Dragon Con Refuses To Let Authors Withdraw from Dragon Awards

Alison Littlewood has been told by the President of Dragon Con, Pat Henry, that she will not be allowed to withdraw as a nominee of the Dragon Awards. She posted the convention’s answer on her blog in “Another statement regarding the Dragon Awards”.

As stated in my previous post, I have contacted the Dragon Awards administrators to request that my nomination for The Hidden People be withdrawn. The book has been selected as part of a voting slate by a member of the ‘Rabid Puppies’ voting bloc, which I feel may have undue influence over the awards outcome. I have no connection with the Rabid Puppies and have no wish to benefit from any kind of interference in the voting process.

I have today received the following response:

Good morning Ms. Littlewood,

 While I appreciate your sense of fair play, I must decline your request to remove The Hidden People from the Dragon Award Nominations. 

We are aware of the rabid puppies and justice warriors efforts to effect the voting and we go through a number of steps to avoid ballot stuffing or other vote rigging behaviors.  While we didn’t start the Dragon Awards to foil these two groups, we believe that as we add voters, they will become irrelevant in the our awards.

We believe the “people’s choice” approach is a better way to recognize authors and their works.  The Dragon Awards ballot – which consists of works nominated by fans – is a broad representation of the best science fiction and fantasy literature available today.  With 53 novels listed, there is actually something for everybody on this ballot.     

The original purpose of the Dragon Awards was not so much as awards but as a quality reading list.  The cost of reading current material has been rising steadily for years.  Library budgets are not adequate to have all, or even a decent collection of  the type of materials that Dragon Con fans enjoy.

Thank you for your interest in the Dragon Con Awards.  Please do not let Mr. [redacted] ruin for you, the positive reception of your work. 

Pat Henry – President

. . . So there you have it. I tried. I have never heard of any awards keeping writers on the nominees list against their wishes, particularly when those wishes are surely the same as the organisers’ – to ensure that the process goes forward fairly and without interference. However, it seems in this case there is little more I can do.

Jim C. Hines, in his post about the Dragon Awards controversy observed:

Note the false equivalence of rabid puppies, a self-proclaimed group created by Vox Day, with “justice warriors,” generally used as an insult against people speaking up for greater representation and inclusion. The rabid puppy slate was posted on Vox Day’s blog back in June. I’m curious where the equivalent “justice warrior” slate supposedly appeared…

Meantime, Brian Niemeier tweeted a response to Henry’s announcement: “Scalzi is now trapped in here with me”. Scalzi had also announced his withdrawal from the awards.

And another nominee, Castalia House author Benjamin Cheah Kai Wai, has inserted a proscription list in his new post  “Between SocJus and PulpRev at the Dragon Awards”

In addition, I must point out the nominees known to be affiliated with or are social justice warriors….

75 thoughts on “Dragon Con Refuses To Let Authors Withdraw from Dragon Awards

  1. After wandering over to Benjamin Cheah Kai Wai’s blog (I didn’t know it was possible to be both whiny AND self-congratulatory) and then falling down a rabbit hole of links and more links( the YA mess that was the pile-on of “The Black Witch” just made me want to pound my head on my desk); a pox on all their houses. It’s gotten to where you have to check to see which self-righteous, solipsistic, egregiously wordy screed is which.
    Maybe I’ve just gotten too old for all the nonsense. I’ve decided to place the blame on those kids these days who think they know everything.
    Then I remember that for all the fire and fury and foot-stamping, most of the world doesn’t have a clue it’s even happening.

  2. @Space Oddity:

    Especially if this thing ends with the Dragon Con itself tarnished beyond repair as is seeming more and more an option.

    Most DC attendees don’t even know this is going on, thanks to the lack of notice repeatedly mentioned in these threads. It’s theoretically possible that mundane media will notice this as they did the Puppies pooping on the Hugos, but that would require them to notice the awards first — and believe in them, which an editor expecting data (of which there is none) is unlikely to do.

