I’m new to the whole hype over awards for science fiction and fantasy, well, ever since last year when I learned about the controversy involving the Hugos and the so-called Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies.
However, I’ve been paying attention to the Dragon Awards. Unlike most other awards of this type, anyone who has internet access can register for no cost and be able to vote for their favorite authors, books, television shows, and so forth (in other words we mere mortals). I even voted myself, but unlike others, the purpose of this blog post isn’t to share who I favored.
I discovered at least three other commentaries on the Dragons: File 770‘s Mike Glyer, Camestros Felapton‘s, an apparently associated blog which I’ve just started following, and Richard Paolinelli’s SciFiScribe.
They all had slightly different takes.
Richard’s was pretty straight forward. He listed the nominees, who won, and who he voted for. Typical of File 770, the information about nominees and winners was the same, but there were screen captures of tons of tweets, since twitter seems to be the major platform many fans and other interested parties use to communicate (for good or for ill). I did notice my online “adversary” Hampus Eckerman made a comment praising the use of “celebrities” at the Dragons but panning the winners. I guess some people need to be the wet blanket at any party.
Camestros Felapton did something a little different. They (with a name like that, I have no idea if the person is male or female) created a simple list of winners but went on to post this:
- Brad Puppies: 5 wins out of 10 (but multiple finalists in some categories)
- Baen books: 3 wins out of 3
- Chris Kennedy books: 0 wins out of 4
- Tor books: 1 out of 5
- Gender: Of 10 named winners (including co-authors etc) in books & comics 7 are men and 3 are women.
- Of the two headline categories of Best SF and Best Fantasy for the Dragon Awards there have now been 10 winning authors (including two co-author pairs), all have been men.
Even Google couldn’t help me define what “Brad Puppies” is supposed to be. I’d make a comment on the post asking, but I noticed that the aforementioned Hampus comments there, and I’d just as soon not expose myself to someone with such breathtakingly major hostility issues.
I have no idea why Chris Kennedy is supposed to be significant or why Baen and Tor books are called out among other publishers. The last two items seem to be judgment issues, as in “I’m judging the Dragons for not including more women.”
In nominating and voting for SF/F works, it would be all but impossible to do a double-blind voting system where the fans didn’t know the identity and thus gender of the artists. To be absolutely honest, I didn’t give gender a single thought when I voted. It never even occurred to me. I was considering the quality of the product, period. It didn’t matter to me if the creator was male or female. If it does matter to anyone else who voted (or who is judging the voting), then I suppose they’re more biased in one direction or the other than I am.
Isn’t the whole point of equality and inclusion to judge by quality rather than by what chromosomes the creator possesses?
I’d ask, but like I mentioned above, there are some venues that are rather toxic emotionally, and I’ve spent years on other blogs struggling to survive those sorts of people and groups. In the end, I avoid them when I can, which is why I choose to comment freely on my own blog rather than invade the comments sections of others.
Having followed File 770 for a few weeks now, I have discovered there are a dizzying number of SF/F awards out there, far too many for me to keep track of. That said, I find the Dragons refreshing because they give the common human being like me a voice in honoring the creators of books, films, and television shows (they really need to add a category for SF/F short stories).
That’s what equality and inclusion is all about, too. Everyone gets a voice.
Getting back to the comments on Camestros Felapton, one fellow (his photo clearly showed it was a guy) said:
The Dragon Awards still aren’t important enough to be worth the effort of figuring out the genders of the different winners. However, the odds of ten men in a row (assuming 50/50 split) is just 1 in 1024. On that score, there’s a clear gender bias. However, given the origin of the Dragon’s, that’s not a surprise. We don’t expect the Dragons to be fair. We do expect the Hugos to be fair. That’s the biggest difference.
Well, maybe. On the other hand, N.K Jemisin won Hugos for best novel three years in a row. I’m not saying she didn’t deserve them, but if we’re crunching numbers, what are the odds of any writer winning three consecutive Hugos? They must be through the roof.
The general tone of the many, many people making statements on that blog post were pretty disparaging to the Dragons as opposed to the almost holy Hugos (which the person I quoted said were fair, but the way people become eligible to vote results in what could possibly be considered a stacked deck).
How about we just vote for what we like and leave politics and social agendas out of it?