – and yes, File 770 lost around 1,800 comments which had been posted between April 16 and April 27. I know, because I saved ALL of my e-mail notifications for those comments in a separate folder in my e-mail client, and I still have them.

              The problem is that I don’t get e-mail notifications for my own comments. But I can find for you any lost comment someone else posted during that time!

              I’m doing a search through them for “JJ”. Unfortunately, Item #1 on the 4/15/2016 Scroll featured JJ Abrams, so it’s a bit of a slog.


            • Here’s a really interesting (and relevant, I think) comment from Cam on the April 23 2016 Pixel Scroll that I found in the archive of April 2016 lost comments:

              (9) Ian Sales says “The Hugo Award is a popular vote award, it rewards popularity. It does not reward quality. Most voters probably don’t consciously vote tactically. Not unless they’re puppies. By definition, the puppy campaigns are overt tactical voting campaigns.”

              I need a GIF of David Tenant’s expression from the Easter Egg video clips from Blink to show my reaction to that – i.e. the timey-wimey bit. The Hugo awards *act* more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly populary-slopulary stuff. Thinking of them as a popular award just doesn’t work as a model of how they actually function unless you qualify it by saying ‘a popular award among a very unusual and poorly defined subgroup of people’ which is pretty much like saying not a popular award at all.

              Buzz etc plays a role but that is more a function of how people in general want to feel like they have picked winners i.e. in any voting there is a kind of feedback effect such that people want to vote not just for stuff they like but for stuff they think will win. However that is also an argument that the Hugos aren’t ‘just’ a popularity award because it means people are thinking about what it means for a book to be a likely Hugo winner.

              The best way of expressing that is that the awards have an *ethos* whose net effect can’t be inferred from the rules/formal aspects of the award. i.e. somebody else could set up an award with the same structure (attached to a convention, same nomination and voting rules etc) and he kinds of works nominated will not necessarily be the same.

              He also says “having a couple of thousand new voters parachute in to “save” the award from them is hardly going to shift the Hugo from the same old pool of favourites and writers du jour”

              Spot the flaw there? Basically he is complaining that the likely Hugo finalists tend to be drawn from two groups:
              1. established people who have received nominations in the past (‘pool of favorites’) and hence are likely to receive nominations in the future
              2. new people who people are currently excited about (‘writers du jour’)

              To ‘shift’ from those two categories together would mean a shift from one category o the other. i.e. the Hugos becoming either an ‘old boys club’ or a ‘bright new things’ award. Complaining that it manages to do both is silly. It is like complaining about a restaurant by saying that it’s menu tends to cover both established favorites and new dishes – or complaining that you went to hear a band and that they played lots of their best hits from the past and the highlights of their new album as well.

              Liked by 2 people

                • You should hire that guy to comment on your Debarkle project! 😀

                  Do you ever run across old comments you wrote several years back and think, “Wow, did I write that???” Every so often, I’ll stumble across something I said ages ago on File 770, that I don’t remember writing, and think “Huh, I don’t remember posting that, but that was actually a really [perceptive | incisive | astute] comment.”

                  Liked by 1 person

            • No luck. If my comment about the Puppy book published in April 2015 was one of those that got lost in the server crash, there were no quotes of it by other people in the lost comments. 😦


              • I grabbed April 2015 publication date books from ISFDB and filtered on plausible names. Of course these might not be THE publication dates:
                John Van Stry The Sea of Grass • Portals of Infinity #4
                Christopher G. Nuttall A Savage War of Peace • Ark Royal #5
                Michael Z. Williamson A Long Time Until Now • A Long Time Until Now #1
                Ryk E. Spoor Phoenix in Shadow • Balanced Sword #2
                Marko Kloos Angles of Attack • Frontlines / Andrew Grayson #3
                Colonel Jonathan P. Brazee Captain • The United Federation Marine Corps #4


                • I am excite!!! I couldn’t be arsed to do that sort of search and weeding-out, but you may have found it. Michael Z. Williamson’s A Long Time Until Now was published on April 16 (which was, strangely, the date I had stuck in my mind, April 15 or 16), and his next novel wasn’t published until November 2016.

