The Dragon Awards: Some things haven’t changed

In this post about the Dragon Award finalists I included a table showing the gender split of the winners in the three headline categories (Best sci-fi, fantasy & horror – the categories easiest to compare with other awards). With the announcement of the Dragon winners yesterday, here is the updated version of the table.

Yearhe/himshe/herGrand Total
Grand Total18523
Dragon headline category winners

28 responses to “The Dragon Awards: Some things haven’t changed”

  1. Of course in the early (Puppy) years, it was going to be a complete sausage fest.

    With the domination of publishers defaulting to men as far as number of publications and amount of publicity, it takes a while for an award to consider such eldritch oddities as women. And even longer for non-male and non-female people.

    But it’s improving! As long as the number of nominators keeps going up (and hopefully the percentage of not-men), things will even out better. Faster than the Hugos and Nebulas did, anyway, though that’s faint praise.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Yeah, it’s going to take a lot longer for any sort of gender equity, etc. to be happening with the Dragon Awards, but I expect the shift will come. Again, if the administrator changes and/or the rules change so it’s not the administrator’s call, there will be more change faster probably.

    What we can see is that the Puppy slant is still having an effect on Military SF/Fantasy (which for some reason I thought was only SF, but whatevs.) And maybe a bit on SF — they do like the Corey series despite the authors behind Corey being not great fans of Puppies. But Fantasy, Horror, YA and Alternate History are now wide open. Mercedes Lackey was the best known nominee in AH and that may have held sway over any Baen fans contingent. Though given it’s the 16th book in that series, that’s rather impressive.

    We still can’t know to what degree the administrator uses the actual votes, and so giving a gender breakdown of the awards does give us data, but mainly data about the administrator’s personal decisions of what to do each year relative to possible vote patterns. So I guess the administrator isn’t counting out the women authors as much as in the early years. And this is consistent with the patterns we’ve seen overall of the Dragons — it started out as a booster for RW (Puppy) titles but also needed to spread out to accept big names for legitimacy and to be useful to Dragon Con as their con award.

    And as more awareness of the awards developed, especially to attendees of the convention (hat tip to the Red Panda Faction,) we started to see patterns more similar to other awards, with big names and titles highly talked about in fandom getting nominations. Authors started getting more supportive of the awards and spread awareness of them as well. Are more men authors encouraging their fan lists to vote for them to get Dragon Award nominations than the women and non-binary authors? Very possibly. I’m sure a lot of women authors are still quite wary of these awards because of the antecedents.

    But that’s exactly why the more willing involvement of authors like Cat Rambo in hosting the ceremony previously is important — it legitimizes and opens up the Dragon Awards even if the procedures of the awards are not yet fully legitimate. And the administrator does have to bow down to some of that — the more attention the Dragons get, the more the administrator has to go with actual votes, even if voting data is still kept secret.

    So all in all, it looks like the Dragon Awards are really developing and may attract more voters the next year, despite the determination of the administrator still to make the voting process difficult, hidden and confusing. Next year, their 8th and during the later Covid period, will probably be pretty interesting. Especially as the Expanse series has now finished and won’t have titles up for a Dragon next year.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Well that’s a bit oblique on info, but I suppose might be wise?

        Anyway, the Dragons are becoming a more legitimate award. Which means that it isn’t the award that the Puppies and their kin were hoping for. But several of them did snag noms and wins in the first few years and as the award becomes a more regular award, they’ll get to keep those and use them as they please. But they were never going to hold the line on the awards because again the Puppies are not at all central to the wide spread of the actual book fields and Dragon Con is too big to have it stay their own little niche awards.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I just remembered that this year’s winner, Lackey, got tossed off a Nebula panel for referring to Chip Delany as “colored”.

