I don’t expect to do four different posts and reaction round-ups about the Dragon Awards like I did for the Hugos, but there have been a few more reactions and responses to the inaugural Dragon Awards in the meantime. My previous post on the Dragon Awards is here.
At Women Write About Comics, Doris V. Sutherland offers her analysis of the Dragon Awards winners and points out how heavily dominated by puppy tastes the fiction categories are. There is also an interesting comment from a Dragon Con attendee who said that many congoers were not even aware of the Dragon Awards and also that Dragon Con’s literary track is heavily dominated by “older white dudes” and Baen readers.
Camestros Felapton offers his own Dragon Awards analysis and also attempts to calculate how many total votes there might have been. His estimate is a bit higher than my own, but the analysis is sound. Besides, the barrier to entry for voting/nominating in the Dragon Awards is a lot lower than for the Hugos, since all you need is an e-mail address and both Vox Day and Larry Correia have proven that they can motivate a crowd.
I think the most interesting point in estimating how many Dragon Awards voters there were and how many of them were Vox Day’s dead elk is John C. Wright’s win in the best science fiction novel category. Because as I said in my last post, Larry Correia has a big and active fanbase, even if I can’t see the appeal of his books at all, and it’s likely that there is quite a bit of overlap between Correia’s fanbase and Baen books readers in general and Dragon Con’s audience. Plus, Larry Correia probably also have profited from Vox Day’s recommendation, which may well have given him the edge over Jim Butcher.
As for Nick Cole and Brian Niemeier, two rather obscure puppy associated Dragon Award winners, Nick Cole became something of a cause celebre for both sets of puppies, when Harper Collins declined to publish Ctrl Alt Revolt! for offensive content. Nick Cole was also nominated in a generally weak category with N.K. Jemisin (whom both sets of puppies hate) his strongest competition. What is more, Larry Correia previously supported Nick Cole via one of his “book bombs”, so a lot of Correia’s fans either read him or at least recognised his name. I also have no problems believing that Ctrl Alt Revolt! with its focus on action and gaming (plus the bit which caused Harper Collins to reject the book) appeals more to Larry Correia’s readers and general Baen fans than The Fifth Season. As for Brian Niemeier, as discussed in this post, horror doesn’t seem to be the puppies’ thing, plus they were likely familiar with his name.
However, it doesn’t seem all that likely that a whole lot of Larry Correia’s fans and general Baen fans would vote for John C. Wright – both Charles Gannon and the RPG tie-in seem much more down their alley than Wright’s traditionally wordy fiction. And indeed, Wright himself admits that his works are not for everybody. Besides, John C. Wright only appeared on the puppy slates, after Correia had handed the reigns over to Brad Torgersen, though Larry Correia did organise a “book bomb” for him. Sure, Correia’s fans might vote for Wright to “make the heads of the left” explode, but not if there is something on the ballot that appeals to them more. John C. Wright’s win is most likely due to Vox Day’s support.
But unless we see actual numbers, all this remains speculation, especially since the “first past the post” or simple majority voting system of the Dragon Awards allows a nominee to win with a very narrow margin, particularly if the other nominees in the category split the vote. In fact, this might well have led to Naomi Novik winning in the alternate history category over Eric Flint whose two nominated novels may well have split the vote between themselves.
Writer Lela E. Buis briefly weighs in on the Dragon Awards and claims that they look as if they will be more friendly to popular fiction than either the Hugos or the Nebula Awards. Well, it’s certainly the intent behind the Dragon Awards to be more friendly towards popular fiction than other genre awards, but so far the reality shows a mix of broadly popular works and works which appeal to a specific niche, namely the puppy niche, winning. Lela E. Buis also points out that the Dragon Awards winners are very white and very male, though she views this as white men voting their taste. Because white men obviously never read books by women and writers of colour.
At File 770, Mike Glyer offers a round-up of Dragon Award reactions from winners and nominees. I already linked to most of those in my previous post, but there are two which are new to me. The first is this brief thank you post from Michael O’Brien of Chaosium Inc., publishers of Call of the Cthulhu, which won in the RPG category.
The second is this post from Marko Kloos, nominated in the best military SFF category. Marko Kloos eventually lost out to David Weber, but is neither surprised nor disapppointed. He also thinks it’s an honour to be nominated and thanks his fans.
Nick Cole, author of Ctrl Alt Revolt!, also weighs at Facebook about winning the Dragon Award in the post-apocalyptic category. Mostly, he thanks those who supported him, but he also cannot help making a crack about “fighting for the right of fans to tell the world what their favourite books are”.
Meanwhile, Brian Niemeier is rather angry about the Doris V. Sutherland article linked above. He also still has no idea how Amazon algorithms and bestseller lists work.
As for how well publicised the Dragon Awards were, Rob Daviau, one of the creators behind Pandemic: Legacy, which won in the best boardgame category, as apparently entirely unaware that he had been nominated for, much less won the Dragon Award, as this Twitter exchange shows (ETA: Link is now correct).
2015 Sad Puppy in chief Brad Torgersen has not yet weighed in on the Dragon Awards on his blog, but John C. Wright shares what I presume is a comment Torgersen made in a comment thread elsewhere. At any rate, Torgersen complains that people criticise the Dragon Awards for having hardly any control measures to keep people from voting more than once (which is a big flaw) and yet are opposed to voter ID laws in the US. Because obviously a national election is just like an internet poll about favourite SFF books.
ETA: Kate Paulk, one third of the Sad Puppies 2016 leadership, doesn’t have anything to say about Dragon Con or the Dragon Awards, but instead attempts to prove that WorldCon is dying. Well, if it makes her happy…
ETA II: Dragon Con in Atlanta, where the Dragon Awards were awarded, is often cited by the puppies as the model of what a con should be like. I did link a few reports about Dragon Con in my weekly link round-up over at the Speculative Fiction Showcase, but I particularly liked this article by Jason Johnson at The Root, in which he talks about how welcoming to black fans Dragon Con is.
ETA III: Among all the discussion about the Hugos, the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the Dragon Awards, the second annual Alfie Awards, awarded by George R.R. Martin to potential Hugo finalists driven off the ballot by slating, have been a bit forgotten. However, now George R.R. Martin himself talks about the 2016 Alfie Award winners and the ceremony as well as about the Hugo Losers Party, both at the 1976 and the 2016 Kansas City WorldCons.
ETA III: In yet more awards news, the 2016 Aurora Awards for best Canadian SFF pro and fan work have been awarded as well and there were some very good choices among the winners.
ETA IV: At CNN Philippines, Charles Tan interviews Michi Trota and Alyssa Wong, the first Filipino winners of the Hugo or respectively Nebula Award. It’s a very good interview and they go a bit into the puppy wars as well.
Comments are still off.