The 2019 Dragon Awards Nomination Period Ends Friday July 19th, but we’ve got a spreadsheet to help you determine who is eligible!

I wanted to remind everyone that the deadline for the nominations for the 2019 Dragon Awards is this Friday, July 19th. Here’s the link to the nominations page.

We also had many more people work on the Dragon Awards Google Docs spreadsheet (Dragon Awards Eligible Works 2019) this year since we got it up much earlier than last year. The anonymous contributors did a lot of work and even added extra information about possible nominees that I hadn’t thought of. It should make it easier for folks to find nominees.

Comrade Pooh

2019 Dragon Awards Eligible Works

We thought we’d get this together much earlier, but hey, we got this started a whole month earlier than last year!

Dragon Awards Eligible Works 2019

Here’s a Google Docs spreadsheet we began to keep track of eligible works for the 2019 Dragon Awards. Feel free to contribute. We especially need possible nominees in the games categories.

Comrade Pooh

Vinnie

 

These Geeks Don’t Play with Fascists – An Introduction to the Red Panda Fraction

Who are the Red Pandas? 
The Red Panda Fraction is made up of lefty geeks who enjoy gaming, SF/F literature, comics, and other nerdy stuff. When we went public a year ago, our basic mission statement was: “we promote leftist, LGBTQ+ and feminist cultural works in SF/fantasy and horror.” We chose the name “fraction” rather than “faction” to mean a subgroup of fandom similar to a caucus. A faction is often identified as having ideological unity and following party discipline. Instead of that, we aim to be a big tent: members of our group include anarchists, socialists of various varieties, and some liberal Democrats. Regardless of these meaningful differences, we saw a need to join in common cause in order to combat the growing acceptability of open racism, sexism, homophobia, and attempts by organized far-right and fascist groups to spread their ideology within geek culture. We believe that the days of maintaining political neutrality in SF/F fandom are over.

The Context: Who Politicized Fandom?
If you listen to the ranting of right wing SF fans, the left is over-represented in the world of SF and fantasy. EVIL SJWs are in control of everything: Tumblr, comics, computer game review publications, and the Hugo awards. It’s a rigged system with the SJWs in control!
But what’s happened is not an “SJW plot” against real fans. It is simply this: the generation that grew up on Harry Potter and the Hunger Games has matured, and as a result, liberal, feminist and multicultural texts and authors (not necessarily the left) have become more visible and more popular among SF/F fans across all types of media. With the growth of the internet, the divide between “geeks” and everyone else has blurred. It’s ironic that a change that could easily be understood as market-driven has “triggered” the rage of libertarians and conservatives who claim that accolades for women and people of color among SF/F fans today are the result of a leftist conspiracy. Unable to comprehend that many people actually like imaginative works by and for people who aren’t white men, and clinging to the glory days of fandom-that-was, organized groups of right wing fans are trying to “make fandom great again.” Despite their claims to be anti-political, or to be waging a populist defense of popular books against elitest criticism, conservative fan writing is often about renouncing, refusing to read, watch or listen to books they judge as “bad” for political reasons, as well as fantasizing about the expulsion of fans they hate.  It is especially strange to read continuing screeds about the ruination of the genre at a time when SF/F books, television, and films are enjoying sales growth and cross-over success.  Comics have been at the center of conflicting arguments about sales, and much of the data depends on how sales are calculated, especially with the increasing popularity of digital comics and collected multi-issue trades.  Another measure of the growth of SFF fandom is attendance at fan conventions, leading some geeks to wonder if cons have gotten too big, or if there are now too many cons?

Those who study sub-cultural spaces have long noted a phenomenon whereby members of a small in-group denounce and turn on perceived outsiders as their cultural space becomes larger, less insular, less “theirs.”  It looks very much as if the real reason for many angry fan laments is the growth of their favorite fandom, not its imminent demise.

Why We Insist on Claiming a Political Position 
From what we read and sometimes hear, plenty of people would prefer that when we are at conventions, gaming, or geeking-out about comics and SF series, that we just act like a family that avoids certain topics on holidays. The common line is to “put politics aside while we’re at the convention.” We believe that this policy makes it easier for Neo-Nazis and alt-right losers wearing their ripped-off Pepe icon to use geek culture as their “safe space.”

How You Can Be a Red Panda
We welcome other people who want to affiliate with us. We’re not centralized – if you subscribe to our general principles, feel free to wear the RPF logo, and create a Red Panda reading, gaming, or discussion group in your own town or on your campus. We are open to guest blog submissions of reviews of books, games, movies and TV shows, as well as general articles and dialogue about how to combat the influence of the alt-right in geek culture.

