The Dragon Awards

Dragon Award So the inaugural Dragon Awards have seen wins for Larry Correia, John C Wright and Sir Terry Pratchett, amongst others.

Even though “The Shepherd’s Crown” wasn’t quite up to the standard of the works that made his reputation, it’s hard to begrudge that win. Since Sir Terry is no longer with us, his posthumous final book was the one and only time he’s ever going to be eligible for a Dragon. He’s one of the true giants of fantasy, perhaps second only to J R R Tolkien in public name recognition, and an award that’s as much for lifetime achievement is still deserved.

The awards as a whole do celebrate the populist commercial end of SFF at the expense of the literary, and is skewed heavily towards American authors whose work isn’t easy to get hold of on this side of the Atlantic. So I’m not convinced the Dragon Awards represent the state of the art in science-fiction any more than the Hugo Awards do. If anything, the two awards are almost mirror images of each other, each seemingly over representing the favourites of one tribe at the expense of rival tribes.

There is a very big overlap between Vox Day’s stated personal choices and the eventual winners, so much so that accusations of ballot-stuffing have surfaced. And that has to be a bit of a red flag. But it’s also true that the Sad Puppy leaders past and present have been promoting the Dragons very heavily, and their fans and supporters may have participated in disproportionate numbers. We shall have to see how the award develops over the coming years.

Anyway, congratulations to all the winners, even those who don’t share my political world-view. And to those who dismiss the award’s legitimacy because the wrong people won, remember that some people said exactly the same about The Hugos.

Over to you. What do you think of the results? Do they represent a radical alternative to The Hugos, or do they represent too narrow a tribe?

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8 Responses to The Dragon Awards

  1. Colum Paget says:

    I think both the Dragons and the Hugos represent narrow tribes. As for them being ‘radical’ in any sense, the problem with SF now is that it tries too hard to be radical. It’s a rich-kids debating club with a high density of sociopaths and has little connection to most people’s lives.

    The puppies accuse the hugos of representing nothing but a secret clique of loony-lefty types too many of whom have it in for white men, while social-justice SF accuses the puppies/dragons of representing nothing but a secret clique of american guns-and-god right-wingers too many of whom have it in for minorities and people who refuse to fit into the gender binary.

    They are both right.

    SF&F no longer has/is a model of a better shared future in the way Gene Roddenberry did. When one side is led by someone who says Andres Brevik will one day be considered a hero, and the other side is full of people who claim that “there’s not such thing as racism towards white people” (or any group) then both sides are so far down the rabbit-hole of fascism that they can never hope to find their way back. Thus the genre, at least in its written form, has surrendered any claim to relevance or importance, having split into ‘opiate for the masses’ and ‘opiate for sociology professors’ variants.

    So all we are left with is these two groups of warring, tribalist bigots. They will never be able to co-exist, and in this regard the Dragon awards are a good thing. Hopefully now the community will divide into seperate identities and the fighting will stop. Neither group would be one that I would want to be part of, because the one group, for all they deny it, will always have a problem with me because of the color of my skin, whereas the other group would have no problem with me, but a problem with some of my friends because of the color of theirs. (You can subsitute gender identity for skincolor and get the same result too. And let’s not talk about class). Thus we need a third group, but I do not think SF has the critical mass of people committed to a common human identity to support that: they have either left, or drunk one flavor of kool-aid or the other.

    Thus, this ‘two extremist communities’ result is the best we can get. Hopefully it will not prove to be a model for larger society, though all the evidence is that we are heading that way.

  2. Tim Hall says:


    I think you may be painting a bleaker picture that is accurate. I’m not convinced that the vast majority of Worldcon attendees and Dragoncon voters are intolerant bigots, but it’s the most unpleasant people who make the most noise on the internet. The Alt-Right anf the Regressive Left are loud but small minorities that have been allowed to define their communities.

  3. I agree, Tim. “Empty vessels make the most noise” and “it’s the squeaky wheel that gets the oil”

  4. Tim Hall says:

    I might well have gone to LonCon (I only live 30 miles out of London), but they lost me with that Jonathan Ross mess.

    That unfortunate storm sent out all the wrong vibes, giving the impression that it wasn’t a welcoming event open to everyone who loves science-fiction, but something incestious and cliquey where the wrong type of fan wasn’t welcome.

  5. Chuk says:

    Wright and Correia are obviously political choices (even if you don’t disagree with their politics, there are *way* better novels out there) and I haven’t read the Weber, it might be too. A lot of the rest of the choices seem pretty uncontroversial though. I find some of their categories weird — Best Apocalyptic Novel?
    Fallout Shelter is a pretty decent game if you like that kind of thing. I don’t know enough SF games that came out this year to suggest a better candidate.

  6. Tim Hall says:

    Been suggested Nora Jemisin was an equally political choixe as Hugo winner. Though without having read the actual books I can’t really comment.

  7. Chuk says:

    The Fifth Season is great and so is the sequel. (I didn’t really like her earlier series and only read one book of each.)

  8. Tim Hall says:

    Only Jemisin I’ve read is “The Killing Moon” which I thought was OK but didn’t inspire me to pick up the next book in the series.