Tuesday, September 6, 2016
Dragon Awards: A Personal View
Dragon Awards results were announced on Sunday, and there is already an abundance of blog posts and commentary available from people more eloquent than I, who are much more familiar with the some of the more intricate details.
Why, then, am I taking the time to write yet another post? I suppose for the same reason anyone writes anything: I believe that I do in fact have something different to say, coming as I am from several different perspectives.
As a nominee, I am of course both flattered and humbled that my debut novel has touched enough fans to be placed in the company of some of the biggest names in fantasy and science fiction. My first reaction was that I didn't belong there, but then I realized that it was not, in fact, true. After all, the very point of a fan-driven award is that the fans decide who belongs, and their voice is not to be taken lightly. Those familiar with my views regarding other types of awards will know this opinion is not new to me, nor will it change depending on my personal success or lack thereof. Thus, I thank my fans as well as the fine folk at DragonCon for getting me to this point and giving me and other new indie authors an inspiration to carry on.
As a reader and a fan, I love to see quality writing publicized and rewarded for the simple, selfish reason that we are now likely to see more of it. Not that prolific authors like Correia and Wright and Butcher ever needed a reminder to hurry up and give us more books, but it works on a wider scale. Once authors realize that the doors to success and professional recognition are no longer guarded by the select few and access no longer filtered through a particular prism, more creativity will naturally result, to the delight of those of us always trying to find fresh fuel for our love of reading.
As a co-founder of Conservative-Libertarian Fiction Alliance (join us! we have fun! and books!) I am gratified to see our members among both the nominees and the winners. Larry Correia, Nick Cole and Brian Neimeier (with credit to editor L. Jagi Lamplighter ) won their respective categories. Declan Finn, Mark Wandrey, Dave Freer and Gibson Michaels received well-deserved nominations, and are no doubt are on the road to bigger and better things as a result.
Last but not least, as a minor culture warrior of the "home front and covering fire" variety, I must give special mention to a the authors whose wins have a special meaning to those of us concerned about the state of the culture in general and arts in particular.
Nick Cole had his now award-winning book was rejected by the publisher for openly political reasons, as previously covered in my Censorship post, forcing him to choose between artistic freedom and losing the publishing contract. Nick wisely put the art first, and clearly the fans approved.
John C. Wright some years ago joined a small but select group of authors (Andrew Klavan, Dean Koontz and David Mamet come to mind off the top of my head) who, after a period of critical acclaim, miraculously "lost their talent" after becoming vocal about their unapproved political views and/or religion. Or so all the "important" people would have you believe. Fans think otherwise, and fortunately it's the fans and not the now mostly ineffectual gatekeepers will always have the last word.
Why are the above examples important? Because they show to those of us occasionally hesitant to stay true to our beliefs that it can be done. You can succeed and be appreciated without the express approval or help of those who put their ideology above art and want to bend everyone to their will. Especially in a genre that is meant to thrive on imagination, freedom of thought is not a luxury. It's a requirement.
All in all, pathetic grumblings from the usual dark corners of the 'net notwithstanding, Sunday has been a great day for writers and fans alike, no matter what our genre preferences might be. Here is to many more years of great books, inspiration and above all FUN! Once again, many thanks to DragonCon organizers and everyone who played a part in making the awards happen.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have more reading to do. For more fun, Declan Finn has a post that includes a video of the presentation. Enjoy!