Adorable in our Disagreement
A final word on what it means to build a big geeky tent. We Pandas are politically diverse. We think there is reason for geeks to engage in meaningful dialogue across differences.   Critical conversation is always fine, but we want to engage in criticism in a way that is adorable, like a Red Panda. We therefore discourage practices of shaming, shunning, “owning” or otherwise trashing fellow Pandas when engaged in critical conversations in real life or social media. We may get as critically geeky as the next person, but Red Pandas will not bite you – our species is vegetarian. We also take it as a principle of engagement that there is a difference between a disagreement among allies and a confrontation of one’s enemies.
These Geeks Don’t Play With Fascists

– Comrade Rad Sonja

The True Definitive List of 2017’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Books: A Tabulation of the List of the Best of 2017 Speculative Fiction Lists*

After reading a few Best of 2017 Science Fiction & Fantasy Lists (long after abandoning what I had started in Can We Predict the Hugo Nominees for Best Novel from Goodreads’ Lists? (Maybe)), I decided to begin tabulating how many times a given work appeared in these lists to see how well such data would match the eventual Hugo Award nominees for Best Novel (and perhaps Novella) 2017. I ended up creating a data set of 159 texts from 16 different lists. I steered away from generic Best Fiction lists unless they had a large number of speculative fiction books, like the LA Times list. I have included books listed in sections of the Best of Lists such as “Other Recommended Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books from 2017” (The Verge) and 12 “Alternate Universe” Picks (Barnes and Noble). I have excluded graphic novels and comics from the lists. Some horror books may have snuck in; I did not try to find them. I have included YA titles  when they have occurred, such as on the NPR and Tor’s lists. Below is a list of the works and the number of times each appeared. I have included links to the 16 lists I have used below that, noting the compiler of the list if it is published.

How predictive of the Hugo nominees remains to be seen, but since this year’s Goodreads Hugo 2018 Eligible List only has 124 voters at this moment (1/10/2018, even though the number of voters has jumped dramatically (about 40 new voters) since the last time I checked it), it may be more accurate than that. It’s instructive to compare the Goodreads’ Choice Awards Best Science Fiction Books of 2017 and Best Fantasy Books of 2017  and to this tabulation and see how they diverge.

If there is a list that you think I missed, let me know. I had to use pictures of the tabulation of the lists because I’m using WordPress for free and couldn’t use the plug-in for columns.

Comrade Pooh

Vinnie

* Sorry, John DeNardo, you missed a few lists.

Tab SCIFI-FANTASY LIST 1 croppedTab SCIFI-FANTASY LIST 2 cropped

The lists:

Amazon – Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2017

Barnes & Noble Editors’ Picks – The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of 2017 (Joel Cunningham)

Financial Times – Best books of 2017: Science fiction and Crime (James Lovegrove)

(I know this link brings you to a “Subscribe to FT page”, but if you search “Best books of 2017: Science fiction and Crime”, you’ll be able to see it if you click a link.)

The Guardian – The best science fiction and fantasy of 2017 (Adam Roberts)

LA Times – Best books of 2017: The best fiction (LA Times Books)

Library Journal – Best Genre Fiction: SF/Fantasy (Megan M. McArdle & Kristi Chadwick)

Literary Hub – The Best Reviewed Books of 2017: Sc-Fi & Fantasy

NPR’s Book Concierge Our Guide To 2017’s Great Reads (Books Tagged Sci Fi & Fantasy)

Kirkus Reviews – Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2017

Powells’ Best Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Horror of 2017 (Powell’s Staff)

Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2017 – SF/Fantasy/Horror

Seattle Times – Noteworthy Books of 2017: Speculative Fiction (Nisi Shawl!)

SYFYWIRE The 10 Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books of 2017 (Swapna Krishna)

Tor Reviewers Choice: The Best Books of 2017 (Multiple Contributors)

The Verge – Best Sci-fi/Fantasy/Horror Books of 2017 (Andrew Liptak)

Washington Post – The 5 Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels-of-2017 (Everdeen Mason)

 

Why Did We Create a Red Panda Slate? 1st Post from Rad Sonja

Now that Dragon Con is over and our schedules have returned to normal, it seems like it’s time to explain why the Red Panda Fraction decided to create a slate for the Dragon Awards this year. It was the most controversial thing we did, and we noted the consternation among blog commenters. We appreciate the criticism that authors may not want to be on any slate because it would make them “political footballs” or put targets on their backs. If we create a recommendation list for the next Dragon Award, we will ask authors if they want to be taken off before sending anything out to the public.

