A Few Random Thoughts on Awards (Including but not Limited to the Dragon Awards)

First, I’d like to congratulate all of the nominees for the Dragon Awards. I had friends, both from cyberspace and meatspace, on the ballot. I’m sorry they didn’t win.

And now, I have a confession to make.

I didn’t vote this year. I didn’t vote for the Gemmells either.  Before anyone starts screaming about hypocrisy and double standards, I had a very good reason for not voting.

I didn’t read any of the nominees.

I’m not going to vote on a ballot when I haven’t read at least some of the titles under consideration.  Not that I didn’t want to.  I’ve got nominated titles from the Dragons and the Gemmells in my TBR pile (or will when a few come out in paperback). Reading time has been tight the past couple of years.  I simply didn’t get to the titles on the shortlist.  The same thing happened with the Gemmell Awards. This is part of why I’m not accepting many requests for reviews outside of a small circle of writers and editors I’ve reviewed before.  The time currently isn’t there at this season of my life.  I’ve started cutting out review commitments so I can have time to read the work of my friends.  I also am trying to be more consistent in my own fiction writing.

There’s been a lot of noise over the summer about the Dragons not being a valid or “real” award.  The argument that intruded on my Twitter feed the other day said something about the way they’re setup invites manipulation. I don’t know if that’s true or not. Don’t really care much, either. The Dragon Awards are only in their second year; I’m sure they’ve still got a few bugs to work out. Either they will or they won’t. I’m not going to lose sleep over it.

Some loudmouthed high profile authors recently made a big deal out of removing their names from the ballots.  Personally, I find that insulting to the people who nominated them. Were I ever to find one of my works on an awards short-list, I would (most likely) leave it  there. After all, if my writing touched enough people on some level that they went to the trouble of nominating me, it would be churlish to withdraw.  Even if my work was nominated by the “wrong sorts” of people.  In fact, I would take that situation as a compliment.  If someone with whom I had deep philosophical/political/religious differences liked something I wrote that much, I must have done something right to have written a story that reached them through our differences. (Only if I had irreconcilable differences with the philosophy behind the award or had an ethical concern with being on the ballot would I withdraw.)

Ever since the wooden asshole stunt a few years ago, I’ve not really concerned myself with awards. I do consider the Dragon Awards, along with the Gemmell Awards, to be real awards that are valid and reflect the views of the readers. As opposed to other groups.

In fact, about the only awards I pay any attention to are the Dragons, the Gemmells, and the Shamus (for private eye fiction).  I use them as suggested reading lists.  Unlike some award ballots, which I use as titles to avoid lists.

But ultimately, the only award that really matters to me is the Beer Money Award.


14 thoughts on “A Few Random Thoughts on Awards (Including but not Limited to the Dragon Awards)

    1. Keith West Post author

      Yeah, pretty much. Several people asked that their books be taken off the ballot because certain people had posted lists of who they were going to vote for and asked their followers to do the same. They didn’t want to be associated with awards that had anything to do with certain people.

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  2. Woelf Dietrich

    I voted but did not pay attention to the political side of things, not that I expected something to happen so soon in the award’s existence but I see on twitter we already have a bunch of man-hating weirdos lamenting that only white men won. I don’t get it. Mostly women won the Hugos and have been winning awards for years so why are people still screeching about men winning awards? What happened to let’s celebrate a good story for the story’s sake? I mean, how utterly pathetic and selfish must you be if you can’t even be happy for someone else. It’s people like them who ruin science fiction and fantasy if you let them. They just don’t get it. It’s about the story. Not the vagina. And it’s this gross failure that will keep them stuck like parasites to their incestuous little click groups.

    Seeing those bile-filled tweets reminded me again why I have become extremely selective in the books I read. I don’t have the patience or time for this high school bullshit and I’m sure as shit not going to finance anyone who hates me because I was born a white guy.

    Yep, I have some pent-up frustration spilling out here. I shouldn’t have followed the pinged link.

    1. Keith West Post author

      I share your frustration. I’ve pretty much stayed off Twitter this weekend for that reason. Plus I’ve got too much to do to get sucked into the time sink.

      I agree completely with what you say. I’ve also become very selective in what books I read, both in terms of the author and the publisher. You hear a lot about readers don’t care who the publisher is. Well, I do. I’ve also gotten to the point where I’ll not read an author based on things other than the quality of the story. When authors go online and attack groups of people because who think things they don’t approve of and say they don’t want those people reading their books, and I’m in one of those people, well, my TBR pile just got smaller.

      Until the last few years, I didn’t really care if the author was an innie or an outie. I only cared if the story was good. I’ve gotten now where I’m paying more attention to things not related to story, and it’s because of all the harridans shrieking. At the rate things are going, in a few more years I’ll only be reading stuff from before the 1960s and the work of a few friends.

      1. Woelf Dietrich

        It’s sad that things have come to this. There is a silver lining at least. I’ve returned to the books I grew up and I’m exploring new “old writers” from before my time. At least we won’t have any shortage of reading material anytime soon.

        1. Keith West Post author

          True. I doubt I could read every unread book in my library before I die, especially at the rate I’m currently reading.


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