    @Arthur Wyatt: DC made a very public separation between itself and Kramer; AFAICT the con has grown substantially since then, so I’d hardly call it tarnished. (I have a vague recollection of them “buying out” his “share” for far too much money just to make him go far, far away; somebody may have confirmation/correction of this.) It’s not to my taste — I don’t do megacons — but I don’t think they can still (if ever) be blamed for Kramer.

  3. Most DC attendees don’t even know this is going on, thanks to the lack of notice repeatedly mentioned in these threads.

    This is one of the prime reasons that the award is a joke.

  4. Hey, I just got the email from them asking me to confirm that I really wanted to sign up for this crazy thing.

    At the confirmation link, it says

    – Ballots are only sent out in batches early Monday and Thursday

    – You won’t get a ballot right away.

    Meaning that yeah, this is some dude doing it in his spare time, on Mondays and Thursdays in the wee hours.

  5. lurkertype on August 9, 2017 at 11:10 pm said:

    Meaning that yeah, this is some dude doing it in his spare time, on Mondays and Thursdays in the wee hours.

    Now I can only envision the guy running the Dragons as the Dude from the Big Lebowski

  6. Alison Littlewood says on Facebook that Dragon Con has reconsidered and is allowing her to withdraw after all, with new ballots to be sent to those who have already voted for her. Blog post to follow, no doubt.

  7. Not that we’ll ever know but I wonder how re-issuing the ballots will affect their total votes. I for one probably won’t be re-inputting my choices.

  8. Do you ever wish you could just read what books you like and let others read what books they like and never hear “rabid puppies” or “social justice warriors” or “snowflake” or any of this crap and just read books in a genre you enjoy?

    These endless culture wars are so draining, even for someone who isn’t actively involved. I can’t imagine how it’s damaging the psyche of writers. These voting slates are so egregious, from any front, even though it seems to consistently come from reactionaries at the moment.

    Just read the books you like, vote for the books you like and if they don’t go the way you like remember: They don’t really mean anything.

  9. Ken: Just read the books you like, vote for the books you like and if they don’t go the way you like remember: They don’t really mean anything.

    I think you’re preaching to the choir here, dude.

    The people who need to heed your advice are the Puppies and other reactionaries involved in the toxic political campaigning.

    But I’m not going to advise you to go post your advice on their blogs, because I’m quite sure that they won’t listen to it. 😐

  10. @ Ken, I so agree, but what do you do when people decide they are going to use awards as a political platform – which is why GRRM was so right in saying that the Puppies had broken the Hugos by politicizing them. For me, the concern is that a convention I attend and a community I am part of, is now being represented by these Puppy awards.. If the con were interested in representing the membership, and creating a great reading list for others, as Pat Henry said to Littlewood, it would be very easy for them to simply send the nominations ballot to anyone who bought a dragon con membership a year in advance of the next year’s con, especially if the point is to generate a reading list of things people really read and want to recommend to others.

  11. My experience has often been that people with a specific set of skill sets, for instance running a tight fan convention, will think that they also can accomplish something else with another set of specific skill sets, such as an award, without much effort.

    I recently learned that this phenomenon is called Engineer’s Disease.

  12. Isn’t this a variant of the old LASFS catch-phrase, “Death will not release you”?

    Or just an awards version of the roach/mouse trap method of making sure there are some nominees in each category?

    To paraphrase someone we all know (but wish we didn’t), who knew awards could be so complicated? Sad!

  13. Judging by Benjamin Cheah Kai Wai’s blog post, as far as some of them are concerned they are the apolitical book-lover fen who just vote for stuff they like.

    Mind you, I’m not entirely sure how they square that with constantly ranting about politics and writing political screeds thinly disguised as fiction.

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  15. Now I can only envision the guy running the Dragons as the Dude from the Big Lebowski

    The Dude would never get involved in anything this ridiculous without a ferret being dumped in a bathtub.

  16. Robert Whitaker Sirignano: The awards call to mind: how many of these books will be thought of in the same manner as Pulitzer Prize winners from many decades gone by

    Never mind the Pulitzer. The DragonCon chair is now attempting to retcon the purpose of the awards as to not actually really be awards, but to be a “recommendation list” — and right now, that recommendation list isn’t worth a damn, because of all the crap that’s been freeped onto it.

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