                  Liked by 2 people

  6. Moar speling misteaks:

    “Kramer’s arrest was simply the start of a long saga that would continue until 2013 when he finally plead guilty to the charges.” Should be either “pled” or “pleaded.” “Pleaded” is supposed to be used with court cases, but I’ve seen both.

    “There was a greater number of Baen authors, as well as authors from smaller publishes and self-published authors.” “publishes” should be “publishers”

    Under the list of awards: “Somewhither: A Tale of the Unwitheriing Realm by John C. Wright” — Does “Unwitheriing really have two “i”s? I mean, it could. As long as I’m here, I’d also like to mention that “somewhither” is just a terrible coinage. It’s trying to be “Neverwhere” or something, but it’s tough to say. And “whither” just means “to where,” so — “some to where”?

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Tyop Patorl:

    McCaffery –> McCaffrey
    Somewither –> Somewhither
    Dragon*Con was 20 thousand+ –> Dragon*Con was a 20 thousand+ member (maybe a 20K+ member? or a 20,000+ member?)
    a previous arrested –> a previous arrest
    plead guilty –> pled guilty (this and the lead/led and breath/breathe things people get wrong drive me nuts)
    the Dragon Award’s announcement –> the Dragon Awards announcement or the Dragon Awards’ announcement
    the Dragon Award website –> the Dragon Awards website


    • (I’d assumed that was JCW’s typo, because I’m still *facepalming* over “seeped in the traditions of…” But Amazon and Goodreads list it as the correct spelling of the painfully overwrought word.)


  8. Kate Paulk: I’m really looking forward to comparing what comes out of the Hugo process and what comes out of the Dragon process – particularly in terms of numbers of voters and the like (hopefully the Dragon folks will be nice and give us that information to play… ahem… run statistical analysis with.

    I just have to laugh and laugh at the irony of this, given that the Dragon Awards nominating and voting process is completely opaque and amounts to “pay no attention to the Puppy behind the curtain deciding which works get to be on the ballot and which works get to win”.

    Liked by 4 people

    • The Dragonaward has a few problems with subsituting the Hugo. (The Nebula is the award that come closses probably)
      1. There are too many categorys missing. The draw of the Hugo is not only in the big one. The showcase for smaller fiction, new writers and fans is not there. (and exspecially the shorter fiction has a lot of defenders, what everyone learns that trys to shorter the arward number)
      2. The trust is not there. (And this ties to JJs comment) If I don’t know a nominated work I trust (outside shamanigans) the nominators to select somethink that is worth a try. It is not always a hit, but worth a try. At the Hugos there are normally 3 categorys of works, know (sometimes that is negative if I beunced of of a creator hart), know of (mostly means interested in) and unknown I look forward to the experience.
      I wouldn’t pick up an unknown because of a Dragon Award nomination.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Given the almost nonexistent window between when the Dragon Award ballot is released and the close of voting, and how many books are finalists, the award ultimately is for the most popular book nobody has read or plans to read.

        Liked by 4 people

        • Hey, that’s a category we’re sorely lacking: most popular unread book. “Looking through your mountain of unread books, which one do you feel most guilty for not having read yet?”

          It could have several categories:

          Most Popular Unread Book That I Think is SF.

          Most Popular Unread Book That I Think is Fantasy.

          Most Popular Unread Book That I Suspect Might Not Be Genre.

          Most Popular Unread Book That I Bought Mostly for the Cover.

          Most Popular Unread Book That I Can’t Remember Why I Bought It.


          What would be a good name for these awards? The Tsundoku Awards is too obvious a name. But obviously the prize for winning in a category should be a new book.

          the award ultimately is for the most popular book nobody has read or plans to read.

