We here at SuperversiveSF haven’t really made a secret of where our sympathies lie in the Great Hugo Kerfuffles; we’re Puppies of one stripe or another, who’d like to see the Hugos once again awarded based on, if not merit, then genuine fan-love, rather than politics. I’ll not rehash the whole debate, but one of the complaints was the WorldCon was becoming highly insular. It’s now, essentially, a very tiny subset of the SF/Fantasy/Horror fandom, which begs the question– why do we want that tiny group of fans determining what’s the best work of a year?
So here comes Dragon Con, which I have never attended, but which boasts an attendance that wiki tells me is in 63k+ range, and they announce that they are launching an award of their own. Right off the bat, the Dragon awards are a way bigger cross section of the fandom.
Except they’re not even going to require membership to Dragon Con. The awards are open to anyone that wants to vote on them.
This is really pretty exciting. I’m not ready to give up on the Hugos yet, but I’ll be honest, that’s entirely because of fond memories of my childhood, when I knew I was in for at the very least an entertaining read when I picked up a book that had a Hugo award. In a lot of ways that matter, the Dragons might be the modern update that the Hugos need. Take a look at the categories:
- Best science fiction novel
- Best fantasy novel (including paranormal)
- Best young adult/middle grade novel
- Best military science fiction or fantasy novel
- Best alternate history novel
- Best apocalyptic novel
- Best horror novel
- Best comic book
- Best graphic novel
- Best episode in a continuing science fiction or fantasy series, TV or internet
- Best science fiction or fantasy movie
- Best science fiction or fantasy PC / console game
- Best science fiction or fantasy mobile game
- Best science fiction or fantasy board game
- Best science fiction or fantasy miniatures / collectable card / role-playing game
It’s not a perfect list; there’s no short story category. No fan-works category. No editors. Maybe those things need to be there; maybe they don’t. I have this weird reverse ADD that makes it hard for me to pay attention to short stories and I have a hard time figuring out how to judge who’s a better editor without having worked with the people in question. Maybe those things are relics of an older age.
But I’m excited about seeing awards for video games and board games in there; I’m a huge Mass Effect fan, final fifteen minutes of the trilogy notwithstanding, and I’d love to see things of that caliber recognized as valuable contributions to the ongoing SF/fantasy/horror dialogue.
Some people have pooh poohed the Hugos as being merely a popularity contest. In some ways, I suppose that’s true; and that’s certainly a criticism that one can level at the Dragons. But I can’t help but feeling that sometimes things can be popular because they’re genuinely good. I can’t help but feel some excitement at this. Heck, I might even decide to attend a con for once.