The first thing we want to point out is that the Dragon Awards and Dragon Con itself are very different from the Hugos and Worldcon.  Only one of us Pandas has attended Worldcon or voted for anything in the Hugo Awards. The Red Panda Fraction organized in response to the Puppy activism around Dragon Con, which is for most of us our home convention.

The Hugos are long-time literary awards that have a legacy worth protecting and preserving. They are awards for literature and nonfiction writing, and the voting process is set up to facilitate reading of the nominees. The Hugos are well-known awards that do not need publicity to get the membership of Worldcon to be aware that they exist. In fact, the Hugos are central to the activities of Worldcon as a whole. We have not and would not create slates for the Hugo awards. So what is it about the Dragon Awards that led to our decision to fight fire with fire or slate with slate?

We’ve seen a few internet comments indicating that it’s fine to let the Puppies have their Dragon Award as long as they leave the Hugos alone. We don’t agree; something more than literary value is at stake here. Dragon Con is a 70,000+ person convention which we enjoy, and we feel that the Dragon Awards should be representative of DC’s members (people who pay to attend DC). As we have read their blogs over the past three years, we do not see the Puppies as fighting for some “popular” literature that “real” fans like, so much as they are increasingly using awards to promote right-wing propaganda tracts through the networks of SF/F fandom.  At the very least, we would prefer not to have our local convention turned into an alt-right recruiting ground, nor do we think it is good to allow authors to use the name of Dragon Con in order to claim that the “real fans” agree with their abhorrent political agenda.

Based on our observations, both in person and online, we believe the Dragon Awards were created by friends of Puppy factions within the Dragon Con administration as a “Puppy Participation Trophy.” Outside observers who are more familiar with the Hugo Awards may not quite understand how disconnected these awards are from the vast majority of Dragon Con’s membership.

For example, in 2016, the first press release appeared on Dragon Con’s website on April 4th. No notice went out to Dragon Con’s general members. Perhaps this was just growing pains for a new award, and we should not ascribe to malice what can be plainly explained by incompetence. However, whatever the intention of the Awards’ organizers, it is apparent that most members of Dragon Con continue to be unaware that the awards exist and do not seem to care about them. We know this from informally polling people at Dragon Con, whose most common response to the question “What do you think about the Dragon Awards?” has been “What are those?”  We can also tell from the paltry attendance at the awards ceremonies, which we documented in 2017, as well as from regular reading of Dragon Con related social media. Leading up to the 2017 final voting period, the only people we saw posting about the Dragon Awards on the very high volume Dragon Con official Facebook page or tweeting about the Dragon Awards were nominated authors who were also members of organized right-wing groups.

Moreover, from the beginning, the most active boosters of the award have been Puppies. Among the first places to publish a story about the Dragon Awards (April 8th, 2016) was the Conservative-Libertarian Fiction Alliance (CLFA), a closed Facebook group which includes a number of major Puppy organizers. It didn’t take much digging for us to figure out that Dragon Con’s SF=literature track director, Sue Phillips, and long-time SF-lit track volunteer, the Puppy-booster blogger and podcaster, Stephanie Souders, (aka “The Right Geek”, who added Phillips to the FB group in 2014) were also members of the CLFA Facebook group. The CLFA actively promotes the work of their members on their blog. See, for example, this post from this year.

Puppy Declan Finn (a member of CLFA  and Facebook “friends” with Phillips and connected through the conservative Catholic geek-sphere to Souders, who’s been on his podcast), started blogging about the Dragons a few days after the April 2016 press release, celebrating the awards as a Hugo Killer, dooming the Hugos to eventual obscurity. He had this to say on April 7th:

“The funny thing is that this isn’t the first time I’ve heard about it. My fellow Puppies have been anticipating, batting around, and daydreaming about the idea for the last year and a half.”

He also linked to Brad Torgerson’s public Facebook discussion of the new award:

Untitled quotes - Copy

It’s not entirely clear to us, because the process and the players are unknown, just how much overlap there is between the SF-literature track and the original award organizers, but given the above, it would make sense that the SF-literature track at Dragon Con would be a center of discussion of the Hugo kerfuffle. It is clear, however, that the Puppies knew about the Dragon Awards well before they were announced to the general membership and likely played a role in the Dragon Awards’ genesis. We also observed, as noted on File 770 that the 2016 Dragon Awards’ administrators, David Cody and Bill Fawcett had been posting on Larry Correia’s website soliciting nominations in the summer of 2016, despite the fact that they had still not publicized the wards to the Dragon Con membership at large. We didn’t notice them circulating similar exhortations to fans of other potential nominees. So from the beginning, these awards appeared to have been created to give the Puppies a significant head start.