          Liked by 7 people

  9. I remember that I congratulated Rob Daviau (Pandemic Legacy co designer) for his win and he replied “What?”.
    He (nor Matt Leacock the other designer) was never contacted about his nomnination or his win.
    I thought it really underlined the profesionalism of this award 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Oh, wow, the Dragon Computer; I hadn’t realized that was part of the reason for the name of the convention. As somebody who owned and used the Tandy CoCo back in the 1980s and into the early 90s, I’m fairly familiar with the CoCo’s ‘cousin’ the Dragon, as there was a fair bit of cross-compatibility, and the RAINBOW magazine for the CoCo also included code for the Dragon, including mentioning things that might not work on both.


      • As far as I know, you’re right: it wasn’t sold in North America, because it would have been a direct competitor to the TRS-80 Color Computer, and Tandy wouldn’t have liked that. That’s not to say there weren’t some over here, because obviously people travel and it was certainly available in Britain.

        Non-U.S. sales of things like the Color Computer were handled by InterTan, which was headquartered up in Barrie, Ontario (not far north of where I live), which also ran all of the Radio Shack outlets in Canada. At least until they were bought out by Circuit City, and then Tandy pointed out a clause that had allowed InterTan to license the Radio Shack name in Canada as long as they didn’t compete with Radio Shack in the U.S., and since Circuit City did compete with Radio Shack in the U.S., they were now in violation of the license and had one year to cease using the name. Which was why all ‘Radio Shack’ stores in Canada ended up becoming ‘The Source (by Circuit City)’, and then just ‘The Source’ after Circuit City went completely bankrupt and had to sell them all off again.

        The whole ‘buy all Radio Shack stores in Canada’ was a bit of a desperate gasp by Circuit City who figured that since Radio Shack up here was still making money at the time, they must be doing something right… but they didn’t consider that making money on a market 10% the size wasn’t going to be enough to cover for all the money Circuit City was still losing in the U.S.

        (Sorry for the digression, it’s just an interesting bit of legal slow-motion collapse that I got to watch pretty much in real time.)

        Liked by 2 people

  11. “If we call ourselves a religion, we can even accuse people of being racist when they pick on us…”

    It seems that at least one Mad Genius (though I suspect it’s many more) needs to go back to school and learn the difference between race and religion.

    Liked by 1 person

      • …because most Islamic people are also brown? Another thing Hoyt and her ilk need to allow themselves to learn is Intersectionality.
        It’s very easy for Islamophobia to have a racist component to it.

        Liked by 1 person

        • As demonstrated by the repeated attacks on Sikhs in this country over the last 20 years, all based on the grounds that they were brown and wore turbans and therefore must be Muslims.

          Liked by 1 person

    • People call Islamic people “Sand[voxwords]s” and then when called out for being racist, note that Islam is a religion, not a race. Tis an odd blind spot.

      Cam, I started this response in the other thread, then realized it belongs here – leading to a misplaced half-sentence. If you can fix, it would be appreciated

      Liked by 1 person

      • All of my Muslim friends are from SE Asia so they’d just be deeply confused about what sand has to do with their religion.

        Mentioning this because it seems bewilderingly obvious to me that the insult refers specifically to people who live in a particular part of the world, which doesn’t represent *all* Muslims by any stretch. It’s a poor stereotype of Muslims as Arabs from the desert, which makes it… racist?

        Liked by 2 people

        • Real ‘Muricns like Puppies and MAGAts don’t know about the SE Asian Muslims because none of them and theirs have ever gone over there to kill them.

          If they do know, they don’t care because they’re brown furriners.

          They probably try not to think about Chechens like the white boys who bombed Boston.


  12. “The problem is that I don’t get e-mail notifications for my own comments.”

    I accidentally found a way to trick WordPress into notifying me of my own comments- if I comment with my email address differently capiTaliZed than WordPress has my address in their system (I think it defaults to no caps), it treats the comment as by ‘not me’ and thus notifies me.


  13. Footnote patrol!
    Missing references in the body for footnote [4] and [11]. There are two [14]’s in the text, footnote is for the second one. So you’re missing a footnote for the first [14] reference.

    Liked by 1 person

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