    Most DC voters won’t know that, but I’m sure the Puppies didn’t care. I wonder if they actually pay any attention to categories other than mil-SF nowadays?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lackey can be a mixed bag. She’s been a contributor to feminist SFF, queer content and does wildlife conservation, but like some of the older SFF authors, she doesn’t always roll with change, especially of language. But she’s not the sort of author the Puppies like much.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, she’s kinda stuck in 70s feminism and queer ideology.

        But even that’s way too woke for Puppies. Plus there are magic horses in some of her books, too girly. I hope they had a sad that she won.

        One of my 2 favorite buttons I’ve seen at cons read “Lackey Lackey Lackey, get your adverbs here.” Which made me actually LOL, being of the generation who watched “Schoolhouse Rock”.

        The other was
        |Ø| > Ψ Φ

        which took me a few seconds (I didn’t ask for hints) and the wearer was quite pleased when I got it.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Mercedes Lackey also helped to bring about the downfall of DAW Books according to some of the usual reactionaries, because more Lackey and less Gor meant that DAW was being taken over by feminists.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Is Gor even still a thing?

            DAW has had plenty of pulpy (and sometimes sexist) stuff over the decades. Chain mail bikinis and manly men with lasers everywhere.

            IIRC, she was *often* published by Baen for years but apparently her girl cooties weren’t strong enough to fight back against their giant vat of toxic masculinity. Even the stories with the talking horses and people showing feelings. Which, TBF, I think were DAW — her career seems to be about half Baen, half DAW and always has been.

            Her first pro work seems to have been published in 1985*, so any of the whiners who are under 37 literally weren’t even alive when she first was published. They’ve never known a world without her works.

            *thanks for the info to Sir David of Ansible and the SFE, long may it reign.


          • DAW has been going strong for decades. So much so that the main problem has been that the ever growing Random Penguin kept wanting to buy it up, rather than just hosting their offices and distributing their titles. But DAW didn’t want to get subsumed in with their big SFF imprints. With Wollheim and Gilbert into retirement years, they seem to have decided to sell to Astra, which is still distributed by Random Penguin, but they’ll be that publisher’s only SFF imprint. It might be just putting it off for awhile, as Random Penguin seems determined to create a monopoly in the U.S. and might eventually buy up Astra, but it’s hopefully a workable solution for them.

            Mercedes Lackey was a big draw for DAW in the 1980’s and 1990’s, as was Tad Williams, and those two still probably do very well for them along with olders like Tanya Huff and C.J. Cherryh, but they have quite a lot of newer major names — Seanan McGuire, Nnedi Okafor, Stephen Blackmoore, Ben Aaronovitch (reprinted from UK,) Jim Hines, Christopher Ruocchio, Diana Rowland, Bradley Beaulieu, etc. Of course, the Puppies don’t like a lot of those folks either.

            Liked by 1 person

    • It’s not really fair, I feel, to compare the Hugos and the Dragons because they’re different sets of awards. The initial Puppy-friendly organizers of the Dragons got rid of all those inferior to them short fiction awards and just go after a set of books, plus games and dramatic awards. Whereas the Hugos has one real fictional book category, the big one but only one. The Hugos are dedicated to celebrating and featuring short fiction, magazines, anthologies and analysis of the field (related work,) as well as fan writer and artist awards. It’s the whole capillary system of SFF and particularly SFF fandom, whereas the Dragons are focused just on the (potentially bestselling) novels in retail trade and their customers.

      The Hugos are structurally part of WorldCon’s whole concept, while the Dragons were essentially a start-up shop that Dragon Con let their name be put on but have done little to actually make it work for the con (writ lit not being that interesting to them as a focus.) There is overlap between the attendees of Dragon Con (a multi-media con) and the various WorldCons (lit central cons) but in general, they are different crowds with different impacts on the awards. The Hugos have limitations on who can vote that include payment. The Dragon Con lets anyone vote, if you can figure out how, and then may or may not count those votes. So they are never going to have comparable outcomes, though they may sometimes have a bit of overlap in the Hugo Best Novel category.

      Liked by 1 person

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