So, whether it was their intention or not, the Dragon Awards dragged the 70,000+ paying members of the convention into the Puppies’ culture war against feminism, diversity, and the left within SF/F fandom. Dragon Con president Pat Henry used the language of the right, describing “justice warriors” efforts to affect the 2017 voting in the award, in his response to Alison Littlewood’s attempt to withdraw her name from the nominations. While some critics speculate that maybe Henry was responding to the fact that we Red Pandas had a shared a list of recommended nominations that even our own small group did not adhere to (because Pandas are unruly with no masters) – we now think in light of the admitted numbers of voters it much more likely that the language about “Justice Warriors” is connected to the general Puppy discourse about Evil SJWs and perhaps betrayed his unease over how the voting was going.

While the award organizers proudly proclaimed upon creating the awards that they were being democratic by not barring voting from non-members, they acted in profoundly undemocratic ways by deliberately promoting some authors and publicizing the existence of the Awards only in certain venues that were sympathetic to these authors. The result was that in the first year, the Awards were essentially a Puppy in Dragon’s clothing in the major literature categories. We refer you to Camestros Felapton’s breakdown here.

Contrary to what the Puppies insist, this does not somehow mean that Dragon Con’s then 70,000 members just preferred those works to others, for we now know that the number of total ballots cast was somewhere below 4000 in the first year, which we live-Tweeted during the 2017 Dragon Awards ceremony, and these numbers included an unknown number of politically active slate-voters. Since Dragon Con has not attached this award to membership in the convention, it does not make sense for the Puppies to claim that the award represents “the convention” as a whole. The belated notification of the Dragon Awards to members through the Dragon Con app in 2017 was a welcome effort, although probably too late, to make the process more democratic by simply informing Dragon Con members there was such a thing as the Dragon Awards.

Therefore, our basic understanding of how the Dragon Awards voting processes worked and our awareness of an existing set of right-wing slates suggested to us in 2017 that the only way to get non-Puppy works on the ballot and to keep the 2017 awards from becoming another alt-right publicity stunt was to create a slate and fight fire with fire. With no idea of how many people voted, we speculated that a relatively small number of people could change the outcome of the Awards so we created a discussion group, talked about potential nominees, and finally put together a slate. The Puppies established these norms themselves, so we did not think that there was a legitimate way for them to complain about us advocating as fans for the works we like without suggesting that there was something wrong about what they themselves were doing. Finally, unlike the Puppies, none of us are writers promoting our own work. We are actually fans voting for the works we like, with no personal connections to any of the authors or publishers.

We were pleasantly surprised to see that enough fans voted this year that the winning books of 2017 were not simply the result of organized campaigns by Puppies, nor it seems, us. We now think that increased participation gave results that more or less reflected the choices of a large group of fans rather than any small segment, which is moving towards the STATED goal of the Dragon Awards in their section “The Process” on their website:

“Have you ever wanted to tell fellow fans when you’ve read a great new book or comic, play an awesome new game, or see an exhilarating movie? The Dragon Awards are your chance to share your opinions with, and see the recommendations of, tens of thousands of other fans everywhere!”

If the Dragon Awards end up with winners actually based on the voting of “tens of thousands” of fans, then like this year, we’d be content with most winners. If the nomination voting also had those kind of numbers of fans participating, then we expect we’d see results more like the end of year awards on Goodreads. Since our main activity was privately encouraging people to vote in a number of venues, we’d like to think that we were part of that.

Rad Sonja

 

Can We Predict the Hugo Nominees for Best Novel from Goodreads’ Lists? (Maybe)

Last week I began creating an Excel file to track the mentions and reviews of novels and novellas to see what I thought would be likely to be nominated for the Hugo Awards in 2018. I used a variety of sources such as mid-year Best SFF So Far lists from Bookriot, Barnes & Noble, Omnivoracious, Tor, Best Fantasy Books, and Nerdmuch. I also looked at Best Books from Publishers Weekly and Bookish and reviews for NPR, the Washington Post, Locus (the free reviews available online), and Strange Horizons.

So far I have a list of 182 different works, and I made a list of the works that were mentioned most often and seemed likely to be nominated and that looked interesting to me to read in order to try and get ahead of reading possible nominations.

However, at the end of all that work and cutting and pasting and formatting (and cussing) and trying to fit enough of the descriptions of the works in Excel for reference, I thought I should look on Goodreads and see if anyone has created lists for the Hugos, and lo and behold they have indeed made lists of Hugo eligible works. The top 10 in these lists have 9 out of the 10 nominees for Best Novel for the past two years and 3 out of the 6 nominees (does No Award count as a nominee?) in 2015. Seems like I might have wasted my time in trying to figure out what the possible Hugo Awards nominees for Best Novel will be.

I’ve cut and pasted the nominees for novels and novellas and added the ranking (GR #) from the Goodreads lists. It would be nice to go through the lists and see how the novellas did based on their rankings in the Goodreads’ lists, but I lack the patience at the moment to figure out which works are novellas in the lists. The list for 2016 is the most accurate in predicting the nominees perhaps because it had the most voters of any of the lists.

 

Hugo Awards 2017 + Goodreads – Hugo 2017 Eligible Works (212 books, 288 voters)

 Best Novel (2078 ballots)

  • All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders (Tor Books / Titan Books) – GR 5
  • A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton / Harper Voyager US) – GR 15
  • Death’s End by Cixin Liu (Tor Books / Head of Zeus) – GR 6
  • Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris Books) – GR 4
  • The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin (Orbit Books) – GR 1 WINNER
  • Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer (Tor Books) – GR 2

Best Novella (1410 ballots)

  • The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle (Tor.com Publishing) – GR 22
  • The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson (Tor.com Publishing) – GR 40
  • Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing) – GR 8 WINNER
  • Penric and the Shaman by Lois McMaster Bujold (Spectrum Literary Agency) – GR 63
  • A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson (Tor.com Publishing) – GR 38
  • This Census-Taker by China Miéville (Del Rey / Picador) – GR 36

 

Hugo Awards 2016 + Goodreads – Hugo Eligible List for 2016 (477 books – 1,019 voters)

Best Novel (2903 final ballots, 3695 nominating ballots)

  • The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit) – GR 3 WINNER
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik (Del Rey) – GR 1
  • Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie (Orbit) – GR 4
  • Seveneves: A Novel by Neal Stephenson (William Morrow) – GR 2
  • The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher (Roc) – GR 10

Best Novella (2,903 final ballots, 2416 nominating ballots)

  • Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com) – GR 18 WINNER
  • Penric’s Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold (Spectrum) – GR 48
  • Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds (Tachyon) – GR 94
  • Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson (Dragonsteel Entertainment) – GR 78
  • The Builders by Daniel Polansky (Tor.com) – GR 95

 

Hugo Awards 2015 + Goodreads – Hugo Eligible List for 2015 (101 books, 238 voters)

Best Novel (5653 final ballots, 1827 nominating ballots, 587 entries, range 212-387)

  • The Three Body Problem, Cixin Liu, Ken Liu translator (Tor Books) – GR 10 WINNER
  • The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison (Sarah Monette) (Tor Books) – GR 4
  • Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie (Orbit US/Orbit UK) – GR 6
  • No Award
  • Skin Game, Jim Butcher (Orbit UK/Roc Books) – GR 27
  • The Dark Between the Stars, Kevin J. Anderson (Tor Books) – GR 87

Best Novella (5337 final ballots, 1083 nominating ballots, 201 entries, range 145-338)

  • No Award – WINNER (if you can call it that)
  • “Flow”, Arlan Andrews, Sr. (Analog, 11-2014)
  • Big Boys Don’t Cry, Tom Kratman (Castalia House)
  • One Bright Star to Guide Them, John C. Wright (Castalia House)
  • “The Plural of Helen of Troy”, John C. Wright (City Beyond Time: Tales of the Fall of Metachronopolis, Castalia House)
  • “Pale Realms of Shade”, John C. Wright (The Book of Feasts & Seasons, Castalia House)

So far this year’s list on has 82 books and 52 voters, but it’s early yet. If Goodreads holds to form, it’ll be worth keeping an eye on.

The current top 10 are:

  1. The Stone Sky (The Broken Earth, #3)  by N.K. Jemisin
  2. Lunora and the Monster King by H.S. Crow
  3. Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children, #2) by Seanan McGuire
  4. Raven Stratagem (The Machineries of Empire #2) by Yoon Ha Lee
  5. New York 2140 New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson
  6. The Collapsing Empire  (The Interdependency #1) by John Scalzi (Goodreads Author)
  7. Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
  8. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
  9. Borne by Jeff VanderMeer
  10. All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries, #1) by Martha Wells

There is also a list this year for Eligible YA Works for the Lodestar Award for 2018, also worth keeping an eye on.

Comrade Pooh